Honorees | Sponsors | Support
This year's honorees:
Senator Barbara Boxer
Byron Sher Lifetime Achievement Award
A forceful advocate for families, children, consumers, the environment, and her State of California, Barbara Boxer became a United States Senator in January 1993 after 10 years of service in the House of Representatives and six years on the Marin County Board of Supervisors. In November 2010, she was reelected to her fourth term in the Senate.
Senator Boxer has won numerous awards for her efforts to create a cleaner, healthier environment and for her dedicated work to address the threats of climate change. She has fought to remove arsenic from drinking water and authored an amendment ensuring that drinking water standards protect children. She has led efforts in Congress to protect California’s coast from offshore oil drilling and fought to end the unethical use of human subjects in pesticide testing by federal agencies.
To ensure that future generations of Californians will be able to enjoy our natural heritage, Senator Boxer has written laws designating more than 1 million acres of California wilderness. She wrote the Senate bill that elevated Pinnacles National Monument into America’s 59th National Park. She helped champion the creation of the Fort Ord National Monument and César Chávez National Monument, as well as efforts to expand the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. She also authored the California Missions Preservation Act to protect and restore California’s 21 historic missions, and led the effort in the Senate to create the Manzanar National Historic Site.
A leader in efforts to improve America’s infrastructure, she secured passage of the Water Resources Development Act, which authorized $1.3 billion for 54 flood control, ecosystem restoration, and navigation projects in California. The bill had languished for six years until she led the fight to pass it and override a veto by President George W. Bush.
Senator Boxer is also a champion of quality public education, children’s toy safety, airline passengers’ rights, improved services for soldiers and their families, a woman’s right to choose, life-saving medical research, and an equitable and revitalized economy, among many issues.
Dolores Clara Fernández Huerta is a renowned labor leader and civil rights activist who was the co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW). Dolores Huerta has broken down many barriers and has received numerous awards and honors. In 2012, President Obama bestowed Dolores with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
At 86, Dolores Huerta continues to work tirelessly developing leaders and advocating for the working poor, women, and children. As founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF), she travels across the country engaging in campaigns, influencing legislation that supports equality and defends civil rights, and speaking to students and organizations about social justice and public policy.
Health and the environment are intrinsically linked, and the grassroots groups that work with DHF have identified these issues as among their top priorities. DHF works to create healthy environments where people can live, work, and play by training community residents to advocate for parks, public transportation, infrastructure improvements, the reduction of pesticide use, increased recreational opportunities, and culturally relevant services. DHF partners with environmental organizations and agencies to educate residents on environmental hazards and safe green alternatives. Since 2009, DHF has been an active member of the South Kern Building Healthy Communities initiative. Vecinos Unidos (“United Neighbors,” a DHF program) and the DHF Youth Leadership Group organize neighborhood cleanups. Dolores is also a leading voice in California advocating for the statewide plastic bag ban, which will face a referendum on the November ballot.
While serving in the leadership of the Stockton Community Service Organization (CSO), Dolores founded the Agricultural Workers Association, set up voter registration drives, and pressed local governments for barrio improvements. In 1962, Dolores and ésar E. Chávez founded the National Farm Workers Association. Her accomplishments there included securing Aid For Dependent Families and disability insurance for California farm workers in 1963. She was also instrumental in the enactment of California’s landmark Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, which established farm workers’ right to collective bargaining.
Silicon Valley Leadership Group
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is a public policy business trade organization. Since its founding in 1977 by HP co-founder David Packard, the Leadership Group has played an important role in shaping Silicon Valley and in crafting regional, state, and federal solutions to improve the area’s economy.
The Leadership Group represents more than 400 of Silicon Valley’s most respected employers on issues, programs, and campaigns that affect the economic health and quality of life in Silicon Valley, including energy, transportation, education, housing, health care, tax policies, economic vitality, and the environment. Collectively, Leadership Group members provide nearly one of every three private sector jobs in Silicon Valley; they contribute more than $3 trillion to the worldwide economy.
The Leadership Group’s top environmental priorities are corporate sustainability, water infrastructure, and climate change. They helped strengthen state renewable energy policy by advocating to lift the cap on the number of households that can sell energy back from rooftop solar panels, and make the 33% target for the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard a floor.
The Leadership Group also led the successful coalition effort to restore $4M annually to affordable housing in the County of Santa Clara, in addition to a $14M one-time allocation in 2013. In addition, they led the successful ballot measure campaign to fund a 16-mile Santa Clara County BART extension from Fremont to San Jose.
Vien Truong leads Green For All, a national initiative to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.
Vien previously led the Greenlining Institute’s Environmental Equity team in creating solutions for poverty and pollution at the state legislature, California Public Utilities Commission, and in localities around the state. Under her leadership, her team created state programs and policies around the country to direct billions of dollars in funding and resources to the communities most vulnerable to climate change.
Vien helped pass SB 535, which directs one quarter of California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to disadvantaged communities. In 2014, she co-led the Charge Ahead Initiative, California’s nationally recognized program to accelerate the transformation to electric vehicles and create clean transportation choices for low income and working families. She also led the team’s strategy and efforts to create the California Climate Credit, develop strong workforce standards for the energy efficiency sector, and create sustainable communities throughout California.
Prior to joining Greenlining, she led Green For All’s state policy and workforce development efforts. Vien was an Associate Attorney for the New Business Practicum at UC Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law. She has worked with California Senator Joe Simitian, clerked with Chief Magistrate James Larson, and was the Community Economic Justice Law Fellow at UC Berkeley’s East Bay Community Law Center. Vien is a Board Member for the U.S. Climate Action Network. She holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.
Vien has received congressional, state, regional, and local awards for her work on behalf of low-income communities and communities of color. These include the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Top Women Leaders,” Urban Habitat’s “Movement Builder,” and Oxfam America’s “Act Local, Think Global” Awards. Vien has served on the City of Oakland’s Planning Commission, helping guide the growth and development of her hometown.
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