United Workers Youth Leader Receives Goldman Environmental Prize

The Goldman Environmental Foundation today announced the six recipients of the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activists. Awarded annually to environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions, the Goldman Prize recognizes fearless grassroots activists for significant achievements in protecting the environment and their communities. Baltimore youth leader, Destiny Watford, is one of the six global winners, for her work to spearhead efforts to stop the nation’s largest trash burning incinerator from being built less than a mile from her public high school in Curtis Bay.

The winners will be awarded the Prize at an invitation-only ceremony today at 5:30 p.m. at the San Francisco Opera House (this event will be live streamed online at www.goldmanprize.org/ceremony). A ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. will follow on Wednesday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Watford began organizing four years ago as part of Free Your Voice, a human rights committee of United Workers. At the time she was a high school student at Benjamin Franklin High School less than a mile from the incinerator site. Last year she helped to persuade nearly two dozen municipalities and school boards including Baltimore City Public Schools to end their support for the incinerator. Most recently Watford and other students and community leaders won a major victory when the Maryland Department of Environment terminated the permit for the project after months of public pressure by residents.

“The world is watching Baltimore and the injustice that we face. After the tragic death of Freddie Gray and the unrest that followed, serious questions about structural racism and  economic inequality, are rightfully being asked. My community has responded to this deep inquiry by fighting to stop the incinerator and demand community control of land. I am proud to serve as a representative of Free Your Voice, my city, and state as we continue to build a movement to change our city and nation towards environmental justice, truly green living-wage jobs, and affordable housing, to ensure that our basic human rights to live in a healthy, sustainable community are met.”

Call to Action

#1. FMC, Free the Land!

Now that Maryland state officials enforced the law and terminated the incinerator's permit - it's time to move forward with the community driven plan to develop a community owned solar farm. In order to do so, we all need to join together and call upon the CEO of FMC Corporation Pierre R Brondeau to release 90 acres of land being held by the trash burning incinerator company in order to make way for a community owned solar farm. Join in the call now!  

# 2. End Public Subsidies for Trash Incinerators!

To ensure that our precious public resources don't continue going to support toxic incinerator developments, we also need to call upon the EPA and Maryland state government to stop subsidizing trash incinerators! Join in the call now! 

#3. Support Development without Displacement!

Finally, help sustain grassroots efforts led by people directly impacted by environmental injustice. Donate to support the grassroots campaign in Baltimore calling for public investment in equitable and sustainable development. Click here to donate now!

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