People We Love :: Marisol Becerra

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Marisol Becerra

Photo by Kate Skegg

Fighting pollution in Little Village

20-year-old Marisol ­Becerra began her fight against environmental threats to her mostly Mexican-American neighborhood in Chicago when she was just a freshman in high school.

After joining the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Becerra mapped the locations of toxins in her community, mostly from two coal-fired power plants nearby.

Becerra later launched “Youth Activists Organizing as Today’s Leaders,” a group whose members lobby elected officials and go door to door educating people on local environmental pollutants, and she started a related website for young people, El Cilantro.

Becerra was one of six environmental activists to win the 2008 Brower Youth Award. Sponsored by the Earth Island Institute, the award provides recipients the opportunity to develop their interests in leadership and environmental issues.

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Watch a video about Marisol's work.