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Susana Almanza Inducted Into Walk of Heroes

By Southwest Key on 11/04/2013 @ 06:54 AM

Tags: Community Empowerment, Cultural Arts, East Austin, Events, Southwest Key

Susana Almanza holding a framed photo of her mosaic.

Susana Almanza holding a framed photo of her mosaic.

Internationally renowned environmental activist and co-founder of PODER (People Organized in Defense of the Earth and her Resources) Susana Almanza was inducted into the Southwest Key Walk of Heroes Saturday at the national nonprofit’s East Austin headquarters, el Centro de Familia.

“Walk of Heroes is a day that we celebrate somebody in this community that has helped Southwest Key over the years to develop our programs,” said Dr. Juan Sanchez, CEO of Southwest Key Programs. “Our hope in doing that is we will also get the younger population to say to themselves, ‘Someday, I want to be one of those heroes.’”

Susana Almanza Posing with her Mosaic

Almanza was honored for her lifetime of environmental and community activism by such distinguished speakers as Congressman Lloyd Doggett, State Representative Eddie Rodriguez and Austin City Councilman Mike Martinez who presented her with a city proclamation naming October 26, Susana Almanza Day.

“I’ll never forget that moment when I realized the long-lasting, ill effects happening to our residents [due to the tank farm in the Govalle-Johnston Terrace neighborhood.] ” said Martinez. “Since that day, the list is long of what PODER and Susana have fought for. Up to and including the very last and third tower of the Holly Power Plant coming down most recently.”

A host of academics were also on hand to pay homage to Almanza’s work, including Professor of Environmental Science Bjorn Sletto of the University of Texas who said Almanza’s reputation as an effective environmental and social justice organizer has spread as far as his native Norway. Other dignitaries included County Constable for Precinct 4 Maria Conchola, former Austin City Councilwoman Brigid Shea and PODER co-founder Dr. Sylvia Herrera.

Susana Almanza with Austin City Councilman, Mike Martinez.

Susana Almanza with Austin City Councilman, Mike Martinez.

Interspersed between the speeches were performances by Southwest Key’s Youth Ballet Folklorico and singing performances by Raul Valdez and others. The ceremony wound up with an unveiling of a mosaic portrait of Almanza to be permanently displayed on the Walk of Heroes. The mosaic was created by Houston artist Rosalinda R. Toro who designed all the portraits on the Walk of Heroes.

For more photos, check out Southwest Key’s Facebook Album.

Almanza with her son in front of her mosaic.

Almanza with her son in front of her mosaic.

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