Jane Bagley Lehman Award: Previous Winners

2014: Excellence in Public Advocacy

The Advisory Board of the Jane Bagley Lehman Awards, housed at Tides, proudly recognizes the following 2014 JBL Award recipients. The 2014 awardees are working diligently to expand access, equity and opportunity in education. They have organized and mobilized educational resources or personnel to affect policy or education systems and will be honored with a $10,000 cash prize each.

Aurea Montes-Rodriguez Community Coalition, Los Angeles, CA.
A tireless activist, community organizer and public policy advocate with a passion for strategic education action campaigns and developing homegrown leadership and empowerment among South LA youth.

Dana Mortenson World Savvy, Minneapolis, MN.
A social entrepreneur and champion for education reform who is preparing students to thrive as global citizens in the 21st century through her dedication to making global competence education a foundational part of teaching and learning in the United States.

Edgar Aranda-Yonoc Legal Aid Justice Center and Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, Arlington, VA.
A leader in mobilizing immigrant communities in Virginia, coordinating state-wide actions, and removing barriers to educational equity for undocumented immigrant students.

Yasmin Secada Participatory Action Research Center for Education Organizing, New York, NY.
An education justice organizer who is working to structurally increase education access by catalyzing community stakeholders to impact policy around equity and diversity in Uptown Manhattan, NY.

2011-2012: Catalyzing Community Action in the Gulf

Brenda Dardar-Robichaux
Brenda is deeply connected to the Houma tribe and has made their survival her life’s work. Brenda began working for the Title VII Indian Education of the Lafourche Parish School Board in 1976.She began serving on the Tribal Council of the United Houma Nation in 1992. In 1997, she was elected Principal Chief of the 17,000 member nation. She continued to serve in this position until term limits required she relinquish the position in 2010 after having served for 13 years.

Marylee Orr
Marylee is a founding member of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network/LEAN and has served as its Executive Director for the past 26 years. Marylee currently serves on several state and federal committees involving both EPA Region VI and LDEQ. Over the years, Marylee has been featured in numerous publications, including the Family Circle Magazine, the Baton Rouge Business Report, and The Baton Rouge Advocate. She is the recipient of the OMB Watch Public Interest Hall of Fame award.

2009: Immigration Reform Advocates

These JBL Awards recipients have tirelessly advocated and organized for comprehensive immigration reform, worked to counter anti-immigrant policies and groups, and helped grassroots voices shape and influence the immigration debate at the national level.

Jose Artemio Arreola
A community leader and labor activist, Arreola currently manages the “Reform Immigration for America” campaign in Illinois and is Political Director for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. A founders of the Federation of Michoacán’s Clubs in Illinois, and of Casa Michoacán, he was also the co-founder and main organizer of the March 10th Movement that brought more than 500,000 people to the streets of Chicago for the historic immigration demonstration and he supported efforts to organize the largest immigration rally in Los Angeles’s history on March 25, 2006. Arreola also helped to re-establish May Day as a workers day by organizing marches in more than 100 cities across the U.S and, as a union labor activist at Service Employees International Union (SEIU), has participated in numerous labor contracts negotiations.

Salvador (Sal) Reza
Coordinator of Tonatierra Macehualli Day Labor Project, Reza works closely with migratory workers and their families on the human rights issues of employment, entrepreneurship and education. Working with the National Day Labor Organizing Project, Reza was instrumental in bringing about the investigation of human rights violations committed by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies. The campaign culminated in a congressional hearing and an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department on racial profiling and civil rights violations by Sheriff Arpaio. Reza presented testimony on the abuses to the UN Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination in Geneva in 2008 and also helped found Centro Macehualli, a nationally recognized day labor center managed by the laborers. He also supported taco venders in Phoenix to create Union Pochteca and negotiate successfully with the city to protect their right to work. Reza teaches ESL classes at Tonatierra and is a weekly columnist for Prensa Hispana. He has received numerous local and national commendations including the Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World Award.

Angelica Salas
Angelica Salas is the executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a membership organization of immigrant rights organizations, low wage immigrant workers and immigrant youth. She is a national leader fighting for legalization with a path to citizenship, family reunification, and the protection of civil and labor rights. She is also a founding member of the Fair Immigrant Rights Movement and Reform Immigration for America Campaign. She has played a leadership role in the formation of statewide and local multi-sector coalitions working on immigration issues and workers rights. Among her accomplishments, Angelica helped win in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant students and established day laborer job centers that have served as a model for the entire country. She also led the effort to allow all California drivers to obtain licenses and is a leading spokesperson on federal immigration policy. Salas was also a speaker at Tides’ Momentum 2008 Conference and the video of her presentation, can be viewed here.

2008: Safe Energy Advocates Engaging Anti-Nuclear Efforts

In 2008, the JBL Awards focused on safe energy advocates engaged in any aspect of anti-nuclear work: organizing to halt nuclear energy production and to call attention to its abuses and dangers; providing grassroots and/or indigenous communities and activists with the information and analysis they need to wage effective campaigns; and reframing public perception of the issue.

Glenn Carroll
Through a unique mix of art and activism, Glenn Carroll has fought to stop nuclear proliferation for over two decades. After the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, Glenn joined ‘Georgians Against Nuclear Energy’, (now Nuclear Watch South) where she has contributed graphics and illustrations to educate the public about nuclear issues, testified at public hearings and led legal interventions at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 1988. Glenn’s multi-faceted approach to the nuclear problem reached critical mass when she presented a painting exhibit on nuclear energy and environmental issues at Georgia Tech and undertook a legal intervention opposing the reactor on its downtown Atlanta campus. After raising the issue during the 1996 Olympics, a clear victory was obtained when Georgia Tech elected to permanently shut the reactor in 1997. Glenn has also served on the Board of the Campaign for a Prosperous Georgia, and as President of the Georgia Environmental Council.

Paul Gunter
An activist and energy policy analyst, Paul Gunter has been an ardent critic of atomic power development for over thirty years. He is a lead spokesman on nuclear reactor hazards and security issues, and a prominent regulatory watchdog over the nuclear power industry. In 1976, he co-founded the antinuclear Clamshell Alliance which opposed the construction of the Seabrook atomic power plant on the New Hampshire seacoast through non-violent direct action, and marked the country’s first opposition movement to nuclear power. Before joining the ‘Beyond Nuclear’ program at the Nuclear Policy Institute, Paul served for 16 years as director of the Reactor Watchdog Project with Nuclear Information and Resource.

Arjun Makhijani
A recognized authority on energy and nuclear issues, Arjun Makhijani is the principal author of the first study of energy efficiency potential of the U.S. economy, and of the book: Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy (2007), the first study to show that it is technically and economically feasible to phase out fossil fuels and nuclear power, and a rallying point for groups advocating against a resurgence of nuclear power. Arjun was named a Ploughshares Hero in 2006 for his work in nuclear armament, and last year, he was elected a Fellow of the American Physical society. He has testified before Congress, consulted for numerous organizations, and appeared on local and national media, including 60 minutes, All Things Considered, and CBS and ABC Evening News. Arjun is currently the President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.

2006/2007: Rebuilding Communities, Restoring the Environment in the Gulf Coast

In 2006/2007, the JBL Awards focused on recognizing individuals who were integral to the rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast, in the devastating aftermath left by Hurricane Katrina. The need for public infrastructure systems, a social safety-net, environmental monitoring and toxic clean-up–and the crucial element of civic participation to achieve these goals–were some of the issues which these awardees incorporated into their work. The awards were expanded to include seven activists; a total of $21,000 went to seven Gulf Coast activists, advocates, and organizers; each was awarded $3,000 in recognition of their deep commitment to the public interest and the innovative approach of their work towards social change.

Victoria Cintra
Victoria Cintra was born in Cuba and migrated to the United States when she was eight years old. She is currently the Gulf Coast outreach organizer for the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA), an organization that provides assistance and advocacy for immigrant workers across the state. Since Katrina, Victoria has spoken forcefully and articulately on the struggle for justice for the thousands of immigrant workers who have come to rebuild the Gulf Coast. She has become a forceful immigrant advocate with FEMA, the Red Cross, private contractors and state and local governments. Victoria has been integral in identifying health hazard issues impacting immigrant workers, disparities between ethnic groups, discriminatory practices by both government and non government agencies and testifying before international commissions.

Derrick Evans
Derrick Evans is a sixth-generation native of Turkey Creek, a Mississippi Gulf Coast community settled by freed slaves in 1866. Derrick founded Turkey Creek Community Initiatives to promote sustainable local development that is both environmentally and culturally sensitive. After Katrina, Derrick maxed out credit cards and loaded up a U-Haul truck with $20,000 worth of water, gas and other supplies to build a volunteer camp in Turkey Creek. Since the storm, he has been a tireless organizer and advocate for the needs and rights of coastal communities. Derrick was also one of the founding organizers of the Steps Coalition, a collaboration of groups fighting for fair and equal justice in the allocation of resources in rebuilding South Mississippi.

Tanya Harris
Tanya Harris was born and raised in New Orleans. Her family is deeply rooted in the Lower Ninth Ward and have been members of ACORN for over 23 years. Tanya is currently the head organizer for New Orleans ACORN and since Katrina she has been working tirelessly to organize displaced residents from New Orleans and assist them in rebuilding their lives and communities. Tanya has organized and recruited thousands of volunteers to help gut homes all across the city, saved thousands of homes from being seized by the city as public nuisance without due process, stopped land grab bills at the state legislature, and won certified water for the entire city.

Rev. Jennifer Jones-Bridgett
A native of Baton Rouge, LA, Reverend Jennifer Jones-Bridgett is an ordained Baptist Minister and presently the executive director of PICO Louisiana InterFaiths Together (LIFT). She believes that justice is not just a matter of putting the right policies in place or involving the community in a planning process, it means ensuring that families have the power to also define the agenda and control the future of the Gulf Coast. It means equipping historically marginalized residents to organize themselves for power. Reverend Jones-Bridgett strongly believes in community building across lines of race, class and denomination.

Malik Rahim
Malik Rahim, a veteran community organizer, was raised in New Orleans and has been fighting for racial, economic and environmental justice for the last thirty years. In 1970, he co-founded the Louisiana chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and the platform of the BPP has remained his guiding principles. Malik co-founded the Common Ground Collective with Sharon Johnson and Scott Crow on September 5, 2005, only days after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, Common Ground has been working to deliver services and resources to the most marginalized communities in the Greater New Orleans area. Common Ground has initiated 15 program areas that have served over half a million people in the areas of medical care, legal assistance and advocacy, food and water distribution, roof tarping, house gutting, toxic remediation, children’s programs, a women’s center and much more.

Anne Rolfes
Anne Rolfes grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana and is the founding executive director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Since the hurricanes, the major focus of her work has been to help organize the local communities affected by the storms so that they can make informed choices regarding their health and safety. She teaches community members sampling techniques to measure toxic sediments on their homesites located in the footprint of the Murphy Oil Spill and the Katrina disaster. Anne’s current project is planning a gathering called “Fenceline Neighbor Power Conference.” This conference will bring together dispersed communities facing similar environmental problems to talk and work more collaboratively together.

Father Vien thé Ngyuen
Father Vien thé Nguyen is the pastor of Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church in East New Orleans. He has been integrally involved in the struggle and rebuilding of Versailles in New Orleans East, home to one of the largest concentration’s of Vietnamese Americans in the United States. Since saving lives during the storm, he has become known throughout the city and has grown to prominence in the fight and eventual win against the Chef Menteur landfill in New Orleans East. Father Ngyuen is deeply committed to working to ensure that communities have a strong voice in determining public policies that invest in effective government systems which truly serve people.

2004: Celebrating Excellence in Environmental Journalism

In 2004, the JBL Awards recognized journalists who positively impacted public perception of environmental issues, and impacted policymaking in the U.S. “This year’s recipients continue the legacy of Jane Bagley Lehman through their lasting contributions to public awareness and the understanding of environmental issues,” said Idelisse Malave, Tides Foundation.

Chip Giller
Five years after its launch, Grist Magazine reaches more than a quarter of a million people through its website and news emails and millions more through partnerships with media including MSNBC.com and Salon.com. With Grist, founder and editor Chip Giller created an e-zine that speaks to a broad, growing audience that relies on the Internet for their main source of information. While half of Grist’s readers say they are members of environmental groups, the other half are those not otherwise engaged in the environmental movement. Grist often pairs its new stories with opportunities for readers to take action. An example is Grist’s first-to-the-punch coverage on efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to dilute the meaning of the national “organic” label. This spring, Grist was the first to report on a USDA plan that would have severely weakened the standards. One day after the story appeared, Grist partners, Working Assets and RedJellyfish.com, cited the story and began circulating electronic action alerts to hundreds of thousands of people. The USDA was beset with calls and emails expressing disapproval of the plan, and less than two weeks after the Grist story ran, the USDA bowed to public pressure and withdrew its proposal.

Amanda Griscom Little
Grist writer Amanda Griscom Little writes a twice-weekly Muckraker column that Salon.com picked up for weekly syndication to its 3 million readers. For nearly two years, Griscom Little has tracked the Bush Administration’s environmental policies, Beltway shenanigans, and the people behind them. For the past year she has also been publishing a monthly interview in Grist with political leaders and environmental luminaries to bring a broad range of high-profile perspectives to the environmental discussion in an engaging, accessible way that will motivate mainstream audiences. Interviewees have included John Kerry, Howard Dean, Robert Redford, Bobby Kennedy Jr., Jim Jeffords, Joe Lieberman, John Mackey (CEO of Whole Foods), as well as U.S. Department of Interior officials Lynn Scarlett and Craig Manson. Recently picked up by MSNBC.com for syndication, her interviews will now reach 10 million readers per month.

Colin Woodard
One of the few journalists specializing in overseas reporting on the environment, Woodard produces thoughtful, firsthand coverage from places that are often difficult to travel to, like the collapsing ice shelves of the Antarctic, the low-lying atolls of Micronesia, the vanishing jungles of northern Guatemala, and the abandoned chemical plants of southern Albania. Most of Woodard’s work focuses on issues of national or global consequence, like marine pollution, climate change, or the development of alternative energy technologies. His articles have been cited widely in scientific and public policy papers, reports, books, and speeches, and reprinted in syndication by publications around the world. His book “Ocean’s End,” a critically acclaimed account of the crisis in the world’s oceans, has been translated into Chinese and has influenced the recommendations of the Pew Oceans Commission and the United States Oceans Commission. His reports on new ocean management technologies helped prompt collaboration between federal, state, and provincial authorities in the U.S. and Canada. His pieces on the legacy of U.S. atomic testing in the Marshall Islands helped the people of Bikini Atoll receive compensation from Washington and may one day allow them to return to their contaminated island. His second book, “The Lobster Coast,” has raised public awareness of the value of common property regimes in the management of natural resources like Maine lobster or Caribbean coral reefs. His reporting on Dutch and Danish innovations in recycling, wind power, and industrial ecology have been picked up by newspapers around the world, and in the publications of Worldwatch and the Earth Policy Institute. As a result of his writing, Colin has been invited to speak at numerous conferences around the country, including the inaugural meeting of the Pew Oceans Commission.