April 23, 2022
On April 21, Sierra Club leaders presented LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn with the Sierra Club’s Environmental Service Award. The award was given in the summer of 2021, but the in-person delivery was rescheduled for the day before Earth Day, due to COVID virus restrictions..
In attendance were Supervisor Hahn, Sierra Club national board member Meghan Sahli-Wells, Angeles Chapter Director Morgan Goodwin, Angeles Executive Committee member Marcia Hanscom, and chapter leaders Wendy-Sue Rosen, David Warren and Anna Christensen. (Pictured above)
Supervisor Hahn served 10 years on the Los Angeles City Council before she was elected to Congress (2011-2016).
As Supervisor she has led the Board of Supervisors in seeking a methane gas storage facility at the Ballona Wetlands in Playa del Rey to be shut down. She has pulled back on a massive redevelopment effort at Mariners Village in Marina del Rey that was not only highly unpopular, but would have removed more than 1,000 trees, some of which provide a nesting rookery for the Great Blue Heron.
Supervisor Hahn has supported Redondo Beach in making progress toward the revitalization of land that is being recovered after an aging power plant is to be shut down – to include park and wetland areas, as well as a community-driven plan. And she has championed community efforts to remove toxic chemicals from an oil refinery in Torrance while serving on the Air Quality Management District.
In addition to these many accomplishments, the Environmental Service Award was given to specifically uplift her work to correct a racial injustice on the Southern California coast in Manhattan Beach.
100 years ago, Bruce’s Beach was one of the very few places on the southern California coast where Black people were allowed to go to the beach. Charles and Willa Bruce were able to purchase the property where they served Blacks with food and entertainment by the sea for more than a decade. However, in 1924, the City of Manhattan Beach – provoked by Ku Klux Klan harassment – invoked eminent domain and paid what was then fair market value to purchase the Bruce’s Beach properties. In other words, they were run out of town.
The injustice that Supervisor Hahn is attempting to correct is that – had the Bruce family continued to own this land, they would have had generational wealth in their family – something missing from many Black families because of racial injustice over decades.
Supervisor Hahn’s statement in the Los Angeles Times succinctly sums up the issue: “I’m going to do whatever I can to right this wrong,”.
Bruce’s beach is the story of an injustice at the intersection of access to nature and racial discrimination, and Supervisor Janice Hahn is working to correct that. For this she deserves this Environmental Service Award, ” wrote the Sierra Club in a press release..
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