Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation Bestows Alnoba Moral Courage Leadership Award on Patricia Gualinga
KENSINGTON, N.H., Sept. 30, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Indigenous rights defender fights destruction of the Amazon Rainforest
The Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation announced that the 2021 recipient of the Alnoba Moral Courage in Leadership Award is Patricia Gualinga, President, Fundacion Tiam in Ecuador.
One of the Alnoba Environmental Leadership Awards, the Alnoba Moral Courage in Leadership Award is presented to a visionary leader whose body of work, vision, passion and personal example have made a meaningful and measurable difference.
Patricia Gualinga is a Kichwa de Sarayaku leader who faces threats to protect the Ecuadorian Amazon from oil extraction and the destruction of the rainforest.
“Patricia exhibits the moral courage and willingness to go the distance to help save our planet,” said Harriet and Alan E. Lewis, Co-Founders of Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation. “Her courage inspires us and we stand with Patricia to demand justice. We are deeply indebted to her vital contribution and leadership around Indigenous rights and the protection of this Earth we share.”
Patricia has worked for decades as a vital, internationally-recognized voice against oil extraction and destruction of the Amazon Rainforest. Patricia is an Indigenous rights defender of the Pueblo Kichwa de Sarayaku (Kichwa People of Sarayaku), an Indigenous community in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Without their consent, communities in her area only learned that their land had been opened for oil exploration when strange helicopters arrived, followed by ‘men with guns.’ In 2012, Patricia was one of the representatives in a case presented to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in which the government was found guilty of rights violations and of authorizing oil exploration and militarization of Sarayaku lands without consulting the community. It was an all too rare victory for Indigenous tribes.
Patricia describes recent times as “apocalyptic” for her village of 1350 people. The confluence of a massive oil spill, the pandemic and historical flooding have devastated her community. Yet despite everything, she persists and still holds hope because as she says, “there is so much to protect.”
Along with being the president of Fundacion Tiam, Patricia is also actively involved with Women Defenders of the Amazon against Extraction and REPAM (Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network). As with so many Indigenous leaders, her work is dangerous and Patricia has suffered attacks, threats and harassment.
“We’re not just fighting to stop the threats to my life, the threat to my home, the threat to my community,” said Gualinga. “We’re fighting to protect your children, who have just as much right to clean air as we do. We are fighting for your oxygen, for the future of your planet. We’re fighting for your wellbeing.”
Harriet and Alan Lewis launched the Alnoba Environmental Leadership Awards in 2018 to honor brave and brilliant leaders whose courage, wisdom or potential inspire us to act more boldly for environmental justice. A new series of awards for Gender Equity Leadership was launched in 2021, the first award being the Alnoba Moment of Truth Award. In 2007, in partnership with the Boston Business Journal, the Lewises established the CEO Social Leadership Award to recognize a CEO in greater Boston who exemplifies corporate citizenship.
Each award includes a $10,000 donation in the recipient’s name to the nonprofit of their choice.
The awards will be presented at the Alnoba Environmental Leadership Awards Dinner on October 13, 2021 in partnership with ReVision Energy, UNH Sustainability Institute, Citizens Count, Conservation Law Foundation and other leading environmental nonprofits.
About Alnoba Lewis Foundation
The Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation has pledged or donated more than $200 million since 1981. The Foundation transforms people’s lives and builds strong communities by empowering young people, developing courageous leaders and creating strong alliances with key strategic partners to help save the earth we share. The organization’s work is focused on the Lewis family’s hometowns of Boston, MA and Kensington, NH and within the global villages where their company, Grand Circle Corporation, travels.
Ann Shannon, Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation, 617-346-6649, [email protected]
SOURCE Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation
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