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Green For All Fellows - Class 5

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For our fifth class of Green For All Fellows, we've brought together 22 candidates from 14 different states. It is a powerfully diverse and dynamic group. We've taken particular care this round to expand our network geographically and throughout different sectors of the green economy. Over the course of their candidacy, the Fellowship candidates will expand and deepen their work to develop an inclusive green economy. Read on to find out more about these incredible leaders!

For our fifth class of Green For All Fellows, we've brought together 22 candidates from 14 different states. It is a powerfully diverse and dynamic group. We've taken particular care this round to expand our network geographically and throughout different sectors of the green economy. Over the course of their candidacy, the Fellowship candidates will expand and deepen their work to develop an inclusive green economy. Read on to find out more about these incredible leaders!

Green For All Fellows

Imhotep Adisa — Indianapolis, IN

Imhotep Adisa is native of Indianapolis, Indiana. As an African-American, his interest in environmental and economic issues was born out of personal and community experiences. His interest in environmental issues was heightened after some of the young men in his program held a forum on the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Not long after, the group read Van Jones' The Green Collar Economy. Since that time most of their work has centered on creating community awareness about the environment, providing information to residents on green economic opportunities, and providing an alternative voice to the community about these issues as they relate to the African-American community. Over the years he has helped lead forums and trainings, operated a restore, acquired energy auditor certification, started a community garden, and run summer EcoCamps. Three years ago, his organization opened the KI EcoCenter – a community center that focuses on green initiatives and serves as a hub for community based activities. He believes we are living in a very unique time, full of danger and possibility and calls us to "embrace the paradigmatic moment."

Jonny Arévalo — Dorchester, MA

Arevalo was born in Bogota, Colombia and immigrated to the United States in 1994. His passion for social and economic justice began in earnest when he was seriously injured while working as a shuttle bus driver for an international car rental company in 2004. Jonny organized a campaign to address his injury and actions the company was taking that were polluting and contaminating the environment. The campaign that Jonny and his co-workers launched received a great deal of attention from the media, local policy makers, and workers rights organizations. The campaign led to a regional boycott of the company. During the campaign, he was recruited to work for MassCOSH and transitioned from volunteer to a staff role in 2007. Currently, he is a Worker Center Organizer at MassCOSH, organizing workers to work for dignity, respect, fair treatment, just wages, and safe working conditions across Massachusetts. Jonny is a certified OSHA and EPA trainer, a member of Local 25, a member of the USWA Union, and he plays a leadership role in numerous local organizing initiatives. Prior to his role as a driver, Jonny spent nine years as a prep cook and pastry chef. He and his wife live in Boston. He is the proud father of two sons who are seven and eleven years old.

Karl Brustmeyer — Gibsonville, NC

Karl Brustmeyer was born in Brooklyn, NY. He served on several boards as an advisor in economic development, advocacy, and organizational development. He has been instrumental in taking a holistic view in planning and developing sustainable programs that address needs within the community. He has also helped mentor many small businesses and organizations in best practices of leveraging internet technology, and creating innovative social programs to showcase and promote their business/organizational objectives. He has advocated to city council utilizing Green For All research reports to and achieved adding language to city policy that opened the doors for minorities to participate in the Green economy locally via large grant awards and training opportunities. Karl currently works with SERA, Inc. and Citizens for Economic and Environmental Justice as the Entrepreneurship Partner/Trainer. He works with many non-profits and organizations to address economic empowerment for low-income at-risk communities.

Wesley Carter — Milwaukee, WI

Wesley Carter was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended school for business management and business plan development, intending to expand his father's dry-cleaning business. In studying business he became a fan of the green business model. He believes sustainable community development can give impoverished communities the jobs, food, energy, and environment to raise their quality of life. In 2009, he was given the opportunity to dialogue with community members about this emerging industry. From this he helped begin a weekly community brainstorming session, which became The Making Milwaukee Green Coalition, a coalition of tradesmen, community leaders, businessmen, and concerned Milwaukee residents. In 2010, he began training in the practice of organic gardening and began to research job and business opportunities in urban agriculture. He helped identify and encourage homeowners, businesses, churches, and community organizations to adopt organic sustainable gardening and composting practices. He also works with school children teaching them the benefits of recycling, composting, and locally grown produce. His goal is to create a model for a sustainable community food system that creates jobs in impoverished communities.

Hakim Cunningham — Boston, MA

Hakim was born and raised in the streets of Boston. The product of a Jamaican immigrant father and a Native American mother from Florida, he grew up in a predominantly Caribbean neighborhood in the Dorchester Center area of Boston. As a young man in the late 80′s, Hakim was introduced to gangs and became a hustler. His life of crime eventually led him to prison for four years. At the Bridgewater State Prison Complex, Hakim took computer classes and took part in the Cadre program serving as a hospital inmate worker learning trades in flooring installation and facilities maintenance. In this program, Hakim's life took a turn for the better when he met Imam Abudullah Faaruq Shadadah. Hakim decided to turn his life around and redirected his focus to educating himself while incarcerated. As Hakim approached his release date, he learned of the Boston Workers Alliance and the organization's serious work. After securing a job but then being fired because of his CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information), Hakim contacted the BWA and quickly became a member. Hakim was elected to the BWA Board in 2007 and was hired as BWA's second staff person in January of 2009.

Jada Drew — Greensboro, NC

Jada Drew is from Rich Square, North Carolina and currently resides in Greensboro, NC. She works independently as a consultant with her business Social Designs by Jada. She also works in the Multicultural Education Department of Guilford College as the Africana Community Coordinator. She founded the Africana C.H.A.N.G.E. Program. She also serves as a diversity, multiculturalism, and anti-racism facilitator for the department. Jada is also a leader of the Youth Action Project for the White Privilege Conference and member of the Youth Forward program for student leaders in Guilford County. Jada became interested in developing solutions to environmental and economic problems while analyzing the current impoverished situation in her hometown. She wants to bring awareness to the area and empower youth to create sustainable solutions for improving the community economically and educationally.

William Sizwe Herring — Nashville, TN

William Sizwe (Siz-Way) Herring is a dedicated environmentalist and director of EarthMatters Tennessee, a nonprofit earth education organization. A frequent classroom presenter and workshop leader, Sizwe is a certified instructor in the field of permaculture. Sizwe's organization maintains the George W. Carver Food Park, where over 30,000 lbs of organic compost is produced and distributed each year. The Food Park is the home of Nashville's only "land sculpture" made entirely of leaves and compost materials. Sizwe is also the urban coordinator for Kids To The Country, and since 1994 has led the summer program at The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee. As part of his mission to bring balance and wholeness to earth communities, Sizwe has volunteered his time as a trained mediator since 1993. He uses his staff position at Tennessee State University's student center to both mediate and bring awareness of both earth and human ecology to college students. His influence was instrumental in the creation of the campus organization Gateway to Heritage, which conducts recycling, cleanup and planting projects on the grounds and immediate neighborhood of this HBCU university. He is a former board member of the American Community Gardening Association, Tennessee Solid Waste Control Board and has proud, active memberships in Manna-Food Security Partners, Green For All, the Tennessee Organic Growers Association, and the Green Collar Jobs Task Force of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

Michael Hutchinson — Kansas City, KS

Michael Hutchinson is a graduate of the Alpha Class at Sumner Academy of Arts and Science in Kansas City, Kansas. He became interested in environmental issues when he began to notice the seasons and traditional weather patterns changing. When the economics of fuel began to govern the ability of our nation to operate, he knew alternatives must be developed. He networks continuously with businesses within this community to positively impact stabilization of the Northeast corridor. When he engages people he is sincere yet humble and passionate.

Claudia Jackson — Flagstaff, AZ

Claudia Jackson, Diné (Navajo), Coordinator for Navajo Green Jobs, seeks to diversify the Navajo Nation's economy by working on community based green projects that are less dependent on energy extraction and other industries that contradict her traditional values. She is currently working on developing a feasibility study for a green business incubator, implementing a green curriculum in reservation schools, and building community outreach and education. Her education and personal values revolve around green energy, sustainable living, and natural resources.

Ariana Marshall — Tallahassee, FL

Ariana Marshall is a graduate student in the Environmental Sciences Institute, serves on the Florida AMU Environment and Sustainability Council, and works as a FAMU representative for the Southeastern Green network. Being from the Caribbean island of Barbados, she attributes her interest in environmental issues primarily to the impacts of overdevelopment she has seen in the nine-year time-span she has been in the US. Through her studies, she has come to better understand that many of the environmental issues faced in the Caribbean are parallel to those faced in underserved communities in the US. Her research interests include climate change adaptation and justice, environmental education, and international coastal affairs. Currently a doctoral candidate, she is focused on the role of public participation in coastal land use planning and climate change adaptation. Ariana believes that solutions can be found in empowering more students to feel confident and informed as they engage in the shaping of environmental policies and decisions. Through working with the Southeastern Green network on recent summits, which focused on the role of HBCU's in addressing issues related to agriculture, food access and the sustainability of black farmers, she intends to activate more HBCU students around these issues.

Laura Martin — Las Vegas, NV

Laura Martin was born in Honolulu and raised in southern Colorado. She moved to Las Vegas in 2007 to organize health care voters for the presidential caucuses. She has become more involved in green economy issues as she has organized with a mayoral campaign and discovered the vast possibilities to make Las Vegas cleaner and more green while helping residents save a little money on their energy bills. Laura is a community organizer with Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), focusing on health care as a contract employee for HCAN. She organizes fellow health care voters, educating them on the issues and supporting various legislative campaigns.

Ahmina Maxey — Detroit, MI

Ahmina S. Maxey is the Associate Director of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council in Detroit, MI. She directs the Stand Up! Speak Out! program – the advocacy arm of EMEAC. Stand Up! Speak Out! and its programs and activities are designed to advocate for environmental justice in Southeast Michigan through policy initiatives while encouraging community involvement through youth and adult education and training. Maxey is an experienced environmental organizer and has educated City Council members on measures to improve Detroit's air quality. Maxey played an integral role in organizing the US Social Forum. She served as a co-chair on both the national and local outreach committees, working to bring 20,000 people to the Forum. She was also the lead coordinator for the "Clean Air, Good Jobs, and Justice" march during the forum, which brought together over 1,200 environmental justice activists and organizers from across the country. Prior to joining EMEAC, she worked as a Research Assistant for the Multicultural Environmental Leadership Development Initiative (MELDI) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She earned her Bachelor of Science in the Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan in 2007.

Travis McKenzie — Cedar Crest, NM

Travis McKenzie was born in San Diego, California, and grew up in New Mexico. He has dedicated his life to serving mother earth and the many people that care about life. He has gone to conferences, visited the legislature to participate in making positive change, and has created and maintained gardens in Albuquerque and across New Mexico. He works at many gardens and provides seeds and knowledge to anyone who wants to plant. He also works at eight after school programs and helps facilitate gardening at schools. He is currently a garden coordinator for S.W.O.P. (the Southwest Organizing Project) with Project Feed The Hood.

Claudia Moore — Omaha, NE

Claudia Moore was born and raised in Omaha, NE, the youngest of eight kids with both parents. Her mom was the first Black female real estate broker in Nebraska, and her dad was a quiet strength, like EF Hutton—people listened when he spoke. She is fearless and has a passion for new things. Working in the City of Omaha Planning Department has opened up new interests on a large scale. She is taking a break this summer and next fall from her masters program in librarianship. She is part of a campaign called "I Ride" which encourages people to bike to work. While biking to and from work, she stumbled onto a trail that opened up the exhilaration of biking to her. Working in City Planning has made a big difference in her life where she can truly say that at 53, the latter half of her life is much more rewarding than all the mistakes, stresses, and insecurities of the first half.

Daniel Nguyen — New Orleans, LA

Daniel Nguyen was born and raised in Westminster, California – a predominantly Vietnamese and Mexican immigrant community. He attended UC San Diego for his undergraduate career where he was introduced to environmental racism and its domestic and international legacy. Specifically, he learned how Agent Orange was used as a weapon of war to destroy the environment and harm the livelihoods, economies, and quality of life of people in affected communities. He began linking the destruction of the environment to destruction of economies, and the importance of having sustainable environments to have sustainable communities. After the BP oil spill on the Gulf Coast, Daniel coordinated a community-based participatory toxicology research project, organizing community members to design a research proposal and, with the technical assistance of toxicologists, implement the research on the effects of hydrocarbons on shrimp. He is currently managing the Viet Village Urban Farm Sustainable Aquaculture Park, which is a community-driven process to create green jobs to address community issues of unemployment, food access, and environmental concerns. He is very interested in the history of food and its implications on building sustainable communities.

Robin Odgers — Henderson, NV

Having been raised on a small urban farm just north of Detroit, it became second nature for Robin Odgers to live from the fields. She is passionate to give back to her community, the beauty of living a sustainable lifestyle. She hopes to impact many through her vision of offering local produce in the form of an organic coop, and a monthly produce distribution group such as a farm share box. With the Ten 28 Consulting Group she is the President of a company currently working with a non-profit medical center in Las Vegas to create Green Connect, a Resource Center offering training and information concerning the green economy in the Las Vegas area. She is also working with a company in Ohio to introduce hydroponic farming into the city of Las Vegas.

Luis Perales — Tucson, AZ

Luis Alberto Perales is a native son of the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. He is the son of an immigrant mother and an 8th generation Tejano father. His rural upbringing along the U.S./Mexico borderlands is the backdrop to his intimate relationship with land and cultural preservation. A transplant to Tucson, AZ and the Sonoran Desert, Luis has spent over a decade in the Old Pueblo. He is a graduate from the University of Arizona, an alumnus of the Mexican American and Raza Studies Department. For over ten years, he has directed his energies to the support and development of youth and their community. His expertise has led him to train and develop young people in the areas of health promotion, culture, and environmental sustainability. A true testament to his desire to meet community needs is his role as co-founder and community organizer of Tierra Y Libertad Organization (TYLO), a grassroots organization that works for positive social change and for the respect of land, people, and culture. His leadership and dedication to this work has led to the creation of the Barrio Sustainability Project, a community development endeavor dedicated to organizing the South Side Tucson community around the need for a model of urban green living and self sufficiency that is socially relevant and culturally based.

Anna Rondon — Gallup, NM

Anna's roots derive from Dinetah (Navajo land). She was born in Richmond, CA. She came back to her roots in 1981 and began working for her community Chichiltah (among the oaks). Her mother and father taught her to help people who need support. Her father was a WWII veteran who received the purple heart and bronze medal and both her parents were union members of the railroad. Her brother also served as a secretary for the IBEW. Her family taught her the value of community and helping one another through organizing for the greater good of the people. Anna has been involved in policy work in the nuclear industrial complex, and social and economic justice issues among the Navajo and worldwide. In the past ten years, she has influenced young indigenous leaders to take on important issues as well as the roots of oppression and decolonization. She has built the capacity of five grassroots groups addressing issues from human rights abuses to predatory lending. Her life as an Indigenous Woman and grandmother, and her work in the 60's and 70's with Angela Davis, Dennis Banks, Huey Newton, Caesar Chavez and the American Indian Movement (AIM for Freedom) Survival School in Oakland, CA give her the insight to continue to work for these issues. She deeply believes that the history and lessons of those eras need to be taught if we are to do justice to past leaders who paved the way for us today. Her worldview is about love, respect and having an impact on this beautiful changeable world!

Natasha Soto — Buffalo, NY

Originally from Washington Heights, Natasha moved to Buffalo for school, where she earned her degree in Environmental Studies. She was instantly culture shocked to find, unlike the melting pot of New York City, a distinct lack of people of color at the University at Buffalo. She fell in love with Buffalo because of the pride and strong sense of community expressed by the people, but she was also aware that something was missing. Buffalo is extremely segregated in access to health care, reliable transportation, access to healthy food including fruits and vegetables, jobs, education, and affordable housing. Her experience has informed her work as a Community Organizer at the Clean Air Coalition bringing people of color and other underrepresented people to the green movement. As an organizer she works to develop leaders, run campaigns, advocate for public health policies, and train community members to do their own street science.

Yeama Sow — Antioch, NY

Yeama Sow, born in Nashville, TN, is a dedicated mother, wife, inspirational teacher, and community organizer. She developed a connection to and interest in organic farming from her early childhood experiences spending summers in Promiseland, TN, an African- American rural community founded by her ancestors who were ex-slaves. After graduating from Tennessee State University with a B.S. degree in Social Studies Education and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, Yeama worked to combine her innate connection to organic land development practices with community education. She has worked in communities in both rural and inner city settings implementing programs based on building "outdoor naturalistic classrooms" using the GRACE model—gardening, recycling, action, composting, and education. Yeama has worked as a program director in the "Black Belt" south with Black farming communities and currently is the Board Chairperson for EarthMatters, a community based environmental education organization in Nashville, TN. For twenty years, EarthMatters has instituted community gardens and she has helped to implement composting projects throughout the city.

Beata Tsosie-Peña — Española, NM

Beata Tsosie-Peña is from Santa Clara Pueblo, and was raised in El Rito, NM. After studying permaculture design, and out of personal concern for future generations, she became interested in developing solutions to economic and environmental problems. She became active with Tewa Women United's Environmental Justice program three years ago. She felt a calling after experiencing the trauma from the testing and waste disposal detonations from LANL on a regular basis in her ancestral homelands. Beata works to educate and empower her community to be able to speak out on important issues. She works to build sustainable solutions in the form of home and community gardens, and by promoting green energy. She organized a community training for her pueblo around an installation of solar photovoltaic panels, various community permaculture workshops, and the Santa Clara Pueblo Community Garden. Beata is also a poet, musician, and artist and teaches poetry workshops to empower youth voices to speak out about environmental/social justice issues. A poem that she read for a Center for Disease Control public meeting on the LAHDRA (Los Alamos Historic Document and Retrieval Act) report, was published as the introduction for the final technical report. She is a wife, aunty, and mother of two, who sees her many roles as a way to serve life and creation.

Mark Welsch — Omaha, NE

Mark Welsch was raised on a farm in southeastern Nebraska where he learned about environmental and economic problems first hand. His father was politically aware and active, teaching him the importance of caring and working for things that he cares about. In the past six years Mark has played a key part in pushing the Omaha City Council and Mayor and the state's Senators and Governor to pass laws that clean the indoor working environment by making almost all workplaces 100% smoke-free. He has worked with local and statewide media for over 20 years. Many people in the media seek Mark out for factual information on these issues. Knowledge from his past efforts has helped him understand how to get elected officials to make other needed changes. Mark serves as the Omaha Coordinator for Nebraskans for Peace (NFP) and works with the other three members of NFP's staff, local and statewide volunteers to promote peace and justice in Nebraska, the USA and the world.

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