WASHINGTON, DC— Rachel’s Network today announced the awardees and finalists of its second annual Catalyst Award. The award provides women leaders of color support and recognition for their commitment to a healthy planet, along with a $10,000 prize, networking opportunities, and national recognition for their work.
The nine 2020 awardees are:
Amy Cordalis, Yurok Tribe, McKinleyville, California
Amy is the first enrolled Yurok citizen to serve as her tribe’s general counsel and is a traditional salmon fisher and culture bearer. She has spent her entire life protecting and restoring the Klamath River. Find Amy on Instagram.
Alannah Hurley, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Dillingham, Alaska
Alannah (Yup’ik) is the executive director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB), a consortium of 15 federally recognized tribal governments in the Bristol Bay Watershed. UTBB works to protect their traditional way of life and opposes large-scale mines like Pebble. Alannah has worked extensively in community development and environmental justice and is dedicated to helping make self-determination a reality for Alaska’s indigenous people.
Mai Nguyen, Minnow, San Diego, California
Mai is a farmer and co-director of Minnow, an organization focused on land tenure for farmers of color. Mai applies their background in climate research and Buddhist farming to cultivate regionally-adapted heritage grains and Vietnamese seed crops. They also engage in political organizing that centers farmers and farm workers, builds economic democracy, and advances racial justice in the food system. In 2017, Mai helped pass the Farmer Equity Act. Find Mai on Instagram.
Jennifer Nguyen Moore, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, St. Paul, Minnesota
Jennifer is a recycling administrator for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and a local organizer. She focuses on building community around environmental justice, health equity, quality of life, and access to public services. Find Jennifer on LinkedIn.
Christine Nieves, Emerge PR, Humacao, Puerto Rico
Christine is the co-founder and executive director of Emerge Puerto Rico, a social enterprise decolonizing climate change leadership resources and experiences. Christine’s work is focused on human consciousness, cognition, evolution, and adaptation to extreme environmental disruptions. She also co-founded Proyecto Apoyo Mutuo Mariana, a mutual-aid disaster relief effort. Find Christine on Twitter.
Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm, Petersburg, New York
Leah is a Black Kreyol farmer, author, mother, and food justice activist who has been tending the soil and organizing for an anti-racist food system. She is a founding co-executive director of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, a people-of-color led project that works toward food and land justice. Her book is Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land. Find Leah on Instagram.
Doria Robinson, Urban Tilth, Richmond, California
Doria is executive director of Urban Tilth, a community-based organization building a more sustainable, healthy, and just food system. She is also a founder of Cooperation Richmond, a worker-owned community developer, and is on the steering committee of Our Power Richmond, part of the Climate Justice Alliance. Formally trained as a watershed restoration ecologist, Doria has also worked on organic farms in Western Massachusetts.
Kerene N. Tayloe Esq., WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Washington, DC
Kerene is a social justice advocate who has worked in environmental justice, civil rights, and voter protection. She is focused on ensuring that communities of color lead and speak for themselves as we address climate change, and believes it is imperative that people of color and women have access to economic opportunities in the clean energy sector. Before returning to WE ACT for Environmental Justice, she was the policy director for Green For All. Find Kerene on Twitter.
Jessica Guadalupe Tovar, Local Clean Energy Alliance, San Francisco, California
Jessica is an organizer with the Local Clean Energy Alliance. The experience of cancer in her family led her to focus on preventing and reducing local industrial pollution. She successfully mobilized against the PG&E Hunters Point Power Plant and the Chevron Richmond oil refinery expansion. She helped establish East Bay Community Energy, an agency that provides electricity for over 1.5 million people in Alameda County. She is part of an alliance jumpstarting a just transition for Alameda County. Find Jessica on LinkedIn.
The 15 finalists of the 2020 Catalyst Award are (in alphabetical order)*:
Miho Aida, NatureBridge, Sausalito, California
Imani Jacqueline Brown, Fossil Free Fest, New Orleans, Louisiana
Chanté Coleman, National Wildlife Federation, Annapolis, Maryland
Chandra Farley, Partnership for Southern Equity, Atlanta, Georgia
Kimberly Foreman, Environmental Health Watch, Cleveland, Ohio
Jameka Hodnett, 350.org, Washington, DC
Donna U. Hope, UHope-Consulting, Brooklyn, New York
Michelle Martinez, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, Detroit, Michigan
Amira Streeter, Office of Governor Kate Brown, Portland, Oregon
LaJuan Tucker, City of Austin Parks and Recreation, Austin, Texas
Agnes Vianzon, Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps, Mammoth Lakes, California
Carol Williams, artist, Seattle, Washington
Venice Williams, Alice’s Garden Urban Farm, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Dan Xie, Student PIRGs, St. Petersburg, Florida
Ami Zota, George Washington University Milken School of Public Health, Washington, DC
Help us get the word out about these women by sharing our posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. If you’d like to contribute to the Catalyst Award, click here. And stay tuned for the opening of the next application cycle in early 2021!
*One additional finalist has chosen to remain anonymous.