Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), a 2013 Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award Winner, has given us yet another achievement to celebrate! Executive Director Kimberly Wasserman-Nieto was just awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, awarded each year to unsung grassroots heroes working to make their communities healthier, cleaner and more sustainable.
Wasserman-Nieto is a lifelong resident of Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, which sits next to two coal-fired power plants. The power plants have had grave effects on the health of the neighborhood–by one estimate, they have contributed to more than 3,000 deaths since they opened in 1924. When Wasserman-Nieto’s child was diagnosed with asthma as an infant, she knew she had to do something.
To mobilize her community into action, Wasserman-Nieto says she went “door-to-door with [her] child, talking with [neighbors’] families, talking to their parents, hearing their stories about what they went through, and how they had to miss work because they were having to stay home with their children. Taking those stories and building consciousness in our community was really key to this campaign.” Check out the video for the outcome of Little Village’s long campaign against the power plants, and their plans moving forward.
We congratulate Kimberly Wasserman-Nieto on winning the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, and we’re looking forward to honoring LVEJO at the 2013 Annual WhyHunger-Chapin Awards Dinner on June 3 in New York City.