For Immediate Release: July 13, 2016
Sacramento CA– Health, food and farming organizations across California came together at St. John’s Lutheran Church yesterday to celebrate their accomplishments over the past 20 years; working jointly with Californians for Pesticide Reform, this coalition has strengthened local and statewide pesticide use policies and has advanced cutting-edge, sustainable farming across the state.
This year, three awards were given out to individuals and organizations who demonstrated exceptional leadership:
The Organizational Leadership Award was jointly awarded to the California Teacher’s Association (CTA) and California Federation of Teachers (CFT). Co-Director Sarah Aird underlined, “CTA and CFT have propelled into a leadership role on behalf of California’s children, and today it is with gratitude and with great pleasure that we honor their tremendous commitment to protect all children wherever they live.”
The Legislative Champion Award was presented to former Senator Dean Florez and current California Air Resources board member who has been an influential figure in holding local authorities accountable when pesticide drift occurs. Throughout his career, Senator Florez has dedicated himself to improving the health and wellbeing of Central Valley residents. He has demonstrated a true capacity for social change by partnering with Teresa DeAnda, championing her work to protect communities from harmful pesticide exposure.
Lastly, the Teresa DeAnda Community Leader Award — recognizing a community member who has demonstrated exception leadership on pesticide issues — was presented for the first time. It was given to Tulare resident Domitila Lemus, a dedicated mother and grandmother whose concern about pesticide exposure prompted her to working closely with Irma Medellin, Founder of Quinto sol de America in Tulare County. For Domitilia language is not a barrier, and she has voiced her concerns at meeting with decision makers and local media. At the awards ceremony yesterday, her captivating storytelling awed the crown and concluded the ceremony with a sense of hope for a pesticide-free future.
The award was named in honor of Teresa DeAnda, who passed away last year. She was a powerful, inspiring community organizer who experienced the harms of pesticide exposure herself. Ater a major pesticide drift incident in her San Joaquin Valley community of Earlimart, Teresa and dedicated her life to the issue, first as a volunteer and later becoming a staff member for Californians for Pesticide Reform.
Californians for Pesticide Reform is a diverse, statewide coalition of over 190 member groups working to strengthen pesticide policies in California to protect public health and the environment. Member groups include public and children’s health advocates, clean air and water groups, health practitioners, environmental justice groups, labor, education, farmers and sustainable agriculture advocates from across the state.