Monday, December 11, 2006

In Remembrance of Damu Smith and Dana Alston

The environmental justice movement will never be the same without Damu Smith, left, and Dana Alston, right. These two powerful activists spoke truth to power and worked tirelessly for social and environmental justice. Dana was 47 years old when she died in 1999. Damu was 54 years old when he died in 2006.

Damu Smith knew everybody in the environmental justice movement and everybody in the movement knew and admired Damu. Damu loved to speak and was a great speaker. He loved helping low-income and other disadvantaged people. Damu fought for years to protect people in Cancer Alley in Louisiana from additional pollution. He founded and ran Black Voices for Peace and the National Black Environmental Justice Network. Damu Smith died on May 5, 2006 of colon cancer. His beloved daughter, Asha Moore Smith, lives in Washington, DC.

Dana Alston received a Bannerman Fellowship in 1992 in recognition of her leadership in the development of the environmental justice movement. The Bannerman Fellowship Program was founded in 1987 on the belief that the most effective approach to achieving progressive social change is by organizing low-income people at the grassroots level. In 2002, the Fellowship Program was renamed the Alston/Bannerman Fellowship Program in honor of Dana Alston. Dana died on August 7, 1999 at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Dana was a native of New York and lived in Washington, D.C. She was in San Francisco for treatment of kidney disease and consequences of a stroke when she died. Her beloved son, Khalil Alston-Cobb, resides in Washington, D.C.

No comments: