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African American Environmental Pioneer Awards 2021

February 23, 2021  |  Topics: Events

In recognition of Black History Month, the African American Environmental Pioneer Awards is in its second year recognizing those in Milwaukee’s African American community working for a better environment. The award ceremony was held on February 22 at 5 Points Art Gallery + Studios, broadcast online due to COVID‐19.

Pioneering Harlem poet Dahveed Nelson was the featured speaker. Nelson is a member of the Last Poets and credited for work that led to the emergence of hip‐hop. Steven Hunter, a veteran of Milwaukee Public Theater was the emcee for the program. Drummer and performance artist Jahmés Finlayson provided musical interludes.

In addition to honoring seven “Pioneers,”this year’s intergenerational awards also recognized six young “Rising Stars.”

Congratulations  to these honorees:

Pioneer Awards

August Ball, Cream City Conservation Corps.

Robert Brox, Community Gardener
Richard Diaz, Coalition on Lead Emergency

Michelle Dowl, Groundwork Milwaukee

Aureal Ojeda, Outwoken Tea
Sherry Terrell Webb, Groundwork Milwaukee

Dr Sylvia Wilson, Teens Grow Greens

Rising Star Awards

Dynasty Ceasar, City of MKE Environmental Collaboration Office

Teonna Cooksey, Architectural Designer, Urban Planner

Erin Eregbu, Horticulturist & Landscape Designer

Sierra Taliaferro, Naturalist, Outdoor Leader

Martina Patterson, Youth Educator, Nearby Nature

Wilniesha Smith, Reflo, Administrative Coordinator

The group has adopted the call “Asase Ye Duru” represented by an Ashanti Adinkra symbol meaning “The Earth has Weight”, symbolizing the providence and divinity of Mother Earth.

A livestream recording of the event can be viewed by clicking here.

The following individuals were responsible for organizing this event:

Terry Evans, Urban Ecology Center – Washington Park
Cassandra Flagg, Green & Healthy Communities LLC
Steven Hunter, Nearby Nature Milwaukee

Yvonne McCaskill, Triangle Neighborhood Association
Martina Patterson, Nearby Nature Milwaukee
David Thomas, Nearby Nature Milwaukee / Sierra Club Great Waters Group



Program graphics created by graphic artist Nigeria Riggins