Miami, FL - As the founder and CEO of the Big Blue & You Foundation, Inc. (www.thebigblueandyou.org), this 23-year-old has taken her lifelong passion for the Sea to new heights by serving as a leader in the South Florida community to inspire, educate and empower youth (K-12) to become better stewards of the natural environment through visual arts programs, media and community events. A recent graduate of the University of Miami (Double Major in Marine Science & Biology) and a world traveler, Danni Washington has dedicated her studies, her free time & creative energies to increasing general environmental consciousness and helping build a clean energy economy that will ultimately brighten the future of our global community.
Atlanta, GA - McNair Wagner graduated in the Spring of 2008 from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Marketing. While at Georgia State University McNair co-founded the student environmental group Sustainable Energy Tribe, the Atlanta Student environmental group Metro Atlanta Students For Sustainability and the environmental marketing company Earth Endeavors. McNair also has received several environmental awards including the National Recycling Coalition scholarship and the Atlanta Bioneer’s award. McNair enjoys being a part of the environmental community and believes that the this movement will unite people all over the world and resurrect the human spirit.
Ruston, LA - Tanesha L. Wade is originally from Oakland, CA and has been residing in northern Louisiana for the last four years. A recent graduate of Grambling State University with a Bachelor's of Arts in Sociology she has also obtained an Associate's of Arts in Human Development Services from the College of Alameda. Tanesha first made connections with Green For All staff in 2007 at the first ever national youth summit for climate change: PowerShift. Since, she has participated in The Dream Reborn conference in addition to being an attendant at the 2nd academy training held by Green For All. During a college internship at a local school in Louisiana, she introduced a pilot garden and growing project, which is currently being developed into a large garden of vegetables. She is motivated by the words "Be the Change" and tries to model the image through service.
Watts, CA - Adrian Veliz has been an active social justice and youth advocate since 1996. At 21, Adrian helped establish some of California's first needle exchange programs, working with injection drug users and their children. After moving to Los Angeles in 1999, he began working with local artists and musicians producing various events about local and international issues. He was the associate producer of, Divine Forces Radio, on 90.7FM, KPFK from 2000-2008, and is currently working for the Los Angeles Community Development Department, where he serves the community as a Cultural Arts Director, Business Development Specialist, and Probation Transitional counselor.
Miami, FL - Sandra moved to the United States from Lima, Peru in October of 2002. Back at home, she volunteered for Amnesty International and taught pre-k orphans victims of terrorism. She begun her post-secondary education studying History at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and completed her B.A at the University of Massachusetts Amherst majoring in Legal Studies and graduating with honors. Her undergraduate research thesis analyzed the structural and direct violence inflicted by gas corporative companies on indigenous communities in the US and in South America. After graduating, she spent a few months in Cambodia researching and creating education manuals on street law. She currently works as Field organizer for Democracia U.S.A. for the Miami area.
Washington, DC - Elizabeth J. Reynoso believes that social justice thrives because of healthy people and healthy environments. In 1994, Elizabeth began promoting human rights worldwide as a media liaison for Human Rights Watch. After the execution of Nigerian activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, she was inspired to tell stories of injustice to large audiences and pursued a career in documentary film with ABC News and PBS/Frontline. When she traveled to pursue her own film project on Basque political prisoners she became enamored of life as farm worker when she worked on community-supported agriculture farms and family-owned organic orchards throughout the Basque Country and Spain. Returning to the U.S. in 2003, Elizabeth focused on US drug policy and the reentry journey of former prisoners on film projects, which then led to her direct service work with families and communities beleaguered by the criminal justice system in Newark, NJ. From 2006-2010 Elizabeth worked with the NJ Institute for Social Justice where she created a green transitional jobs program for men and women returning home from prison. A package of prisoner reentry bills hailed as “a model for the nation” based on her on-the-ground work was passed by the NJ State Legislature in 2010. Elizabeth was a co-chair for the City of Newark's Green Futures Summit, a member of the Leadership Newark class of 2010. She currently resides in Washington, D.C. and is implementing a Pathways Out of Poverty green job-training grant in six cities nationwide with Goodwill Industries International.
New Market, TN - Anasa Troutman has spent her life growing into an artist, producer, strategist and activist-organizer, developing her personal mission to use arts, entertainment and mass media for issue awareness, social change and personal transformation. Anasa has served as a member of the National Coordinating Committee for the National Hip Hop Political Convention, as a member organizer for the Institute for Policy Study's Cities for Progress Program, as the Urban Marketing Strategist for the Dennis Kucinich campaign for the 2004 Democratic Presidential nomination, as Consulting Producer for the Young Peoples Project's "Finding Our Folk" Tour, and as an organizer with the Progressive Majority's Racial Justice Campaign. In all her work, Anasa uses arts and culture to create justice, opportunity and compassion.
Las Vegas, NV - Marco Rauda was born in San Salvador, El Salvador. He immigrated to Southern California in 1988. In 1995, Marco moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. Marco has been a local Las Vegas activist the past few years working on immigration and civic engagement issues in the Hispanic Community. In 2008 Marco helped organize the presidential caucus in Nevada which was the first caucus where the Hispanic Community had a chance to pick the presidential nominee. Hispanics were responsible for 18% of the electorate in the Nevada presidential caucus. Marco joined Democracia USA as their Nevada Coordinator in March of 2008.
Miami, FL - Joe Naroditsky is executive director and co-founder of Faiths United for Sustainable Energy (FUSE), a non-profit organization that works to educate and mobilize faith communities to act on the harmful effects of our society's dependence on fossil fuels. Joe's professional career has been dedicated to community development, serving as Director of Neighborhood Initiatives and Public Policy Coordinator for SCOPE in Sarasota, FL, as an evaluator for the HOPE VI federal housing program, and as a mentor for several local leadership development programs. Joe enjoyed a diverse upbringing, with the sights, sounds, and tastes of Spanish, Russian, Israeli, and Arab culture -- a childhood that molded his broad approach to understanding differences among people as a way to resolve conflict and build community.
Kansas City, KS - If Barack Obama hadn't already written the book, Richard Mabion might have called his memoir The Audacity of Hope. Here's a guy who lives in a neglected corridor of a struggling city in the poorest county in the state of Kansas. A guy who got inspired about economic and environmental activism by author David Korten but found so few people of color speaking at national conferences that he was compelled to detour into prickly territory: how progressive organizations aren't reaching out to minority communities. For months, as Mabion started to advocate for locally driven economic development in Kansas City, Kansas, he hit nothing but bureaucratic walls and deaf ears. But over the past year, Mabion has started to grease the wheels of change with his persistence and enthusiasm, whether it has been pushing for better restoration of the Quindaro slave-town ruins or throwing a neighborhood party such as the Quindaro Community Unity Festival. The group he created, Building a Sustainable Earth Community, has done the dirty work of discussing race and activism and also has connected like-minded people who have gone on to work together on projects, including an organic garden at Wyandotte High School. Mabion's audacity might have pissed some people off, but his doggedness has inspired hope in his long- suffering neighborhood.