A true Los Angeles native at heart, Diego Zapata is a product of the vicissitudes of the city. He is an experienced gardener, who takes pride in growing his own food, a student of cuisine- learning how to cook through his family’s Mexican roots, a Korean culture and language enthusiast who learned how to read and write Korean independently, and is a devout youth activist of social and environmental issues.
Being one of the few to attend Bravo Medical Magnet after middle school, he sought to make new friends while still maintaining his previous relationships. He joined SEACA, the Southeast Asian Community Alliance, with his middle school friends. Once there, he learned about social issues plaguing the communities of Lincoln Heights and Chinatown, and later became a youth organizer who was capable of organizing his community as a united whole, in order to work towards reform to combat the social issues he had previously learned about. He also joined Hands & Paws Club at his new school as a means to meet new people. There he learned about a myriad of environmental issues as well as issues revolving around the abuse of animals. He soon became a devout animal and environmental activist, volunteering with the TreePeople and other nonprofit organizations, became an Arroyo Green Team member at the Audubon Center at Debs Park, and even became a vegetarian at 13. Through his commitment for the environment, he later became the club’s vice president for a year and then was voted as the club’s president.
Contingent to his environmental activism, Diego later applied to become an ACE Action Fellow, where he now hopes to continue his crusade for the protection of the environment at a more global level.