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Noyes News, April 2009

Diversity and Inclusion

 

The Noyes Foundation has taken a leadership role in promoting greater diversity and inclusion in the philanthropic community. The Council on Foundations, also committed to a more diverse sector, created a web page with programs, tools and resources to advance inclusiveness. One feature is "Storytelling," where foundation executives and trustees express their experiences with diversity and inclusive practices. Ann Wiener, Noyes board member and granddaughter of Charles Noyes, and Vic De Luca, Noyes President, appear in a new diversity video produced by the Council.


Congratulations

 

Miho Kim Receives Human Rights Award

Miho Kim of the DataCenter became the first non-Japanese woman from that country to receive Japan's Women's Human Rights Award in 2008. The Yayori Human Rights Award is named after the late internationally acclaimed Japanese journalist, Yayori Matsui, who dedicated her life to documenting and exposing Japan's wartime and corporate atrocities, particularly against women, around the world. It is awarded by the Women's Fund for Peace and Human Rights, based in Tokyo and established in 2003, which "focuses on the global promotion of women's human rights and peace affecting the past, present, and future." An essay by Miho (Related News section below) explores her work and her heritage.


Fred Kirschenmann Receives First Glynwood Medal


The first annual Glynwood Medal for Distinguished Leadership in Sustainable Agriculture was presented to Frederick L. Krischenmann, Ph.D.

Fred, a former Noyes Foundation board member, has earned national and international respect as a leader of the sustainable agriculture movement. He manages his family's 3,500-acre farm in North Dakota, a natural prairie livestock grazing operation with a nine-crop rotation of cereal grains, forages and green manure. Fred was one of the first farmers to transition a farm on this scale to organic production. He has written extensively on ethics and agriculture, and is renowned for his ability to convey his message in a way that inspires academics and farmers alike. Fred is president of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY.

Power U Celebrates Award for Racial Justice

The Greater Miami Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida celebrated Bill of Rights Day on January 30 with a reception and presentation of the Rodney Thaxton Award for Racial Justice to local leaders for their work on affordable housing. Among the honorees was Power U Center for Social Change, which is working to prevent the displacement of low-income families by increasing community control over current housing, new development projects and the revitalization of Overtown. Overtown is a historic African American neighborhood in Miami that has been severely damaged by urban renewal projects. In its most recent success, Power U entered into a historical partnership with a local developer to build 40 low-income units in Overtown for people who make no more than 50 percent of the area median income. This agreement is an opportunity for the community to be effectively involved in the creation of quality low-income and affordable housing that generates employment and beautification.

A residents' committee will serve as the voice of the community to support and help guide the project. The committee's goals are to preserve the image of Overtown and ensure quality low-income housing for current residents. The developer, with support from Power U, will provide job training services once it is built.





Destiny Lopez, executive director of ACCESS/Women's Health Rights Coalition, was chosen for the 2007-08 annual report cover story of the Women's Foundation of California.


The Obama Transition

 

 

Former Noyes Grantee Gets Key Job in Obama Administration

President Obama has nominated Michelle DePass to serve as the Assistant Administrator for International Affairs at the Environmental Protection Agency. Michele served as executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, a former Noyes grantee. She also helped to organize the Northeast Environmental Justice Network.

 

 

Currently, Michele is a program officer at the Ford Foundation, focusing on environmental justice. She worked on environmental affairs for the City of San Jose and was an advisor to the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Michele also taught environmental law and policy at the City University of New York.


Environmental Justice

In December, about 20 environmental justice leaders from throughout the country, the majority of them current or former Noyes grantees met with Obama's Transition Team for EPA, Department of Energy and Department of the Interior. Transition Team members included Lisa Jackson, EPA Secretary and the first person of color to ever lead the agency; Carol Browner, White House Policy Office on energy, climate change and environment; and Nancy Sutley, White House Council on Environmental Quality. They pledged their commitment to elevate, restore and revive environmental justice programs in every aspect of the federal government. And all agreed that we have fallen behind, way behind, in our pursuit of environmental justice.

 

The EJ agenda for the meeting focused on three major areas:

  • Economic Stimulus and Neighborhood Revitalization
  • Corrective Regulatory Action; and
  • Regional Concerns.

 

 

Diane Takvorian of the Environmental Health Coalition commented following the meeting:

This process is remarkable and truly historic. Never before has an incoming president set out to capture information in such a broad and inclusive way. Remarkably, environmental justice leaders were given our own meeting with the team, demonstrating a strong and clear understanding of the differences between environmental justice work and traditional environmental efforts.

 

Environmental Justice Leaders in attendance included:

 

Dr. Robert Bullard, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia

Pen Loh, Alternatives for Community and Environment, Massachusetts

Richard Moore, Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice Beverly Wright, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Louisiana

Mathy Stanislaus, New Partners for Community Revitalization, New York

Elizabeth Yeampierre, Uprose, New York

Cecilia Estolano, Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles

Luke Cole, Center for Race, Poverty & Environment, California

Leslie Fields, Sierra Club, Washington, DC

Deeohn Ferris, Sustainable Community Development Group, Washington, DC

Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network

Bill Gallegos, Communities for a Better Environment, California

Roger Kim, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, California

Diane Takvorian, Environmental Health Coalition, California

Monique Harden, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, Louisiana

Donelle Wilkins, Detroiters for Environmental Justice

Peggy Shepard, WEACT for Environmental Justice, New York

 


Food and Agriculture

 
 

From left: Ralph Paige, Secretary Vilsack, Shirley Sherrod, and Congressman Bishop
February 21, 2009 in Albany, Georgia Federation/LAF Farmer's Conference

 

In February, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addressed more than 300 farmers and agriculture professionals at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Loss Assistance Fund's 26th Annual Farmer's Conference. "When our first African American President raised his hand and took the oath of office, we made a huge step in this country. Its now our job at the USDA to take the next step," the Secretary told the farmers. He said he chose to make his first speech outside Washington at the conference because he wanted to send a message that USDA is serious about civil rights. Vilsack said that if President Abraham Lincoln, who established USDA in 1862, came back and wondered how the department is doing in supporting farmers, he would learn that some folks refer to the USDA as the last plantation, and it has a pretty poor history of taking care of people of color.


Reproductive Rights

Immediately after winning the election, President Elect Barak Obama rolled out Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration: Steps for Improvement and Change. The report demonstrates a commitment to guaranteeing access to comprehensive, quality, affordable health care for all. If the language in this report seems to resonate strongly with how reproductive rights and justice advocates frame these issues, it is because so many of them contributed to the process. A few weeks after the release of the report, the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team held a Reproductive Health meeting. Among the organizations invited to attend were the National Asian and Pacific American Women's Forum, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Women's Law Center, African American Women Evolving, Sistersong, and National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

 

Many women's organizations encouraged the Transition Team to establish a special unit focused on women and girls. In March, an executive order was released announcing the establishment of a White House Council on Women and Girls. Two Noyes grantees were present, NAPAWF and NLIRH. President Obama made it clear that this council will be taken seriously:

Its purpose is very simple: to ensure that each of the agencies in which they're charged takes into account the needs of women and girls in the policies they draft, the programs they create, the legislation they support. It's not enough to only have individual women's offices at individual agencies, or only have one office in the White House. Rather, as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once said, in our government, 'the responsibility for the advancement of women is not the job of any one agency, it's the job of all of them.' And she should know – she helped lead an interagency women's initiative during the Clinton administration.

Health and Toxics

 

Photo: Coming Clean delegation in Washington D.C.

Pam Miller is in the front, right with red folder.

 

Pam Miller serves as co-director of the Body Burden Working Group of Coming Clean, a network of organizations addressing the health consequences of pollution in the human body, especially as they pertain to chemicals policy. Alaska Community Action on Toxics has been active with Coming Clean allies since 2001, when viewing parties were set up throughout the nation to watch Trade Secrets, a PBS documentary by Bill Moyers who took viewers "behind the closed doors of the chemical industry." ACAT held a viewing party at the Anchorage Museum and has been active in the Coming Clean network for the past seven years.

 

In response to a sign-on letter submitted by several Coming Clean members in November, the Coming Clean Policy Working Group received an invitation to arrange a meeting with Barack Obama's Presidential Transition Team (PTT). The Policy Working Group organized a broad-based delegation of 20 public interest advocates, selected six speakers on three key themes, and made arrangements for communicating their joint recommendations. The result was a deep discussion among the Obama team and advocates that lasted for nearly two hours. ACAT's Pam Miller was chosen to speak on "international opportunities," specifically the Stockholm Convention and the effect of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) on the Indigenous peoples of the North (in the Related News section below). The advocate from the Breast Cancer Fund reported about the briefing by email, commenting particularly on Pam's interchange at the meeting:

 

The PTT staff and volunteers…were attentive and quick to ask probing follow-up questions concerning legislative and regulatory details, timing and strategy… It was clear to all that they understand the magnitude of the problems and are looking for opportunities for immediate and longer-term action on environmental health. One brief exchange helps capture the feeling in the room. Just before her presentation on POPs, Pam Miller took a moment to look around the room with big saucer eyes, taking in everything and everyone, then said: "It is such an honor to be here, at this meeting with all of you, I can't tell you how excited I am…" and one PTT expert on EPA put down her computer, on which she had been typing furiously, to return the full circle gaze and say – with a level of humility and sincerity that took our breath away: "No, it's our honor."

Grantee Updates


 

 

In the article, Sodbuster Solicitor, in the January/February 2009 issue of Sierra Club Magazine, Savi Horne, executive director of the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers Land Loss Prevention Project, talked about the services LLPP provides to African American and other limited resource farmers. Sustainable agriculture has provided new opportunities for its clients. "You can be a small farmer in the 21st century if your production system keeps people healthy."


Students and Farmworkers Connect on International Migrants Day

A class of students from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, used the occasion of International Migrants Day, Dec. 18, as an opportunity for a learning experience and a service project at the same time. The media students partnered with Farmworker Association of Florida to create four stories that were aired on Rollins' radio station and submitted to the National Radio Project to be accessible nationwide on Radio 1812. Working with FWAF, the students conducted oral interviews - some face to face, others by phone - with staff and community members to learn more about the issues facing immigrants in their community and across the country.

One story focused on the status of Haitians in the U.S., based on interviews with FWAF Haitian staff members, Luckner Millien and Pascale Vincent. Haitians are not afforded temporary protective status, as are persons from other troubled countries in our hemisphere. Speaking from their personal experiences, Luckner and Pascale discussed the troubling discrimination that Haitians experience and how they hope this will change under the new administration.

Another segment focused on racial profiling of immigrants based on an interview with FWAF Coordinator Tirso Moreno, who also discussed FWAF's leadership role in work to protect the basic rights and dignity of immigrants.

The third segment explored the H2A or "guestworker" program and the hardships created when growers bypass workers already in the U.S. by requesting workers from other countries to work in their fields. For their fourth piece, college students had face-to-face and in-depth discussions with middle and high school immigrant students to hear first hand the hardships, difficulties, sorrows and joys of being a foreign-born student living, studying and growing up in the U.S.


Winning Ideas - Protecting Pachamama (Mother Universe)

Among the A-thru-Z catalog in the Year in Ideas cover feature of the December 2008 New York Times Magazine, many were about food, the environment and climate change. Included were convention-shattering ideas, such as eating more miniature cows and kangaroos and less methane-intensive conventional beef. Another was about giving Mother Nature (Pachamama) intrinsic legal rights, which is now the law of the land in Ecuador as a result of changes enacted through a constitutional convention last fall. The rights of nature language was drafted by the Pennsylvania-based nonprofit Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. "CELDF posits that most laws define nature as someone's property, forcing environmentalists to prove extensive damage before regulations can be put in place. A rights-based approach, it argues, reverses that burden, putting the health of ecosystems first."


 

How Does the White House Garden Grow?

 

The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's organizer Roger Doiron's idea beat out 3,999 others to win him the On Day One contest for what President Obama could do immediately upon taking office to renew America's leadership in the world. Doiron said, "The White House is 'America's House' and should serve as a model at a time of economic and environmental crisis. By planting an organic, sustainable garden at the White House, the Obamas will lead by example and inspire the collective action needed to tackle interconnected challenges such as food security, climate change and energy dependence." Doiron's prize was a round-trip ticket and hotel accommodations to participate in events surrounding the 44th President's Inaugural Ceremony in Washington, DC, and support from The Better World Campaign to deliver Doiron's idea to the President. Dorion has been on a winning streak, as he was selected to be a 2009 Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow. Another winning move by Doiron was improving web outreach for NESAWG through a new social networking site that is bringing people and groups together. He also helped create a new Farm Bill User Guide, which he reports was consulted over 600 times in less than two weeks.


Editor's note: In March, Michelle Obama planted an organic garden at the White House.


Think Before You Pink Wins Again

On February 9th, General Mills announced it will take rBGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) out of Yopait yogurt - something it had informed Breast Cancer Action was impossible just four months earlier. The dairy from rBGH-injected cows has been linked to breast cancer, and General Mills' reversal of their initial stand is a big win for women's health.

 

Think Before You Pink, a project of BCA, was launched in 2002 in response to growing concerns about the overwhelming number of pink ribbon products and promotions on the market. The campaign calls for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions. Think Before You Pink also highlights "pinkwashers" – companies purporting to care about breast cancer by promoting pink ribbon campaigns, but that manufacture products linked to the disease.

 

This win is a tremendous acknowledgement of grassroots change - and a victory for us all. General Mills promises to complete this transition by August. As the watchdogs of breast cancer, BCA intends to monitor its progress and make sure it keeps its word.


Kentuckians for the Commonwealth Among Supporters of Power Shift Conference

As EPA administrator Lisa Jackson pointed out in her speech to 12,000 youth at the recent Power Shift conference in Washington, DC, every seminal event in America's history has been accompanied by a shift in power. This week, a number of current and former Noyes grantees were part of that power shift. Among them were Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Indigenous Environmental Network, Black Mesa Water Coalition and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, which sent this report from the frontlines, was part of that power shift.

 

Joe Gallenstein, a senior at the University of Kentucky, was among the 170 high school and college students from Kentucky who attended Powershift. The young activists gathered to learn, strategize and demand bold climate and clean energy policy. "Everyone will be thinking now about how young people together can take action," Joe said. Joe's campus chapter of KFTC is already thinking about a direct action on UK's campus to draw attention to its coal-fired boiler.

 

Following the conference, participants joined other activists in a mass civil disobedience at Capitol Power Plant, which supplies electricity to Capitol Hill. Organized by author and KFTC member, Wendell Berry, and environmentalist Bill McKibben, the action was a rallying cry for a clean energy economy. The 2,500 participants blocked all five entrances to the plant for more than four hours. Long-time KFTC member Patty Wallace, 78, said:

At times you get discouraged and think nobody's listening...but the more you hear that, the more determined it makes you. ... It was just kind of a culmination for me after all these years. ... The word is getting out, and people are realizing what's happening. The banners were so telling.

 

KFTC sent nearly 40 people to the two events, and the Kentucky delegation played a prominent role in both Powershift and the civil disobedience action.


"No one has paid the price any more than we have in Eastern Kentucky," Patty said. "It's the same old thing we've been saying for years and years, and finally it's sinking in that coal isn't clean for us, it isn't cheap for us. We've paid the price all along."


Film Series Chronicles the Environmental History of One of the Oldest Mountain Ranges on Earth - Appalachia


Appalachia, A History of Mountains and People
, a four-part series narrated by Sissy Spacek, is scheduled to air on public television beginning April 9. It stars the land as well as the people, say filmmakers Jamie Ross and Ross Spears.

 

 

Among the writers, artists, scholars, musicians and activists featured is Judy Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch, a Goldman Environmental Prize winner for her work to protect the mountains that are her home. "From the heartbreak of mountaintop removal mining to the hope of a new American Chestnut tree, the struggle to find a proper relationship to the natural world remains the real Appalachian story," notes the promotional material for the series.


Coal Activists Attract National Attention

Working together, and building connections with allies from other regions, Appalachian activists fighting mountaintop removal coal mining are making their presence known throughout the country.

 

Campaigns led by groups ranging from the Rainforest Action Network to student movements to individual groups throughout the country, including Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. in Chicago, resulted in a Bank of America announcement that it would stop funding MTR. Like many organizations, LVEJO uses its website to link local fights against polluting facilities to other websites, a dead-mountain count, pictures of barren Appalachian landscapes, and calls for solutions like green jobs and green cities.

 

In North Carolina, a concert to benefit coalfield groups planned for June will include local supporters, coalfield groups Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and Coal River Mountain Watch, and an appearance by N.C. Rep. Pricey Harrison. Harrison has introduced legislation that would end the use of coal from mountaintop removal operations in power plants within state borders. North Carolina has no coal mining, but Harrison believes the state should be a good neighbor. "This is a horrific and destructive practice," Harrison said at a press conference held at the N.C. legislature. "We want to remind North Carolina citizens that when they turn on that light switch, they're blowing up mountains." Similar legislation has also been introduced in Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, South Carolina and Tennessee. The full story can be read in Facing South.

 

The New York Times Weighs in on Mountaintop Mining

On March 16th, the New York Times wrote a powerful editorial, Appalachia's Agony, calling mountaintop mining a "longstanding disgrace … now squarely in President Obama's hands." The editorial cites the "tortured legal history" of whether or not the practice, scraping away mountaintops to get to the coal below, is a violation of the federal Clean Water Act. It mentions the recently introduced legislation in the House of Representatives, sponsored by a "bipartisan group of 119 members," that would essentially stop the practice. It concluded with, "Mr. Obama promised to find better ways of mining coal 'than simply blowing the tops off mountains.' The time to do so is now."

 

Finally, on the pop-culture front, the Academy Award-winning Coen Brothers have produced a 30-second ad spearing the industry's "clean coal" campaigns. Expect the campaign to grow and spread, as smart organizing and commitment in the coalfields combine with growing national outrage and hope for change.


A Future that Challenges Power and Builds Leadership

In 2008, Hispanics in Philanthropy granted Young Women Uniteda three-year grant to build a sustainability plan. To facilitate this process, Spirit in Motion (a project of the Movement Strategy Center) was selected, in part due to its model that supports a balanced approach to creating sustainable organizational cultures which reflect the world it is trying to shape. YWU's goal is to make an organizational shift that challenges state power, and builds leadership among young women of color equipped with strategies and tactics that move with the spirit, love, and determination needed to improve the health and healing of their communities.


In the winter edition of West Virginia FREE's newsletter, FreeSpeaks, the honorable Delegate Carrie Webster, Chair of the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee and one of the few pro-choice legislators in the state, gives a supportive shout out on behalf of the organization. The impetus to this courageous call for support of WVFREE was the fear that state legislators would nonetheless cave to pressure from anti-choice groups and vote to ban Medicaid funding of abortion services. Although the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled that the ban unconstitutionally discriminates against the poor, it could conceivably be reversed if (and when) challenged.

 

As a result of a partnership with Advocates for Youth, its West Virginia Emergency Contraception Initiative has reason to celebrate some important accomplishments. It surveyed nearly 200 young people in the state about their knowledge of emergency contraception (EC); distributed over 6,000 brochures on college campuses and to family planning clinics; interviewed staff and administrators on six college campuses about gaps in EC access; conducted three focus groups to assess teen attitudes about pregnancy, birth control and EC; and trained 40 pharmacists about EC.


Back in December 2008, in commemoration of International AIDS Day, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and Catholics for Choice launched a first-ever Condom4Life radio ad campaign. The two Spanish-language ads took on myths about condom use in Catholic and Latino communities, and highlighted the importance of condom use. Using the core message "Good Catholics Use Condoms," the campaign presents a positive message to sexually active Catholics about responsibility and caring for others.

 

 

When Univision Radio refused to run the ads on three of their New York City stations, both organizations asked its members and supporters to get involved. An impressive number of emails were sent to Gary Stone, President and Chief Operations Officer of Univision Radio, based in Miami, FL, with a strong message opposing its censorship as unacceptable and supporting messages that are key to keeping the Latino community safe. A number of blogs were also posted about this issue, further spreading the action. The great news is that Univision listened and the ads were launched. These ads will also be run in Miami this Spring. Once again, collaborative efforts along with technology prove to be a winning combo!


Advancing Climate Justice: Transforming the Economy, Public Health and Our Environment

 

Hosted by WE ACT for Environmental Justice at Fordham Law School's Pope Auditorium in New York City in January over 400 scientists, government officials, educators, students and community activists gathered for the first time to discuss the impacts of climate change on communities of color and low-income communities, and to develop strategies for addressing those impacts. Representative Charlie Rangel, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, addressed the conference and challenged community groups to use their collective power to push for change from the bottom up. "The most important thing is for us to provide resources to grassroots organizations," he said.

 

The new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, made the conference her first public appearance. As the first African American head of the EPA, Ms. Jackson said she had chosen to speak at the event out of a personal kinship. WEACT, together with allies from around the country, presented a position paper it hopes will inform policymakers when deciding on climate change legislation, and used the conference as an opportunity to connect various sectors of the social justice movement.


 

New Yorkers Demand Participation in Decision-Making Process

In February, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality and Right to the City Alliance led an action at the Future of New York business summit that included CEO's of major corporations and real estate developers, and interrupted Mayor Bloomberg's keynote speech to demand the inclusion of all New Yorkers in decisions that affect their lives. The action included over 100 people from community-based organizations, including FUREE, Mothers on the Move, Community Voices Heard, Picture the Homeless, FIERCE, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, New York City Aids Housing Network and the Urban Justice Center. They received a huge amount of media attention, and the following day the Right to the City Alliance organized a press conference and solidarity work to support eight friends who were arrested after their protest.


Organizing for Community-Led Economic Development

On December 5th, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality premiered its documentary, Some Place Like Home, a film that contributes to reframing the debate on community development in Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn in New York City.

 

Some Place Like Home tells the stories of the community residents and small businesses displaced by high-end retail and luxury condominiums. It depicts the changes that are taking place in Downtown Brooklyn, and the resurgence of Fort Greene, a neighborhood built from the ground up by generations of low-income and working families from all walks of life.

Small business owners that have helped to make the area the third largest retail district in New York City talk about the deferment of their dreams as entrepreneurs. It reveals practices and policies used to support massive real estate projects as the historical, economic and cultural fabric of the area is torn apart. It follows the battle of community residents and small businesses as they fight for some place like home.

 

Friends of FUREE are hosting screenings throughout New York City as a way to get the message out to a broader audience and spark dialogue on accountable development, and how to make this movement even stronger.

 

SSBx Green Collar Job Training Program is BEST

In February, the Sustainable South Bronx green collar job training program was featured in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recent publication, Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure: Green Jobs Training: A Catalog of Training Opportunities for Green Infrastructure Technologies. The Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training, or BEST as the training program is called, links environmental clean-up and restoration to residents' career development and economic needs.

 

The South Bronx, particularly the Hunts Point neighborhood, identified as the poorest Congressional district in the nation, is saturated with toxic emissions due to processing facilities that handle 40 percent of New York City's (NYC) commercial waste; a sewage plant that processes 60 percent of the city's sewage sludge; and the world's largest wholesale food distribution site that generates 11,000 diesel truck trips daily. These environmental burdens are compounded by the fact that Hunts Point and its surrounding areas have fewer open spaces and trees than almost any other community in the city. BEST addresses these issues and, after five years as a pilot program, in 2008 it ran its first formal training. The program format consists of three, ten-week sessions and enrolls 20 trainees at every session. To date, 82 percent of the pilot phase graduates are now working, and 70 percent of those jobs are in the field of environmental stewardship.


Oakland's Bubble Ordinance

ACCESS/Women's Health Rights Coalition, along with a broad-based coalition of East Bay organizations and individuals advocated for safe and easy access to reproductive health care clinics in Oakland. Together the coalition was involved with the drafting of the Bubble Ordinance and advocating for its passage in 2007. This ordinance created a barrier of protection for women entering any reproductive health care facility in Oakland by prohibiting anti-choice protesters from approaching within eight feet of a person entering or leaving a clinic, and from standing within a 100 foot parameter of the entrance of a clinic.

 

In February, Walter Hoye became the first person to be convicted of violating this ordinance.


Noyes In Action

 

What the Staff's Been Saying and Doing

 

Vic De Luca, Noyes President, and Ann Wiener, Noyes board member and granddaughter of Charles Noyes, expressed their views on diversity in print and video. More Seats at the Table, written by Vic and Ann, was the lead article in the monograph, Diversity & Inclusion: Lessons from the Field, which was jointly published by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the Council on Foundation. And, as reported above, Ann and Vic were featured in a ten-minute video interview on the Council on Foundation's website, under the Diversity page, "Storytelling" feature.

 

 

In November, Vic was a session moderator on health care reform at the annual meeting of the Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights. He also was the keynote speaker at the December conference of the Maine Philanthropy Center, entitle Go Local: Farms, Food and Philanthropy. And in March, Vic was a panelist at the Financial Times' Sustainable Business, Responsible Investing Conference. He spoke about green and mission based investments.

 

Also in November, two Noyes board members, Leslie Lowe and Bruce Kahn, represented the Foundation on panels at the conference: Aligning Strong Values with Strong Returns; Mission-Related Investing and Climate Change.

 

Kolu Zigbi, Program Officer for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, co-authored an article for the Whole Thinking Journal, published by the Center for Whole Communities. The article is a manifesto, which grew out of a 2008 retreat, sponsored by the Noyes and Kellogg foundations, to discuss establishing a set of common values on which disparate and related food system issues can rest.

 

Kolu is also serving as co-chair of the annual forum of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders. The forum will be held in North Carolina in June.

 

Wilma Montanez, Program Officer for Reproductive Rights, served on the planning committee for the April, Washington, DC, briefing of the Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights.

 

In March, Wilma participated in a two-day funders' tour in the Central Valley region of California, Sowing Change – A Funder's Tour to Cultivate a Healthier Central Valley, which provided two dozen participants with an opportunity to meet diverse, grassroots, community-based organizations engaged in innovative endeavors and social change. As Wilma reported, "Driving the long distances to meet these inspirational and passionate community activists was a powerful way to experience the complexity and magnitude of fighting to change environmental and reproductive problems." Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farmworkers Association and president of her foundation, walked the group through some of her old stomping grounds, telling stories of the early days with Cesar Chavez. The tour was sponsored by a host of California foundations and two national funder affinity groups.

 

Millie Buchanan, Program Officer for Toxics and Environmental Justice, is serving as a mentor for a Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Fellow. She has also been busy with the Funders Network on Trade and Globalization, engaged in planning of critical meetings of funders and activists.


Related News

Managing in Hard Times

 

The Environmental Support Center and Institute for Conservation Leadership have put together a free publication with best practices and tools for managers of environmental and conservation nonprofits in our challenging economic times. Learn how to track your finances, recognize danger signals, assess your options, and make tough decisions fairly with the best interests of the organization in mind. Workbook tools include step-by-step instructions to assess your financial situation, sample contingency budgets, and more.


Millions of Dollars in Federal Funds Rejected In Favor of Comprehensive Sex Education

In late February, the Pittsburgh school board dropped the district's abstinence-only sex-education curriculum for one that also discusses contraception and alternative lifestyles. One board member voted no, saying the district hadn't done an adequate job of soliciting input from clergy and the public. Others voted for the policy because they felt students were "desperate" for correct information.

 

About a year ago, parents circulated a petition demanding the district abandon the abstinence-only approach in favor of "comprehensive" sex education. A public meeting was held and widely supported by parents and students. Iowa recently became the 17th state to opt out of federal funding for abstinence-only education. Other states that fall into this category are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


Senate Restores Affordable Contraception for Community Health Centers and College Clinics

The Senate recently passed the $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill, originally passed by the House of Representatives a few weeks earlier. Included in this bill is a provision known as the "Affordable Birth Control Act," making birth control more available and affordable for women to obtain at community health centers and college clinics. During the Bush administration, access to affordable contraceptives was increasingly difficult due to both politics and cost. In 2005, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act that tightened eligibility for nominally priced drugs. This was a cleaver, but vicious, maneuver used by the Right to chip away at the reproductive rights of young and low-income women who depend on subsidized clinics for reproductive health services.


 

Excerpted from Briefing by Pamela Miller, a Biologist and

ACAT's Executive Director, to the Obama Transition Team in Washington, DC, December 10, 2008

 

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), signed in 2001, is a global, legally binding treaty designed to phase out twelve toxic chemicals that pose the greatest threat to human health and the environment. The Convention includes provisions for the addition of other POPs chemicals. Under the Bush Administration, the U.S. signed but failed to ratify this important treaty. The U.S. has an opportunity to join the international community of now more than 160 nations that have ratified the POPs Convention. In May, the fourth Conference of the Parties will convene to decide about the addition of nine chemicals that pose threats to global health and the environment. Sadly, the U.S. government will be a mere observer to a treaty we helped to create.

 

During the negotiation of the Stockholm Convention and now at all of the meetings, a statue of an Inuit mother cradling her infant stands at the front of the room. The statue, presented by the Inuit Circumpolar Conference during the negotiation of the Treaty, reminds the delegates of their moral obligations to protect the health of the peoples of the Arctic and vulnerable people around the world. Indeed, governments were especially motivated to come together to negotiate the treaty when scientists found that Arctic Indigenous peoples are among the most highly exposed people to POPs chemicals in the world.

 

U.S. leadership is critical to the success of international efforts to eliminate the world's most dangerous substances. Attempts to ratify the POPs Treaty under the Bush Administration failed. Many of the groups represented here today are eager to work with the Obama Administration and the new Congress to enact legislation that reflects the precautionary spirit and scientific rigor of the Convention and enable swift action by the U.S. on POPs chemicals.

 

In addition to ratifying the Stockholm Convention, the United States can contribute its scientific expertise and other resources to help developing countries phaseout POPs in favor of safer alternatives. This will not only restore U.S. credibility but help safeguard the environmental health of millions of Americans.


Environmental Injustice Has a Global Dimension
by Miho Kim, Data Center

 

 

 

In our environmental justice community and beyond, the expression "Belly of the Beast" typically refers to the vast battleground of our various social justice struggles right here on the grounds of the territory we know as the United States of America. For me, a third generation zainichi woman from apartheid Japan, this word sinks in most intimately for my own community back home inside Japan. I first came across this powerful analogy when I met the residents of Cancer Alley, the Arctic Circle, SouthWest Organizing Project and Southwest Workers Union among others, who had traveled far from home to speak out on their experiences of environmental injustice at the UN Climate Conference in The Hague in 2000.

 

These people's testimonies taught me that in the US, historical colonial power relations, racist prejudice, and economic rationale of corporations with governments beholden to big money were prominent systemic forces shaping the tragic environmental burdens imposed on the shoulders of these most vulnerable people. I was profoundly moved by, and felt an undeniable personal connection to the environmental justice movement not just as a person of color, but explicitly as a zainichi woman. I couldn't help but notice manifestations of this 'environmental racism' that communities of color inside the US were suffering in my own community.

 

My people, the zainichi Koreans, are descendants of mostly poor, peasant Koreans who ended up in Japan as a result of Japanese colonial occupation of the Korean peninsula which ended in 1945, and to this day remain unrecognized formally as permanent residents of Japan and have nowhere else to call home.

 

Incinerators are located in the middle of poor zainichi, Okinawan, and Buraku (the people of "untouchable" caste in Japan) communities, high-voltage industrial power lines traverse their rice fields, pot-marked streets, and shoddy homes, all the while the busy highway buzzed and fumed with heavy trucks all day and night right in their backyard. Forced displacement for development is rampant in these communities. Utoro, a zainichi community in Kyoto, lacked even the basic municipal infrastructure like water until well into the '80s. Zainichi ghettoes house hazardous and industrial waste and scraps - many of my elders dealt scraps to meek out a living where the sunshine never reached them all day.

 

Okinawa, which comprises less than 1 percent of Japan's land mass, houses 75 percent of the US military bases and facilities in Japan alone. The Ainu, whose indigenous way of life is inseparable from the habitats of salmon and bears, find their rivers dammed and forests cleared to make way for Japan's industrial development and Japanese frontier expansion into their territory. The Buraku people historically were prohibited from living in municipal boundaries, as they were considered "extremely filthy." The Buraku villages therefore occupied the riverfronts and "lower places" where in monsoon season the flooding would occur first and foremost and where carcasses would be dumped - and it would be their job to clean them up. Today, it is said that Japan houses a nuclear facility every 100 kilometres in the country. Many, if not most of them are located in poor Buraku communities. In recent years, Japan has opened up its labor market to foreign migrants, and many are made to live in deplorable conditions, most linguistically and culturally isolated, and diseases and effects of toxic contamination proliferate.

 

These poor, oppressed minority communities have little or no voice in the policy making decisions that make them pay dearly for the negative environmental impacts of the country's economic and industrial activities that profit the Japanese elite. In the case of our zainichi community, we have none, as we are legally barred from political participation on grounds that we are - even after three generations - 'aliens' on Japanese soil.

 

Environmental racism, or the very reality of racism, is a long way from being formally recognized in Japanese society. It is my hope that increasing solidarity with Japanese allies such as the Yayori Award Committee and the U.S. environmental justice movement will help effectively address the root causes of environmental racism in Japan and replication of our historical and current conditions in communities throughout the world.