For Immediate Release, December 8, 2021
Kassie Siegel, Center for Biological Diversity, (951) 961-7972, firstname.lastname@example.org
John Beard Jr. Honored With Rose Braz Award for Bold Activism
2021 Award Goes to Texas Gulf Coast Environmental Justice Leader
PORT ARTHUR, Texas— The Center for Biological Diversity has awarded the 2021 “Rose Braz Award for Bold Activism” to John Beard Jr.
Beard is an environmental justice activist who has become a breakthrough frontline leader fighting fossil fuel development.
After working in the oil industry for 38 years, Beard turned to holding the industry accountable and became a community advocate in his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas. He founded the Port Arthur Community Action Network to fight for health and safety protections in an area teeming with refineries, export terminals, petrochemical plants — and cancer.
“John’s a leading example of how helping your community can really help the whole world,” said Kierán Suckling, the Center’s executive director. “By exposing environmental injustice in his lifelong home, he’s helping confront the climate crisis that threatens all life on Earth.”
In the past year Beard has emerged as an environmental justice leader on the national and world stage. He was one of the frontline leaders of October’s historic People Vs. Fossil Fuels week of action in Washington, which saw thousands demanding that President Biden stop approvals of fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency.
At last month’s U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, Beard brought a powerful voice from the frontlines to the world and engaged face-to-face with Biden administration officials, including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
“John’s able to put hard questions to power with heart and authenticity,” said Suckling. “That can be the difference between getting shut out and getting key issues on the table with decisionmakers.”
“It is with great appreciation that I accept this award, named in honor of a true stalwart in the struggle for environmental and social justice,” said Beard. “To be so recognized is a truly great honor, but it is also a challenge to work to make the world a safer, healthier and more just place for all of God’s creation, as did Rose Braz. This award, and this challenge, I humbly, willingly accept.”
The Rose Braz award consists of a handcrafted letterpress print by Roger Peet of Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative in Portland, Ore., and a $1,000 cash prize. The print depicts brown pelicans, a recovered endangered species and Braz’s favorite animal, symbolically breaking through a barrier wall.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.