Clean Air Hero Award – Shabaka Heru
It is our honor to present this month’s Clean Air Hero Award to Shabaka Heru
This month we wish to posthumously recognize a true hero in the fight for environmental justice: Shabaka Heru.
As founder of both the Community Coalition for Change and the Society for Positive Actions, Shabaka was a champion for our most vulnerable and polluted communities and a protector of our air. His passion and understanding of environmental justice issues in his South Los Angeles community gave him the upper hand when dealing with elected officials, regulatory agencies, and polluting industries.
Among his many successes:
• He protected a school for disabled children from a high polluting foam manufacturing facility located just a few feet from the school;
• He played a pivotal role in shutting down a hazardous waste facility that shared a fence with his neighbors;
• He led a campaign to cleanup a highly contaminated park and low-income residential housing facility.
When asked about Shabaka, California Communities Against Toxics Executive Director Jane Williams said
He was tireless, dedicated, thoughtful, and a fierce defender of some of the most highly impacted communities in the state. His steady hand and insightful advocacy at the cataclysmic intersection of pollution, racism, and poverty will be missed mightily”. Those who were fortunate enough to know Shabaka can easily say that the residual imprint of his life can be felt by countless individuals throughout California.
The impact of his more than 20 years of work on environmental justice campaigns cannot be overstated. While he is no longer with us, the light from Shabaka will shine for many years to come. His compassion, enthusiasm and dedication have set the gold standard for what we should all strive for. Shabaka reminded us that protecting our environment ultimately saves lives and propels new generations into a brighter future. He chose to dedicate his life to fighting for environmental justice, and the world is a better place for it.
Shabaka passed away on March 12th. He will be missed, but not forgotten. Thank you Shabaka, for all you did to make our world a better place.