Washington, D.C. - 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.
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.”
Bronx, NY - Janae has a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in U.S. history from the State University of New York at Oswego and a Masters in Social Work from Monmouth University with a concentration in International and Community Development. She is a Class III Green for All Fellow. In 2011, Janae completed the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development Family Development Credential for leaders. Since 2006 she has been working at Goodwill Industries in the Workforce Development Division. Janae cowrote the proposal that secured funding to start a program to help single mothers become self reliant and empowered. Currently, she facilitates a monthly support group for single mothers. She continues to secure funding and donations to support programming for single mothers at Goodwill. She serves on committees that evaluate Welfare to Work Programs. She is a certified Occupational Safety and Health 10 and 30 hour General Industry Trainer. She also teaches the Roots of Success Environmental Literacy Curriculum to people on and applying for public assistance to introduce them to green career opportunities and environmental justice issues facing people in their communities. She develops training programs and strategic plans to continuously improve quality and efficiency of Goodwill's Workforce Development programs. She also sits on the Advisory Board for Samuel Gomper's Career and Technical Education High School in the Bronx, NY. Janae has a commitment to developing programs and services to help strengthen families and address issues of urban poverty, workforce development and environmental justice.
Detroit, MI - 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.
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.
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.Read more
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 the Southern California area for 20 years, by passionately dedicating himself to improving community cohesion through empowering people by implementing positive programs that generate jobs and civic pride.Read more
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.
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 www.matthewpetty.org)
Chicago, IL - Harish I Patel, coordinator of University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Social Justice Initiative, is an experienced community organizer focused on youth, community and economic development issues and electoral engagement. Harish previously worked as the coordinator of public programming at the UIC Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and also as a Coalition Organizer at the Southwest Youth Collaborative on Chicago‚Äôs South Side. He serves on the board of advisers of In These Times magazine and served as an instructor at UIC for the undergraduate course, Youth Engagement in a Globalized World. He is also a founder of Project FOCUS, an international community development organization working in Uganda.