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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Environment & Forest Defense
Judge Cynthia Gomez, Amy D. Kyle, Ph.D. and Mikayla Torres Honored
Celebrating Humanitarians, Environmental Victories, & Future Actions to Protect the Planet!
Los Angeles, CA.-In historic downtown Los Angeles, at the beautiful California Endowment, California Safe Schools (CSS) http://www.calisafe,org a children’s environmental health and justice coalition recognized internationally for their leadership in creating groundbreaking environmental health policies and programs for schools and communities hosted “Your Life is Now”, an environmental health summit .
The more than two hundred attendees included political and environmental leaders, regulatory agencies, school district administrators, teachers, community members, environmental justice organizations and more than one hundred California k-12 public school children.
Participants came from as far away as Canada, to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of California Safe Schools, and honor the life of Pearl August, a CSS Advisory Boardmember, international humanitarian, and former Director of the Volvo for Life Awards, who passed away suddenly last year.
“Peal August was a magnificent human being with a generous spirit whose heartfelt efforts spanned the globe. We were honored to be able to celebrate Pearl’s life, and recognize three phenomenal individuals who exemplify her work and vision", said Executive Director of CSS, Robina Suwol, who produced the event.
The program began with Carlos Reynosa, revered master of flute and song, performing with his special collection of Native American, handcrafted flutes. He captured the imagination of the diverse audience, especially the children who were mesmerized by his musical offering of peace, hope, and healing.
Pearl August Humanitarian Honorees:
Judge Cynthia Gomez - Governor Jerry Brown’s Tribal Advisor and Native American Heritage Commission Executive Secretary. She advises Governor Brown and Cabinet colleagues on topics related to Tribal governments and the implementation of effective government-to-government consultation between the Governor’s Administration and California Tribes on policies that affect California Tribal communities. Tribal Advisor Gomez serves as a direct link between the Tribes and the Governor of the State of California and facilitates communication and consultations between the Office of the Governor, the Tribes, state agencies, and agency tribal liaisons. Tribal Advisor Gomez also reviews state legislation and regulations affecting Tribes and makes recommendations on these proposals.
Tribal Advisor Gomez has more than 30 years advocating on behalf of Tribal people and other sensitive populations.
Prior her appointment within the Governor’s Office, Judge Gomez served as Chief Justice of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians’ Tribal Court since 2010, and was the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Assistant Secretary of Environmental Justice and Tribal Governmental Policy from 2008 to 2010, were she facilitated the progress of Agency Secretary’s finalization and adoption of the first in the state agency-level tribal communications policy.
Judge Gomez earned a juris doctorate degree at the University of Northern California’s Lorenzo Patiño School of Law.
Amy D Kyle, Ph. D. - Dr. Kyle spent her formative years engaged in policy change to improve environmental quality and public health and retains a primary interest in public policy. She has a broad background in environmental health research and practice and is on the faculty of the School of Public Health at the University of California Berkeley in Environmental Health Sciences.
Dr. Kyle is affiliated with the Superfund Research Program at Berkeley, the Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment, and research groups on Environmental Public Health Tracking at the University of California Berkeley. She works with many community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, executive and legislative agencies, and academic partners to promote policy that better protects public health.
Professor Kyle has served in senior positions in environmental protection at the state level, working on a wide range of environmental, health, and natural resources issues.
Her MPH (Masters of Public Health) and her doctorate in environmental health sciences and policy are from the University of California, Berkeley and BA in environmental sciences is from Harvard College.
Professor Kyle’s work is at the intersection of science, policy, and civic engagement, and recently organized the first-ever symposium on cumulative impacts and children’s environmental health in cooperation with the State of California.
Mikayla Torres- Ms. Torres is a 12th grade Honor Roll student at Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School in Boyle Heights, She is the Senior Class President, recipient of the Los Angeles City Writing Competition (9th grade) , and has perfect attendance(1st grade-present).
When not volunteering at the local library or hospital, participating in journalism classes, or playing Varsity Soccer and Softball, she coaches Soccer for Special Needs Children (AYSO Organization) and Softball for students ages 4-8.
Mikayla plans to attend college majoring in political science and minor in world affairs and environmental studies. After graduating she intend to enter law school with the goal of working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ,an agency that assists developing countries in implementing environmental policies and practices.
The crowd listened intently and responded enthusiastically to the eloquent and inspiring acceptance speeches by the honorees.
Informative presentations by California Safe Schools Advisory Boardmembers John Fentis, Dr. Joe Lyou, and Dr. Cathie Ann Lippman resonated with the audience. Featured presentations by celebrated Jane Williams of California Communities Against Toxics, and Warren Porter, Ph.D. Professor of Zoology & Environmental Toxicity at the University of Wisconsin were also exceptionally well received.
The event concluded with a private luncheon surrounded by the native gardens, and bustling discussions of actions that can immediately be taken to improve health and the environment.
“California Safe Schools, guided by Robina Suwol once again created a venue for children and those on the forefront of children's health protection advocacy. The event highlighted honorees that have worked to make this world a better place for our children's children. The dedication of those Robina brings together completely energizes us to continue to speak truth to power”, said Cynthia Babich, Executive Director the Del Amo Action Committee, and the Los Angeles Environmental Justice Network.
“Your Life is Now” sponsors include: Southern California Edison, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, South Coast Air Quality Management District, The California Wellness Foundation, The California Endowment, Galpin Motors, Lundberg Family Farms, Wyland, Whole Foods, Nu Color Printing, and The Lippman Center for Optimal Health.
Gloria Simosky, a Los Angeles Unified School District teacher added, “This was an event that students will never forget! The event proved to students that you are never too young to make a difference in your community, and that we all have a responsibility to our environment. Truly a day to remember.”
For further information:
California Safe Schools
email: calisafe [at] earthlink.net