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Prevention Institute E-Alert: October 20, 2016

Mujeres de la Tierra to honor Elva Yañez for her environmental justice and health equity advocacy 

Prevention Institute (PI) is proud to share that Elva Yañez will be receiving the “Luchadoras de la Madre Tierra” (Warrior for Mother Earth) award from Mujeres de la Tierra, a Los Angeles-area nonprofit focused on environmental equity. Mujeres de la Tierra inspires, motivates, and engages women and their children to take ownership and leadership of their neighborhood and local community issues.

The Luchadora award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated invaluable leadership, exhibiting resourcefulness, creativity, loyalty and humility. “Elva’s leadership and commitment has had a profound impact on La Madre Tierra both locally and statewide,” said Irma Muñoz, Executive Director of Mujeres de la Tierra. “She is a visionary whose courage and talents have resulted in having a reputation for being a trailblazer and champion of creating and saving green lands, open space and neighborhood parks.” Elva is sharing this year’s award with PI friend and colleague, Alina Bokde, executive director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust.

As PI’s Director of Health Equity, Elva brings leadership and commitment to achieving equitable health outcomes to communities across the country. Over the last decade, she has focused on the nexus of land use, environmental justice, and health equity, drawing upon her policy advocacy, technical assistance, and community organizing expertise and work in the fields of preventing alcohol-related problems and tobacco control. She is a founding member of the Healthy, Equitable and Active Land Use Network, a multi-sector collaborative working to improve health through land use decisions. Elva serves as a California state parks commissioner, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown. And on a national level, she contributed to the development of the production of an equity framework, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Achieving Health Equity team.

Highlights of the health equity and environmental justice policy victories that Elva is being recognized for include:

  • Increasing developer impact fees to fund the City of Los Angeles’ parks and recreation facilities, with a focus on expanding new revenue allocations to low-income, park deficient communities.
  • Addressing the overconcentration of polluting land uses in three LA communities through her advocacy for the Clean Up Green Up policy.
  • Helping secure the Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks and Beaches Protection park funding measure on the November ballot.
  • Protecting a portion of Elephant Hill, one of the last and largest undeveloped hillsides in Northeast Los Angeles, from a poorly planned residential development to create public access via a hiking trail.

While Elva is quick to acknowledge that her work is a reflection of successful strategic partnerships and multi-sector collaborations, her laser-focus on developing effective strategies makes her an invaluable contributor to health equity and environmental justice policy. “I’m very honored by Mujeres’ recognition of my work,” says Elva. “I am blessed to work with so many committed, talented advocates to reverse long-standing inequities, achieve justice, and improve health and well-being in communities throughout the U.S.”

Elva will be receiving the award at the Mujeres de la Tierra’s annual Dia de los Muertos celebration on Saturday, November 5, at the Los Angeles River Center. To learn more about Mujeres de la Tierra and find out how you can attend the awards ceremony, click here.

Four strategic opportunities to support healthy, equitable land use in Los Angeles and beyond

The Healthy, Equitable, and Active Land Use (HEALU) Network released Strategic Opportunities to Create a Healthy, Equitable Land Use System in Los Angeles, a recent policy brief that outlines a menu of strategies to produce health equity through the land use system.

Ensuring Healthy Development without Displacement

Last fall, the Healthy, Equitable, Active Land Use Network convened a summit of experts, community-based organizations and residents to explore how to promote healthy development without displacement. Learn more about the day’s takeaways here

Clean Up Green Up: A victory for environmental justice in Los Angeles, and a model for the nation

This past spring, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a groundbreaking policy to reduce pollution in a set of low-income neighborhoods that have historically been toxic “hot spots.” PI’s Manal Aboelata and Elva Yanez respond

PI op-ed on César Chávez

In an op-ed for New America Media, LA-based Director Elva Yañez describes how lessons she learned from César’s life translated into a career working to improve health equity.

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