The Detroit City Council Green Task Force will recognize 20 local businesses and residents who are bold thinkers and innovative leaders in changing the green landscape of Detroit on Earth Day, April 21. Awardees, from each City Council District, include Detroiters actively involved in community gardening, recycling, and sustainable living initiatives and a business bringing energy efficient solutions to buildings in Detroit.
The awards will be presented at a brunch at 10 a.m. at the IBEW Local 58, 1358 Abbott, Detroit, MI 48226. The event is by invitation only.
“I am proud to recognize the hard work and efforts of our sustainable community who are working creatively and collectively to make Detroit the greenest city in the country,” said Councilman Scott Benson, chair of the City Council’s Green Task Force.
The event features guest speaker Guy Williams from Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice and Cliff Woodards II as master of ceremonies.
The Green Task Force will also recognize 3 middle school children who won a poster contest. The children drawings will be on D-DOT buses and 3 billboards around Detroit.
Deborah LaViolette (District 1)
Deborah is a volunteer extraordinaire with the Rosedale Park Improvement Association. Deborah is also a proud owner of a Rain Garden to the Rescue rain garden. She has helped others install their rain gardens and is a strong advocate for the protection of the Great Lakes.
David Okorom (District 2)
David Okorom is a sophomore at Renaissance High School and president of the Green Team. The Green Team’s main goal is to spread awareness about how important it is to be “green” and already has a fair planned for this year. In addition to its garden on campus, the Green Team hosted a fashion show where students created clothing designs from recyclable products last year.
David is personally committed to an online campaign to recycle precious plastics and creating a machine that supports this type of recycling.
Virginia A. Spalding (District 3)
Ms. Spalding is a lifelong Detroiter and former first vice president of the Krainz Woods neighborhood organization established in 1947. Virginia is a strong advocate of recycling, and has made a difference by reaching out to hundreds of citizens throughout the city to help them receive a recycling bin. Virginia believes everybody wins with recycling because it conserves energy; trash that is not recycled will hurt the environment in some way; and recycling is something everybody should to be doing.
Mose Primus (District 4)
Mose Primus is credited with building two parks in a blighted area for community use. Four Angels Garden on King Richard & Kensington was built completely from recycled materials (trees, tires, concrete chunks) including the seats. It is now a beautiful vegetable and flower garden!
Rev. Joan Ross, Solar Neighbors of Detroit LLC (District 5)
Rev. Ross has championed sustainability across several community projects. Examples include installing rain gardens and solar yard lights in the North End. In the past few months, she formed a new enterprise called Solar Neighbors of Detroit LLC, which has a goal of bringing solar to 1,000 homes in Detroit.
Jorge Flores (District 6)
Jorge has taken on several initiatives to help protect the environment and promote a sustainable Detroit. Specifically, Jorge has helped with the installation of his own and others’ rain gardens through the Rain Garden to the Rescue program. He also has volunteered to help others at workshops to assemble their rain barrels, all for the purpose of protecting water quality in the Great Lakes watershed.
Barb Matney (District 7)
She purchased a couple of vacant lots in the community and started a community garden and a pocket park. She plans to start an orchard this year.
In addition, business awardees include Detroit Dirt, Detroit LISC, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and IBEW. Community leaders receiving awards are Gloria Rivera, Kayana Sessoms, Michelle Jackson, Todd Scott, Rev. Faith Fowler, Yvonne Willis, and Jerry Hebron.
Taylor is a high school senior and volunteers with the Sierra Club Great Lakes Chapter. She is interested in a career in the environmental field, and has regularly participated in Green Task Force meetings since 2016 and serves on the water subcommittee.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Donele Wilkins – Green Door Initiative
Donele has been a leader in environmental justice for more than 20 years. She helped establish one of the city’s first green jobs training programs (still in operation today), and works to expose vulnerable and at-risk youth to career paths in the environmental realm. She was instrumental in advocating for State adoption of environmental justice policies, and ensuring meaningful citizen engagement on important brownfield redevelopment and environmental projects across the region. She has helped put environmental sustainability and justice on many decision-making agendas and continues to serve Detroit through her work with Green Door Initiative.
The Premier Sponsors for this event include: Green for Life Environmental USA Inc.; Detroit Department of Public Works, Greening of Detroit, Detroit City Council Green Taskforce and Councilman Scott Benson.