Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, a non-profit organization that serves the San Joaquin and Coachella valleys, is a proud recipient of a 2020 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award. The James Irvine Foundation formally announced the award recipients in February, and the California State Senate conducted a special floor ceremony for the winners.
“This recognition is yet another testament to the power of hundreds of community leaders in inland California,” said Veronica Garibay, co-executive director and co-founder of Leadership Counsel. “We are thankful for the privilege to work alongside fearless residents, an unapologetic and talented team, and partner organizations to fight for a more healthy and just California. ”
“We share this recognition with our team and the community leaders at the forefront of our efforts. During a recent tour in Fresno County, a community leader who is fighting for safe drinking water and affordable transit, said to us, ‘no estariamos aqui sin ustedes’ (we wouldn’t be this far without you), and I responded, ‘y ni seriamos sin ustedes’ (and we wouldn’t even be without you),” said Phoebe Seaton, co-executive director and co-founder of Leadership Counsel.
In 2013, Garibay and Seaton launched Leadership Counsel to partner with residents to ensure rural and inland California communities have opportunities to influence the policy and resource decisions affecting their lives. Access to safe and affordable drinking water, sewer systems, clean air, affordable housing, public transportation, sidewalks, street lights and parks remains out of reach for hundreds of neighborhoods while second-rate jobs in polluting industries remain the preferred economic development solution for these regions. This neglect calls for Leadership Counsel to partner with communities to create healthy and thriving neighborhoods for all.
For more than a decade, the Leadership Awards have recognized and supported leaders advancing innovative and effective solutions to critical issues facing California. The foundation hosted a formal awards ceremony in Sacramento to honor all the Leadership Award recipients.