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Rodrigo Tot Guatemala Maya Q’eqchi Goldman Prize Human Rights & Environmental Justice Activist

En español . . . An indigenous leader in Guatemala’s Agua Caliente, Rodrigo Tot led his community to a landmark court decision that ordered the government to issue land titles to the Q’eqchi people and kept environmentally destructive nickel mining from expanding into his community.

Rodrigo Tot, un líder aborigen de Agua Caliente, Guatemala, guio a su comunidad a una decisión judicial que sentó un precedente histórico, la cual ordenó al gobierno que emitiera títulos de propiedad para el pueblo Q’eqchi y evitó que la destructiva minería de níquel se expandiera a su comunidad.

An indigenous Q’eqchi leader, Rodrigo Tot, 59, was born in central Guatemala just as the mining boom of the 60s was underway. . . .

Tot found legal support with the US-based Indian Law Resource Center (ILRC) and Defensoria Q’eqchi, a small human rights organization in Guatemala. The team spent years preparing its case to establish the community’s legal claims to the land, including a geographical study of Agua Caliente and the land’s chain of ownership. As one of the few people of Agua Caliente who spoke Spanish, Tot translated all the details of the proceedings for the community, organized meetings to help gather evidence, and fielded questions from villagers.

On February 8, 2011, two years after the community of Agua Caliente filed its lawsuit, the Constitutional Court issued a landmark decision. Recognizing the Q’eqchi’s collective property rights, the court ordered the government to replace the missing pages from the registry and issue land titles to the people of Agua Caliente. The ruling came as a surprise to environmental and indigenous activists around the world who were well aware of corruption in Guatemala’s legal system and had been skeptical of the court’s ability to see how egregious these violations had been.

The victory has come at an enormous personal cost for Tot. In 2012, two of his sons were on a bus to Guatemala City when they were shot in what appeared to be a staged robbery. One of them died, and the other survived with grave injuries. . . .

The case has been escalated to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and is currently being reviewed under an expedited status.

Read the complete story about Rodrigo Tot on the Goldman Prize website . . .

Latin America is the most dangerous region for environmental and human rights activists, with more than 570 murdered between 2010 and 2015, according to the London-based group Global Witness.

Why is this park here? Community Agitation Grand Opening LA State Historic Park Cornfield April 22, 2017 10 am #EarthDay #EarthJusticeDay

“This brought tears to my eyes. I spent the first 10 years of my career representing community groups and building diverse coalitions, filing lawsuits, speaking at public hearings, advocating passionately, and working behind the scenes during political negotiations to make this park happen. We set forth the historical significance of this site we activists called “the Cornfield” to the diverse people of LA in the policy reports I helped research and write. The struggle for equal access to parks and related environmental and social justice concerns rage on. I know the story of the last 16 years and I am proud to have played a role with Robert García and The City Project, which I helped found.” Erica Flores Baltodano, civil rights advocate

Los Angeles State Historic Park Grand Opening 2017.  More to come in the oral history . . .

Field of Dreams: The Cornfield Throughout Los Angeles History KCET

Grand Opening Robert Garcia of The City Project . . . organized a civil rights challenge under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial or ethnic discrimination in federally funded programs. They filed this complaint with HUD, which was providing loan guarantees to Majestic and helping pay for environmental cleanup.

Garcia argued that the fight for the Cornfield was part of the historic struggle for low-income people of color in Los Angeles to find livable communities with parks, playgrounds, schools, and recreation. Garcia cited the eviction of Latinos from Chavez Ravine to build Dodger Stadium and the relocation of Chinese families to make way for Union Station as examples of communities of color dislocated in the name of larger development goals. The Cornfield was not only a matter of environmental importance, but a matter of social justice.

Much of Majestic’s business plan depended on that support from HUD.

[HUD Secretary] Andrew Cuomo responded with alacrity, appointing a team to visit the Cornfield to assess the situation. Then, in a September 2000 Los Angeles visit, he announced that the $12 million package would not be released for the River Station without a full EIR.

Garcia lauds the victory — “This kicked off the green justice movement in Los Angeles,” he says — but laments the speed (or lack thereof) in development. “It’s been 17 years and that’s a long time in a life of a child without access to a park.”

The Grand Opening for L.A. State Historic Park is April 22, 2017, at 10 am.

Los Angeles State Historic Interim Park 2006

Read the complete KCET article.

Keeping the DREAM Alive – Hammer Museum 4/26

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 || 7:30PM
Billy Wilder Theater, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Click here to learn more about “Keeping the DREAM Alive” at the Hammer Museum.

Los Angeles Business Council 11th Annual Sustainability Summit – Getty Center April 28

Register now for LABC’s 11th Annual Sustainability Summit!

Click here to register and see the list of confirmed panelists.

Ana’s Hummingbird. Breakfast.

My mother’s name in spelling.

Bears Ears Nat’l Monument Solidarity & Resistance w/ Tribal Commission Respect All Cultures #Next100Coalition

The Next 100 Coalition, a diverse coalition of civil rights, environmental justice, conservation, religious and community organizations, urges this administration to uphold the Bears Ears National Monument. It is the only U.S. national monument with a primary focus on the spiritual, historical, and natural heritage of Indigenous peoples.

Next 100 celebrates the Bears Ears National Monument’s significance “not only to tribes, but to all nations and people. The Next 100 Coalition recognizes Indigenous peoples’ leadership as effective, central and necessary to the proper stewardship of U.S. land and waters. The establishment of Bears Ears National Monument and the Bears Ears Commission is an important step forward in implementing a new public lands vision and leadership model that prioritizes respect to our nation’s first Indigenous peoples.”

Click here to read the full letter.

The Next 100 Coalition advocates for greater inclusion of diverse communities in our country’s national parks and other public lands and waters. Robert García serves on the Steering Committee for the Next 100 Coalition.

#Next100Coalition #StandWithBearsEars #Monuments4All #KeepItPublic #HonorTheTribes

African American Explorations
Luke Miguel Argleben, Student Advocate
Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council
Children & Nature Network
CLLARO (Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, and Research Organization)
Conservation Lands Foundation
Diverse Environmental Leaders
Environmental Learning for Kids
Dr. Carolyn Finney, Cultural Geographer
Freedom Riders Park
Greening Youth Foundation
HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors)
Hispanic Access Foundation
Hispanic Federation
Japanese American Citizens League
Brenda Kyle, Community Advocate
Latino Coalition for a Healthy California
Latino Outdoors
LULAC National Office
National Urban League
New Mexico Voices for Children
Outdoor Afro
Outside Las Vegas Foundation
Por La Creación Faith Based Alliance
Rural Coalition
Soul River Inc. – Runs Wild
The City Project
The Dignitas Agency
The Joy Trip Project
The Praxis Project
The Trail Posse
Valle del Sol
Vet Voice Foundation
Voces Verdes
Voto Latino

William Coleman Civil Rights Giant

I had the honor to work or meet with members of the LDF team who won Brown v Board of Education in the US Supreme Court. William Coleman. Jack Greenberg. Constance Baker Marshall. Robert Carter. Giants who walked the earth and changed our world. We join our LDF family in celebrating Mr. Coleman’s life and work. Robert García, former LDF attorney.

Latinos r personally affected by climate change, support curbs & vote green #LatinoHealth #DefendClimate #peoplesclimate


Community Based Solutions for Health Equity Charles Drew U Medicine & Science Nat’l Public Health Week Robert García Asst Prof Natl Academies

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity

The Report at a Glance

  • Report Highlights (PDF)
  • Comic book (PDF) by Samuel Garcia and Take Action Comics
  • Recommendations (PDF)
  • Committee’s Conceptual Model (PDF)
  • Social Media Toolkit (HTML)
  • Press-Release (HTML)