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Green For All Fellows - Class 3

Bios of the 3rd Green For All Academy, May 2009

Green For All Fellows
Jailan Adly

JAILAN ADLY - Washington, DC

As Rising Sun’s Deputy Director Jailan Adly focuses on national expansion, new program development, and diversifying organizational resources. Jailan joined Rising Sun in 2007 as the CYES Program Director where she managed the operations, logistics, recruitment, and training for Rising Sun’s flagship California Youth Energy Services program. Jailan was attracted to Rising Sun because of its results-oriented approach, and loves the opportunity to share its solution driven programs with other communities. Previously, Jailan focused on international development through sustainable tourism in Jamaica, Lebanon, Morocco, and Egypt through her work with Solimar International, Environmental Quality International, and as a consultant for CDC Development Solutions and USAID-Lebanon. She received a Masters degree in Tourism Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from The George Washington University. Jailan will be transitioning this week into a new role with CDC Development Solutions, an international development organization located in Washington, DC

Jamel BJ Allah


Mr. Jamel Allah, 55, was born in Harlem, NY in 1953. Mr. Allah was incarcerated for a few years; however, the immense desire to never again partake in negative endeavors is what empowered him to fight against gangs and gun violence through speaking with young people. As a result, in February of 2005, Jamel Allah founded a not-for-profit organization called Positive Seeds in Pelan, Inc. Positive Seeds in Pelan, Inc. was created to develop and nurture the youth, ages 8-18, in our communities. Now, over four years later, the Positive Seeds initiative has served many children through action-oriented and effective after-school endeavors. Mr. Allah considers his best work to be working with the youth in his community, helping them learn how to a lead productive and positive life. He is currently working hard in the Mount Hope community of the Bronx, as well as in Harlem at the Allah Youth Center, Inc. As a mentor to young children he helps them fight against the magnetic pull of the streets, diseased with gangs, drugs, and gun violence. Mr. Allah considers the children are our future, and when they are taught positive thoughts, they will have positive actions. The wealth of any community is the children and he recognizes this wealth through his work in demonstrating life paths more constructive and valuable than the one he originally chose for himself. Mr. Allah is determined to continue passing on these tools of proper knowledge that helped him become a positive and productive Blackman in the community.

Tony Anderson


Tony Anderson, a recent graduate of Morehouse College, is a Fellow with the Compton Foundation. While Student Body Vice President at Morehouse, Tony initiated a campus level dialogue about sustainability and climate change by championing the work of environmental justice. As a result, Tony founded the Let's Raise a Million Project (LRAM) - a student-led, nonprofit charitable and environmental justice-focused organization committed to introducing energy saving solutions to low-income households. To date, LRAM's pilot programs have completed nearly 50,000 energy-efficient light bulb installations by canvassing low-income neighborhoods door-to-door. Since inception, LRAM has been championed by President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative University as well as Campus Progress, the National Wildlife Federation, the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative the Captain Planet Foundation and Sustainable Atlanta. To has been featured by multiple media outlets including local news-WABE 90.1FM and WSBTV-Channel 2--and those with national reach--the Online News Hour with Jim Lehrer, 100 Voices Archives, Black Enterprise and CNN.

Hashim Benford


As an organizer, Hashim is working on the Miami Workers Center campaign for green jobs and housing. While working with the MWC grassroots council Low-Income Families Fighting Together (LIFFT), Hashim organized tenant unions for the MWC Renter's Rights Campaign and has also helped with the eight year struggle to win justice for the former residents of Scott Carver Homes. He is a graduate of Florida International University, where he earned a BA in Sociology/Anthropology and an undergraduate certificate in Women's Studies.


Blanche is the founder and executive director of the George Washington Carver Urban Science Alliance, a nonprofit STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) organization in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. The work of the GWC USA is through early intervention, to engage young people from underrepresented groups and economically challenged communities, at an early age in hands-on science inquiry, career development, higher education planning and academic enrichment.

Blanche is a graduate of National Audubon Society’s Expedition Institute where she also interned with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Currently Blanche is forging relationships with community-based nonprofits in low-income neighborhoods to develop projects around environmental literacy, urban agriculture, renewable energy and green construction.

Patrick Brown


Mr. Brown has spent the last 9 years working with OAI to train underserved communities to work in environmental health and safety. His primary function as Senior Instructor is to be responsible for training 80+ individuals per year to meet state requirements to receive licensure in Lead and Asbestos abatement. While at OAI, he has also been integral in the development of new curriculum including mold awareness, Hazardous communication and Hazwoper updates. Other duties include trainer evaluation and coordinating green initiatives within OAI’s 5 training sites nation wide. With a background in construction and lead abatement, Mr. Brown has recently focused on making jobs in the new green economy safe. As the number of green jobs grows and green technology advances it is important to him to keep worker safety at the forefront of this movement. Mr. Brown hopes that by doing such we can avoid the workplace injuries and marginalized health that were characteristic of the last pollution based economy.

Chris Campbell


Chris Campbell is a lean Entrepreneur/Scrum Master with experience creating and growing new businesses. His industry experience includes ventures in guerilla marketing, mobile technology, digital advertising, bottled water, and the recording industry. His most recent venture, is an eco-friendly apparel company located in Santa Barbara, California. Prior to Cali Green, Chris was the head of Sales Integration where he developed and lead several high performing teams of developers and designers at and that produce revenues of over $8 Million per month. Chris has a Master degree in English Composition from Cal State San Bernardino, a Bachelor’s degree from Cal State University in Long Beach and he is an Executive MBA Candidate at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito School of Management in Claremont, California.

Roberto Cancel


Roberto Gil Cancel Comas was born in Tallahassee Florida after his parents emigrated from Puerto Rico in pursuit of higher education. At 21 he received his Bachelor’s of Science with a double major in Anthropology and International Affairs, after which he moved to China to live, travel, and explore new cultural realities. After two years he returned to the US and became the Central Florida Coordinator for Democracia USA registering over 28,000 Hispanics in the I-4 corridor as well as organizing around immigration and health care reform. Always looking for new horizons Roberto has now decided to continue his education at Clark University in order to help more people in more places.

Ambessa Cantave


Green for All Fellow Ambessa Cantave is a father, musician, activist, and educator dedicated to transformational change on the planet. With ten years in the Bay Area's environmental justice, arts activism and non-profit communities, Ambessa is the founder of Destined Nation Media which originally produced Grind for the Green. He also sits on the board of Oakland’s first Green Youth Media Center and he currently serves a climate change educator for the Alliance for Cimate Education.

Using his extensive background in youth leadership and workforce development, Ambessa is highly adept at creating informational modules that use hip-hop culture to engage youth of color to empower and educate themselves in areas of ecology, professional development, social justice and mental health, thus creating a culturally relevant and fully cohesive professional learning atmosphere that assists in the creation of executive level youth leaders.

As a local artist, Ambessa has served as a vanguard for conscious expression and cultural diversity with his former group FIYAWATA and now as Ambessa the Articulate or Ambessa FIYAPOWA he continues to spread a message of spiritual liberation and self-awareness. His passion for empowering young people to reach their greatest potential is unrelenting and serves as an inspiration to both his personal and professional colleagues. Ambessa holds a B.A. in Marketing from York College and has also served as a program manager for stellar Bay Area organizations such as Leadership Excellence and Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center.

Ambrose Carroll


Rev. Dr. Ambrose F. Carroll serves on the steering committee for Denver’s “Green Jobs Interfaith Coalition” and is the Pastor of Denver’s newly formed, “Renewal Worship Center”. This Green church is one of the first in the nation to be environmentally friendly from its inception. A product of Oakland CA, Ambrose has served as a S.F. Urban Service/AmeriCorps Volunteer, as Vice President of San Francisco’s chapter of the NAACP, and also as the Senior Pastor of Denver’s New Hope Baptist Church. Ambrose earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Florida Memorial University in Miami, a Master’s of Divinity from Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta, a Master’s of Business Administration from Golden Gate University in S.F., and a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary in Dayton Ohio.

Meamya Christi


Meamya Christi is a mother, student, teacher, visionary, and entrepreneur who has a sincere passion for healing and inspiring women and inner city communities. She is currently developing unique programs to bring awareness and consciousness to inner city women and communities. Her programs will be the first of their kind to introduce a platform for healing arts, life coping, holistic/alternative wellness, and green initiatives in South Dallas communities. She is dedicated and committed to becoming a spokesperson for Green For All initiatives to help create a green collar economy that will empower and lift the future of our communities. She feels that if inner city women and communities are made aware of what is being marketed to them, they will be in a better position to make better choices on the services and products they consume and will be in a better position to help the earth healing efforts of the nation.

MINA COLLINS - Little Rock, AR

Mina Collins is a native Californian, relocating to Arkansas in the summer of 2006. Currently , CEO of Grow Up Green, a non-profit organization that teaches children leadership skills; incorporated Green Initiatives and activities; and educates leaders in the private industry, community, legislature, and State Agencies on the importance of environmental issues. She has co-authored a Policy Brief featuring the importance of Green Schools in Arkansas. Ms. Collins co-host’s the Clean Green Hour and Educational Prospectives Talk Radio Shows. She is a registered Lobbyist in the State of Arkansas. Since relocating to Arkansas, she has volunteered with numerous community service organizations. She restored and reopened the Children’s Library in a small rural town, and started a Summer Reading Club. She facilitated funding for the library and due to this effort, secured employment for a senior worker in the town. Ms. Collins helped to re-establish the Ouachita/Calhoun counties Literacy Council and helped to secure funding. Her current projects include planning three Green Conferences in the State of Arkansas; and facilitating dialog between the EPA and state officials and school districts on the importance of recognizing environmental issues in schools throughout the state.

Miguel Concepcion


Miguel A. Concepción Thomas is the State Director for Democracia USA and Democracia Ahora. Miguel’s work has been focused on the Latino community of Pennsylvania where he sits on three Boards, focused on the improvement of the Latino community around the state. Miguel currently is completing his degree at Rosemont College where he is focusing on Organizational Development and Leadership. His involvement in the Green movement came when he was asked to educate Latinos about green jobs and a green economy, and he helped Democracia earn second place during a National petition campaign for the National Day of Action in Pennsylvania (


Roshani Dantas is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Master’s degree in Toxicology. Her work focuses on health and policy disparities in Environmental Health for environmental justice communities. Roshani worked on environmental policy issues in Lansing for two years with the focus of increasing measures in policy that address race/income disparities as well as environmental justice. In addition, Ms. Dantas lobbied in Lansing on a variety of environmental issues and worked on energy policy with the Michigan Black Legislative Caucus. Ms. Dantas also worked as an environmental justice community advocate and trainer in Detroit on a variety of issues from lead to asthma to energy conservation. She served on Detroit Councilwoman Jo-Ann Watson’s Green Task Force providing expertise on solid waste/recycling options for Detroit. Roshani presently is the Program Manager for Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice’s Green Jobs Training Program. This is a comprehensive program that focuses on finding quality employment in the green jobs arena for underemployed or unemployed Detroit residents. She also provides training to the Detroit community and other agencies on asthma and other environmental health issues.

Ashara Ekundayo


Ashara Ekundayo is a cultural worker, a food justice activist, a journalist, and an entrepreneur who serves in community as a strategic connector, working with her clients to increase capacity and visibility while building sustainable partnerships. She is the owner of BluBlak Media Consulting and has created venues such as the "Café Nuba" spoken-word & music showcase and the "Soul'd Roots: Food & Media Justice Institute" and continues to curate multi-faceted exhibitions that generate cross-community dialogue which challenge participants to awaken to their role in the struggle for liberation of oppressed people.

Currently, she works with Critical Mass Leadership Education in conjunction with the U.S. Dept. of State as the project manager for the BoldFood Project, a food sovereignty fellowship program linking growers and organizers from the U.S. with their East African counterparts in a social/cultural/technical exploration of the interconnected issues surrounding urban agriculture and the "green movement" - and also serves on the Board of Directors for The GrowHaus, an indoor, interactive farm in notheast Denver, CO. Ashara works daily to remember, reclaim, and reintroduce ancestral lessons for future generations in honor of the planet, and is mother to Ietef and Chris, and grandmother to Selasia. Recently moving to the Bay Area, she is co-curating the Life is Living Festival, a project of Youth Speaks.

Wyking Garrett


An entrepreneur and educator, Wyking Allah (born Kwame Garrett) is the founder and Chief Executive of Remix Marketing & Communications, LLC, a multi service communications firm specializing in youth and cultural program development, niche marketing strategy and event planning.

A dedicated community servant, he is the founder of the Seattle Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Youth Council and co-founder of the United For Youth Coalition and the UmojaFest P.E.A.C.E. Center in Seattle, WA. He is also director of the Umoja Fest African American Festival & Parade and a founding director of the African American Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in Seattle, WA.

At the age of 21 he was runner up for state representative in his home state of Washington and in 2008 Wyking was awarded the Martin Luther King County Executive Pioneer Award for Excellence in Hip-Hop for outstanding service to the community.

Ben Gilbarg

BEN GILBARG - New Bedford, MA

Ben Gilbarg is the director of 3rd EyE Unlimited, a film/video producer, and a conscious Hip Hop artist from New Bedford, MA. Over the last ten years, he has led a powerful movement of youth empowerment. He has helped change the lives of hundreds of youth, providing skills-based mentoring and leadership development. These youth have worked with Ben to produce more than seventy events, including nine annual 3rd EyE Open Festivals attracting 5,000 plus people annually. Ben has been at the cutting edge in communicating green through hip-hop and is the producer of the Green Anthem music video. Ben is the lead producer of the TV network, “Put Out the Word!” which airs in more than twenty million homes worldwide.

Brigitte Griswold


Brigitte Griswold is the Director of Youth Programs for the Nature Conservancy of New York, where she oversees the Conservancy’s first regional urban youth employment initiative. Since 2003, she has increased program capacity and funding to provide twice as many underserved youth with green jobs in nine states across the Northeast. Brigitte serves on the Diversity Councils of the Land Trust Alliance and The North American Association for Environmental Education, and is a member of the Diversity Steering Committee of the Nature Conservancy. She leads the Education Advisory Panel of The National Forum on Children & Nature and is a Regional Leader of the Children and Nature Network. Brigitte graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in English literature and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Jared Harrell


Jared Harrell is a student athlete at the University of Maryland in College Park. He is an African American Studies major who focuses on Green solutions for inner-city communities. Starting this summer Jared will be working in local DC jails teaching inmates about the green economy and how it will up lift their neighborhoods. He has always been interested in the environment and looks forward to being a leader in promoting, implementing and using Green solutions in underprivileged communities.

Cozell Harris


Cozell T. Harris is a nationally recognized fatherhood consultant and facilitator through his work with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where he works with re-entry and juvenile probation programs for young fathers. His national work has been recognized by the Administration of Children and Families with Head Start programming in fatherhood. He also works in the Atlanta community with The Center for Working Families, Inc.; whereby his focus is on community development, fatherhood initiatives, and the green collar economy. He is a graduate from Mercer University, Atlanta, GA with a degree in Organizational Development, and he is the recipient of numerous leadership awards.

Duncan Harrison


Duncan Harrison, Jr. displays his commitment to his community - Trenton, New Jersey - by being been involved in a number of community service activities. He has mobilized the community to produce solutions for issues affecting the quality of life for Trenton residents. Duncan has held neighborhood clean-ups and community forums against violence. Furthermore, he has given lectures to emerging youth leaders as well as at-risk youth. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a focus on Criminal Justice from Delaware State University. While at Delaware State University he received the 2007 Presidential Leadership Award. He is currently working on his Master’s degree in Public Administration at Bernard M. Baruch College, School of Public Affairs. Duncan is currently a Fellow with the Northwest Area Foundation through the National Urban Fellows, Inc.

Shahn Hayes

SHAHN HAYES - Milwaukee, WI

Shahn Hayes is the Communication Director for the WI League of Young Voters/Campaign Against Violence. Our mission is to educate and organize young adults to take a proactive stance against violence and encouraging them to be engaged in the voting process.  We encourage people to become leaders in their own community and work with their neighbors and elected officials to find solutions to the problems that plague them the most. The League recently started the Making Milwaukee Green Coalition table. An intergenerational group whose goal is to connect resources that are available and the folks that need them the most.

David Heard

DAVID HEARD - Cleveland, OH

David L. Heard Jr. is a National Urban Fellow serving the Mayor’s Office of the City of Cleveland, Ohio in the Office of Sustainability as the Outreach Manager. He is a graduate student of Bernard Baruch College in New York City with a Masters of Public Administration. David is a former social studies educator from Indianapolis, Indiana. As a fellow, he now facilitates sustainability discussions with The Stokes Academy, MC2 STEM High School and Cleveland Job Corps Academy. He provides green education for 9,000 city employees, manages the Cleveland Conserves Campaign and provides insight for the Mayor’s initiatives to green city government. Mr. Heard is a member of Great Lakes Urban Exchange (GLUE), National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) and works with school to work programming for Living Cities and the Magnet/WIRE-Net Educators/Manufacturers Team.

Joe Hill

JOE HILL - Philadelphia, PA

Joe Hill is an 18 year-old junior at Georgetown University studying Political Economy. He is also the Chairman of the Philadelphia Youth Commission, which was established last year to advocate on behalf of youth between the ages of 13-23. In this capacity, Joe has been largely responsible for developing the strategic vision of the Commission, which includes connecting Youth in the city's many Vocational and Technical schools to Green Job Training opportunities. Joe is also working with the School District of Philadelphia to launch the city's first Green Vocational School, teaching the skills necessary to make Philadelphia the “greenest city in America.” Prior to his election as Chairman of the Youth Commission, Joe served as the Northeast Regional Director for Students for Barack Obama.

Kate Houstoun

KATE HOUSTOUN - Philadelphia, PA

Kate Houstoun's two professional priorities are to provide quality work opportunities to Philadelphians living in poverty and to improve life in Philadelphia for all. Kate was recently hired by the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) to lead the Green Economy Task Force and to develop Philadelphia's Green Business Council. The Task Force was convened over a year ago to build critical cross-sector collaboration and policies to move Philadelphia’s green economy forward. The coalition recently reached 130 stakeholder groups including business, labor, government, policy, job training, and community representatives. The Green Business Council, set to launch this summer, will serve to align job training programs with the needs of green businesses and to secure hiring commitments from private sector members. Prior to SBN, Kate worked in workforce development, serving formerly incarcerated and homeless adults at The Doe Fund. Her experience also includes community development, volunteer recruitment, and environmental education at American Friends Service Committee. Kate is a Board Member of the Mayor’s Office of Community Services (Philadelphia’s Community Action Agency) and an Advisory Board Member of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Philadelphia Green program. Kate lives in South Philadelphia with her dog, Early.

Mar'Che James


Ms. Mar’Che James is a senior Sociology student at Spelman College. Ms. James is a native of California. She is active in the Sociology department at both Spelman and Morehouse College. At Spelman College Mar’Che is in charge of writing the campus newsletter for The Spelman College Census Bureau. Ms. James is also currently working at Morehouse College in the Community Revitalization Department. She is also an active member of Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE). Mar’Che has demonstrated her belief in human rights by participating in a march to Jena, LA for the Jena 6 situation. Ms. James has also participated in the Morehouse College Green Recovery Symposium. After graduation, Ms. James plans to attend graduate school so that she can write policy and eventually become a college professor.

Aaiyda Joynes

AAIYDA JOYNES - Philadelphia, PA

Aaiyda is a Paralegal for a law office in Philadelphia that advocates for employees rights. She believes that people are empowered by their knowledge of the law. She attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and majored in Sociology. While attending college she became involved in Advocacy, Social, and Faith-Based Organizations. After college she became an advocate for teenage parents. Out of all her positions or titles, “Mommy” is her favorite. She is the proud mother of a four year old, Kayla. She recently attended Powershift ‘09 and was inspired by the power and passion of young people from all over the country. Aaiyda is committed to making sure her community is not left behind in a green collar economy.

Leia Lewis

LEIA LEWIS - Shreveport, LA

Leia Lewis is a cultural arts worker, organizer, artist, educator, and mother who has been advancing nonprofit and community-based organizations for more than a decade. Leia is the Founding Director of Sankofa Vision, Inc. (, a nonprofit that celebrates and cultivates the art, culture, and community life of people of African descent. SVI’s central work is Sankofa Gardens, an organic community garden and learning campus that supports low-income families to achieve self-sufficiency and widely attracts good, diverse people. Leia is a dedicated classroom teacher, completing a M.A. in Teaching/ Elementary Education at Centenary College of Louisiana. She has earned a B.A. in Drama and Communications and M.A. in Arts Administration from University of New Orleans. A global student and peaceful warrior, Leia Lewis’ blessed family heritage is deeply rooted in the farmland of North Louisiana.

Juan D. Martinez

JUAN D. MARTINEZ - Los Angeles, CA

A proud product of south central Los Angeles, Juan D. Martinez is the national Natural Leaders Network coordinator for the Children & Nature Network. His passion to empower individuals and youth led him to direct Sierra Club’s first environmental justice youth leadership academy in Los Angeles. In 2009, Juan introduced Department of Interior's Ken Salazar at Powershift in Washington, DC, the largest youth gathering on climate change, and he was invited by the White House to attend the National Forum on Clean Energy Economy. A keynote speaker at the 2010 Outdoor Retailers Winter Show in Salt Lake City, Utah, Juan received a standing ovation following his presentation. In 2006, Juan was a delegate to the Latino Congreso, the largest gathering of Latino key figures in the U.S. and he is included in “Hispanics Living Green.” Publication of the book is being celebrated in March 2010 with a Congressional reception in Washington, DC. A student at the California State University Los Angeles, he is a recipient of Congresswoman Hilda Solis’ Environmental Youth Leadership Award and “Looking to the Future” award from the Breaking the Color Barriers conference, the largest conference on people of color in the great outdoors. Juan received a “Green for All” 2009 fellowship; and is on the national executive committee for the Sierra Student Coalition. Juan is a spokesperson for the Sierra Clubs’ Building Bridges to the Outdoors initiative, which works to connect all youth with nature. He dedicates his energy and free time on grassroots campaigns that vary from health care, housing discrimination, to creating garden space in the city of L.A.

Valerie Martinez


Valerie is a Mexican, Cree, Apache, Ojibwe woman from the twin cities of Minneapolis, Minnesota who has been organizing around racial and social justice for indigenous people for the last ten years of her life. She has been on the Little Earth of United Tribes board since 2001, assisting in the development and implementation of programs that serve American Indian children and their families. Currently she is serving as a liaison to representatives from Minnesota’s indigenous communities. Valerie organized a Renewable Energy Training and community event with Winona LaDuke at Little Earth of United Tribes. She also recruited and coordinated Indigenous People’s Green Jobs Task Force, which is a statewide green jobs initiative to ensure participation and inclusion of indigenous communities in renewable energy opportunities in this new, emerging green economy.

Eric Mathis

ERIC MATHIS - Williamson, WV

Eric is a committed entrepreneur who has dedicated the past 10 years of his life to new market-based approaches to sustainable development. Throughout the various projects that he has participated in and/or spearheaded, he has remained true to his commitment of promoting diversity by way of sustainable development through various means which include organic farming, institutional development, education, economics, and more. He received his undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Labor Studies and is presently finishing a MC in Women’s Studies and a MA in History from Appalachian State University. Eric's most recent endeavor is entitled simply the JOBS project (Just and Open Businesses that are Sustainable). The JOBS Project’s mission is to promote sustainable energy markets throughout the Central Appalachian region.

Isaac Medrano


Isaac Medrano is the Colorado State Director for Democracia USA and Democracia Ahora. He was born in San Francisco, CA. His family emigrated from Managua, Nicaragua during the 1970's. He was the first in his family to attend college and graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2001. Visiting Nicaragua for the first time in 2003 with Witness for Peace propelled him to seek a career in helping the needy.

In 2004 he began his political career as a field organizer for Wisconsin Victory 2004. In 2005 he became the volunteer coordinator for MassEquality in Boston, MA protecting equal marriage rights in the Commonwealth. In September 2008 he joined Democracia USA as the Colorado State Director after working as a Regional Field Director for Senator Hillary Clinton's Presidential Primary Campaign. Lastly, Isaac seeks his inspiration in the words and life of Robert Kennedy: "Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."


Jayme Montgomery-Baker is the State Director for the WI League of Young Voters/Campaign Against Violence. Our mission is to agitate, educate and organize young folks to take a proactive stance against interpersonal violence by making them players in the political game. By focusing on art and hand on experiences, we encourage people to become leaders in their own community and work with their neighbors and elected officials to find solutions to the problems that plague them the most. The League recently started the Making Milwaukee Green Coalition table, an intergenerational group whose goal is to connect the dots between the resources that are available and the folks who need them the most.

Meagan Mullens


Meagan M. Mullens is the Youth Engagement Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation’s Earth Tomorrow® Atlanta Program. A native Floridian, she earned her degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies with a concentration in Child Development. While at Spelman, Meagan was instrumental in proposing Green Fee legislation and instituting several campus-wide eco-education campaigns. Meagan believes that Spelman will be the first HBCU to initiate a Green Fee. This 2009 Spelman College graduate is the founder of Green Complex, an organization created to ensure the prosperity of minority communities during the transitional years of the green economy. Meagan’s future plans include relocating to her hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pursuing a degree in law, and constructing environmentally based curriculum for educators and parents.

Harish I Patel


Harish I Patel received a BA in Political Science with a Minor in Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Upon graduating, he instructed a class on Youth Engagement in a Globalized World at UIC. He has traveled and lived in India, Argentina, New Zealand, Uganda and US. Harish is also one of the founding members of Project FOCUS, a locally based youth-led initiative of artists, writers, activists and students committed to educate, inspire and empower through art and creative projects. He has worked as an Organizer on the Southwest-side of Chicago working on the issues of violence. He has just returned from India after 5 months of engagement with issues surrounding farming and tribal rights, as a volunteer with Association for India's Development. He is also on the board of Editors of a national magazine, In These Times.

Marcus Penny


Marcus Penny, a native Californian, is currently studying Psychology at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Recently Marcus has become active with several different local, national, and international initiatives involving the promotion of sustainable living and environmental justice. These initiatives have helped to lay the foundation upon which the two organizations he helped to found (S.E.E.E.D and L.R.A.M) are built. Alongside a strong team of students and recent graduates, Marcus plans on rising awareness on environmental justice issues and how they affect underrepresented communities.

Matthew Petty

MATTHEW PETTY - Fayetteville, AR

Matthew Petty is an entrepreneur, blogger, and political activist from Fayetteville, Arkansas. Matthew's current projects include the integration of social media and government and building a grassroots campaign for green jobs in Arkansas. Matthew is the founder of the Social Sustenance Organization, a social enterprise helping progressive initiatives succeed. Currently, Matthew serves on the City Council in his hometown, where he was elected on an "Economy and Ecology" platform. (Connect with Matthew at

Ben Powless

BEN POWLESS - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Ben Powless is Mohawk from Six Nations in Ontario, currently living in Ottawa, Canada. He is currently studying Human Rights, Indigenous and Environmental Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. He has been involved with the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition since its inception, helping form the Ottawa Chapter and sitting on the National Council. He is also heavily involved with the Indigenous Environmental Network, mostly focused around climate change. He also is part of the Youth Advisory Group to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and is very involved in the local Aboriginal community.

Selim Sandoval

SELIM SANDOVAL - Mammoth Lakes, CA

From the rainforest farm life of Guatemala to the tough inner city streets of South Central Los Angeles, Selim brings a diverse practical life experience to the public service forum. Selim is a social entrepreneur, educator, and community builder who recognizes the power of cooperation and team action. He has served for over 20 years by dedicating himself to empowering communities through a Health and Wellness Community model that addresses food security, health, and economic development.

A respected Fellow in the "Green for All" and "Repower America" campaigns, Selim’s influence and momentum continues to grow. Most recently, has named Mr. Sandoval as one of 40 people in the United States who are redefining green. A consummate world traveler and acting in a professional capacity with various organizations, he has developed, planned, and safely shepherded scores of youth and adults in wilderness adventures throughout the United States, Canada, and Latin America. In the decade and a half of leading wilderness experiences, he began to notice overt deeply concerning environmental changes affecting the health of the planet, which caused a shift in his career focus. Steadily building on his commitment to reconnecting people to the Earth, Selim has been in the forefront of economic development through socially and ecological community development.

Soon, he began working with various alternative energy companies to actualize renewable energy programs, which include the use of energy efficient technologies, green building practices, and renewable energy.

In 2006, Selim founded Growing Green Energy, a renewable energy installation and green workforce development company, which led to the creation of the Green the Rez Campaign to provide technical assistance to Native American tribes in the areas of sustainable community and economic development.

In partnership with Ojai Solar Electric, Selim completed a multi-million dollar 230 kilowatt solar carport installation at Santa Barbara City College, which established him as a strong planner and leader in the burgeoning “Green Eco Industry”. Selim was also influential in developing the Green Jobs Program for Venice Youth Build and the International Laborers Union’s solar installer training program.

In 2007, his company EARTHPLAY ECO CENTER (a green products retail store and permaculture educational center) was awarded “Green Business of the Year for 2007” by Ventura County. Currently, Selim is a managing partner with The Write Choice Network that has secured over $240 million in private and public funds to support sustainable community development through a Health and Wellness Community model.

"People are our greatest resource and Mother Earth is our greatest teacher."

Aekta Shah

AEKTA SHAH - San Francisco, CA

Aekta Shah currently works with the Wangari Maathai Center (WMC), a partnership between San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley towards goals of Environmental, Educational, and Economic design for equity. With WMC she is currently engaged in research on the achievement gap as well as programming including leading Youth Participatory Action Research classes and Youth Sustainability Council in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay. She recently worked with Boston Public School District as a researcher and case study writer and was previously a Program Manager at the Institute at the Golden Gate, a partnership of the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Committed to providing meaningful leadership opportunities to traditionally underserved youth, Aekta has worked with a range of organizations including Americorps and The Sierra Club. She has also been recognized by organizations such as the Aspen Institute, Green for All, Bioneers and has presented for the UN on issues of sustainable development and education. In 2005, Aekta founded the Big Green Bus project, a cross-country, waste vegetable oil-fueled journey across the U.S. to promote sustainable development. Aekta holds an Ed.M in Education Policy and Management from Harvard and a B.A. in Developmental Psychology and Education from Dartmouth College.

Irv Sheffey

IRV SHEFFEY - Washington, DC

Irv Sheffey is the Associate Regional Representative (DC) for Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice Program. He works with community based organizations addressing environmental problems and providing technical and logistical support as needed. Irv is a member of the DC Mayor’s Green Building Advisory Council; the Outreach and Education Sub-Committee of the Mayor’s Green Collar Jobs Council and actively promotes building a sustainable, green economy through grassroots efforts. He’s co-founder of GreenTHINK, a network/discussion group, promoting green visioning, dialogue and collaboration in the Washington metropolitan area.

Janae Shields


Janae Seignious-Shields, currently the Executive Accounts Manager at Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and Northern NJ, is expected to complete her Master’s of Social Work from Monmouth University with a concentration in International and Community Development in May 2009. She is a member of the NASW. She has a B.A. from the State University of New York at Oswego in American history. Janae is one of the founders of PANGEA Inc, a non-profit established to reduce the incarceration rates for children of incarcerated parents. She has obtained comprehensive training from New York State Industries for the Disabled Training and Information Program [NYSID TIP] in leadership and staff development. She has a dedication to youth development, family building, and restructuring the re-entry systems for ex-offenders to lower recidivism rates.

Tawanna Simpson


Tawanna is a mother, social activist, community leader, dancer and civic entrepreneur. She is a native Detroiter and Senior Executive Director of Essence of You Gallery and EGO Inc., as well as a member of the Governor J. Granholm Community Ambassador Committee. She is treasurer of the Michigan Democratic Party Environmental/Energy Caucus, a Title 1 Parent Advisory Council Delegate - Detroit Public Schools, Michigan’s MoveOn Regional Coordinator, and Consumer Commissioner, City of Detroit Department of Human Services. She cares about the well-being of her community, and has a plan to explain the ideas and possibilities of the Eco-Revolution. Life has illustrated that acts of kindness require great wisdom about the ways of the world. Therefore, Tawanna takes great pride in the philosophy of enjoying green options that will help save the world.

Gigi Traore

GIGI TRAORE - Cleveland, OH

An advantageous supporter of service, young people and the Executive Director of Power Network. Traore is a graduate of Green For All‘s Fellowship Academy (2010), Front Line Leaders Academy (2007) and YP4’s Leadership Academy (2009) a 10-month fellowship which included leadership development, organizational management, and personal ecology training. She’s a recipient of the New Leaders Council "40 Under 40 Leadership Award", City Year Cleveland Community Champion and Wanda M. Coleman Community Service Awards and has also received awards and recognitions from Cleveland State University and the Children’s Defense Fund. Traore’s environmentalism work focuses on educating audiences on greening at the grassroots. Her topics of passion include environmental justice, environmental racism, food justice and urban organizing. Traore believes that “the green movement would be a failure if it does not touch the hands, hearts and pockets of the local people.”

Maria Washington


Maria Washington has worked for environmental groups such as Beyond Pesticides (founded as the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides), Greenpeace, and the United Church of Christ’s Environmental Justice Ministry. Ms. Washington earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science for the University of the District of Columbia and a Master of Education Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialty in Instructional Technology Design and Development. She is currently working as an independent contractor designing green jobs training curriculum and serves on the Malcolm X Day Committee in Washington, DC. Inspired by the momentum of the green jobs movement, this year’s event and subsequent events will serve as a vehicle to teach low-income urban youth about the importance of healthy sustainable communities.

Catherynne Whitmore


Catherynne Lenora-Blanche Whitmore is currently a junior at Clark Atlanta University. She is the president and founder of Wild Flowers, Inc., a women’s empowerment organization chartered on her campus. Catherynne is very active in her community and serves food in the soup kitchen, Jose Feed the Homeless. Catherynne served as a key coordinator in mobilizing 115 students of the Atlanta University center to Washington D.C. This summer Catherynne will be attending the French school at Middlebury College.

KALIN WILLIAMS - New Carrolton, MD

Kalin Williams is a young lady who remains dedicated to the transformation of underserved low-income communities. She grew up in the inner cities of Washington, D.C. in a neighborhood that is directly affected by the economic, social and environmental injustice of our society. As the oldest of five, she has no other option but to work towards creating a better future for her family.

In 2007, she graduated from Hampton University with a BS in Economics. Her intention is to learn as much as she can to better serve Mother Earth and the next generation. In May 2008, she started a grassroots organization, The Earth’s Visible Energy ( Kalin is dedicated to the cause and will do whatever it takes to witness a global sustainable society.

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