Boone, NC – Sandra Diaz is a Campaign Coordinator for Appalachian Voices. She started her career in environmental advocacy as a grassroots organizer in Florida for organizations such as Humane Society of the United States, League of Conservation Voters and the Alaska Coalition. She then moved to Boone in 2007 as the national field coordinator for Appalachian Voices’ Mountaintop Removal Campaign, then moved into Communications and Development work in 2009. Sandra assumed her current position in late 2010.
Washington, DC - Kari Fulton is an award winning environmental justice advocate and new media journalist. Recently, Fulton was appointed as the Interim Director of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative a coalition of leading organizations and voices for Climate Justice. In her previous position as the National Youth Campaign Coordinator for the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC) Fulton led EJCC's partnership with the Energy Action Coalition helping to coordinate national campus campaigns and youth summits such as Power Shift 2009; the largest lobby day and youth summit on Climate Change in United States history. The EJCC youth program supports a new generation of change agents through workshops, leadership development and assistance in building campus and community initiatives. In April of 2009, Fulton co-founded Checktheweather.TV (formerly Checktheweather.net) a national online community and web platform to amplify the voices of young people of color advocating for environmental justice. Fulton has traveled across the United States, Europe and Latin America reporting on international Climate Change conferences and negotiations. Fulton’s work has been featured in various media including Black Entertainment Television (BET), The Sundance Channel, MSNBC and Glamour Magazine. Most recently, Ebony Magazine listed Fulton in their 2010 Power 100 list. Fulton is a native of Denver, Colorado, a proud alumna of the Howard University John H. Johnson School of Communications and a current resident of Washington, DC.
Antioch, NY - Yeama Mengistu, 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. Currently, Yeama is a USAID-IFESH Educator for the Ministry of Education of Ethiopia Missions in Chiro at the Teacher Education College. There she designs and implements strategies to help improve the quality of teaching and learning in Ethiopia.
Pittsburgh, PA - Chester Thrower is a champion of the green economy, becoming a Fellow of the Green for All Academy in 2008 and subsequently becoming trained in solar panel installation and repair and continuing his training with SEI (Solar Energy International), the City of Pittsburgh Housing Authority Green Jobs Training Program, and the CCAC Green Institue Weatherization Training. Since July 2010, Chester has worked as the Green Outreach Coordinator at the Kingsley Association: a nonprofit community center that has served the Larimer area for over one hundred years. His role as the Green Outreach Coordinator is to oversee canvassing and outreach efforts within the community, encouraging residents to take advantage of weatherization programs that can provide up to $6,000 of insulation and energy-efficiency measures to low-income residents (the vast majority of the population the Kingsley Association serves). On May 27-28, 2011, Chester successfully completed both the written and field tests to become a Building Performance Analyst (BPI Energy Auditor) with an emphasis on indoor air-quality and safety. Chester is currently working on putting together his business model to be an energy consultant in the Larimer neighborhood. He is starting Project Seal Up with the help of a start-up grant from the Green For All Fellows Fund.
Recipient of the Fellows Fund micro-grant award for: Project Seal Up (Sustainability Initiative) Pittsburgh, PA This project will help initiative a green business designed to meet a real community need: energy efficiency upgrades for low-income residents. To start, residents will attend a 2 hour home energy efficiency seminar, then schedule to get their homes' data assessed: how many rooms, stories above grade, year built, ceiling type, heating cooling type, etc. in order to see how much material will be needed to complete the air sealing assessment project. Also: go over past utility bills to advise residents on best ways to conserve energy, which directly correlates to savings in their pocket. The team will then implement the upgrades, while providing basic energy efficiency education to residents. A 45-60 day follow-up will be conducted to gauge how effective the measures were in helping them achieve better comfort in the home and if they can see the changes in their habits as reflected in money savings.
San Francisco, CA - Pandora Thomas is Director of the Green Career Program at Global Exchange. This program creates pathways for communities of color, youth and lower income people to access jobs and healing opportunities within environmental fields. Pandora is completing an M.A. in Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. She received her B.A. in Religious Studies from Youngstown State University and a Teaching Credential from the New College of California. Pandora researched and did the initial writing and editing for a collaborative project called Shades of Green, a Green Construction manual for a YouthBuild program that aims to train youth ages 18-24 in Green Construction skills. She received human rights advocacy training as a visiting scholar at the Center for Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, and has created and delivered curriculum to diverse audiences around the themes of human rights, environmental justice, and environmental education. She would one day love to build a home made out of natural materials that do not harm the earth or its creatures, have a garden, and live simply and share this way of being with others.
Recipient of the Fellows Fund micro-grant award for: The Green Life at San Quentin LEAP – El Cerrito, CA The Green Life is a direct response to the need for environmental literacy, green job training, education, support and empowerment for men reentering their communities after incarceration. The project will finalize an environmental literacy curriculum specifically designed for the population as well as host the first San Quentin Green Festival.
Boston, MA - Aaron Tanaka is the founding Executive Director of the Boston Workers'Alliance (BWA), a grassroots union of under- and unemployed workers based in Boston's low income communities of color. Aaron has helped develop BWA's Worker Center, organizing campaigns and economic development projects, and supervises a 6-person staff. BWA is nationally recognized for a successful statewide campaign to ban the criminal history "box" from initial job application forms, and for its incubation of the Boston Staffing Alliance, the first non-profit temp agency in the state. BWA also runs a Green Collar Jobs Program, which includes a urban gardening project and a new biofuels worker-cooperative called Roxbury Green Power. Aaron serves on the board for the Asian American Resource Workshop and the Democracy Center, is a former Green For All fellow, and is the Governor's nominee to a Special State Commission on Job Creation. He also serves on the selection committees for the Haymarket People's Fund, an anti-racist foundation supporting over 65 groups throughout New England. Prior to BWA, Aaron interned as an environmental lobbyist in DC, and as a prison reform advocate with families of prisoners in Cambridge, MA. Aaron grew up in the San Francisco East Bay and is a '05 graduate of Harvard College.
Recipient of the Fellows Fund micro-grant award for: The Food and Land Project (Sustainability Initiative) Boston Worker’s Alliance- Boston, MA The Food and Land Project is a new initiative of the Boston Workers Alliance (BWA), a grassroots union of under- and unemployed workers of color. This project responds to the crisis of joblessness in Boston's low-income communities of color by organizing residents to develop urban farms as a strategy to generate income and to meet our own needs. The Food and Land Project includes three program areas aimed to realize aspect of a burgeoning green economy: Urban Gardening, Cooperative Business Planning, and Land Advocacy.
South Bronx, NY - Sheila Somashekhar is currently the Greenway and Green building Coordinator at Sustainable South Bronx. She recently completed a Master's Degree in Urban Planning and Public Health from the University of Michigan where she collaborated on the development of a sustainability resource center in Detroit with Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, and the Southeast Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. Her graduate work has involved environmental justice, brownfield redevelopment, the built environment and obesity, and youth recreation needs.
Atlanta, GA - Khadijah Robinson is an English major, Spanish and Political Science double minor at Spelman College, Class of 2011. She is a part of the first Green for All Academy, held in 2008, and has been involved with environmental issues since beginning her college career. She is a member of Spelman College's Environmental Task Force as well as Morehouse College's Students Endeavoring for Enlightened Environmental Decisions. Currently, Khadijah is working as an intern for a non-profit organization based in New York, New York, the Law and Policy Group. She is the senior research intern for the biannual Report on the Status of Black Women and Girls, released 6/20/10. Khadijah spearheaded the Environmental Issues section, which will appear in the report for the first time under her direction. She is committed to the environmental education of her peers and her community, as well as seeking ways to improve the interaction between people and the environment.
Albuquerque, NM - Juan Reynosa is a born and raised New Mexican who enjoys working on social justice issues, working with youth to develop their skills, and working on pieces of policy to help lift up his community. He has been involved in a variety of organizing work in his lifetime and plans to use this experience to continue to work with the people in his community to bring more positive projects to his state. Juan is also interested in blogging, helping with the local arts and music scene, and helping to spread organizing work to smaller communities in New Mexico. Juan has his Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science and plans on going back for his graduate degree soon in a social justice related field.
Chicago, IL - LaDonna Redmond was a resident of the West Garfield Community. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago. Ms. Redmond grew up volunteering at Operation PUSH and has worked for her community ever since. Currently, Ms. Redmond and her husband Tracey are involved in developing an urban farm in partnership with the University of Illinois. As a national speaker, Ms. Redmond has presented to food industry leaders, the policy makers and heads of state concerning issues of community safety and food access. Ms. Redmond has also spoken at a number of colleges and universities which include University of Chicago, University of Illinois, DePaul, Stanford, University of California, Occidental College.