East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice info@eycej.org 323.263.2113

Planting Seeds of Change


Ending 2013 on a strong note, East Yard hosted its annual year-end brunch at Tamayo Restaurant in East Los Angeles on December 14, 2013. Planting Seeds of Change is an opportunity to celebrate our victories and recognize members and allies for their continuous support. This year we had the honor of awarding the Emerging Leader Award to Maria Tafoya, the Margarita Holguin Award to Evelyn Knight, and the Ally Award to the Liberty Hill Foundation.

Emerging Leader Award Recipient: Maria Tafoya

The Emerging Leader Award goes to someone who is passionate and dedicated to environmental justice issues in their community. This is someone who takes initiative and has the ability to activate other community members.

With a baby granddaughter by her side, Maria Tafoya has inspired us by being a fierce advocate in the I-710/Community Alternative 7 campaign. In 2013, she participated in the SB 811 Press Conference and traveled to advocate for SB 811 in Sacramento. She also organized support for the Green Zones campaign in Commerce.

“When my grandchildren look back to these years, I want to be able to tell them that I did something about this pollution.” – Maria Tafoya

Margarita Holguin Award Recipient: Evelyn Knight

This award was named in honor of Margarita Holguin, an EYCEJ member who passed away due to cancer. She raised her family in Commerce and was one of the first people to support EYCEJ by become a member. Even thought she became ill, Margarita continued to speak on behalf of her community at local, regional, and state public hearings and meetings.

This year’s recipient, Evelyn Knight, has been committed to her community of Long Beach for many years. She has been a strong leader in the NO SCIG campaign. In 2013, Evelyn participated in various meetings regarding the SCIG and also participated in the SCIG Hunger Strike.

Ally Award Recipient: Liberty Hill Foundation

This award goes to an ally who goes above and beyond to support, collaborate, or partner with EYCEJ, in fighting for environmental justice.

Liberty Hill’s relationship with EYCEJ has grown and strengthened over the span of 11 years. In collaboration with Liberty Hill, EYCEJ has been able to continue base building, movement building, and affecting policy change. Thanks to Liberty Hill, our Steering Committee was able to participate in the Wally Marks Institute, which has given our Steering Committee the necessary tools to become EYCEJ’s official Board of Directors.