Richmond native Tania Pulido wins national award for youth activism
on October 17, 2011
Tania Pulido of Richmond will accept a Brower Youth Award for exceptional youth activism and leadership on Tuesday at the Herbst Center in San Francisco.
The Brower Youth Award is one of the most prestigious youth activism awards in the country. Presented by the Earth Island Institute the award recognizes six individuals under the age of 22 each year based on recommendations from their individual communities.
“I am so proud,” said Urban Tilth member Sherwan Dean outside of Pulido’s earshot. “I actually got to see Tania grow. She is doing amazing.”
Named for the late environmental activist David Brower, the award recognizes youth involved in activism, provides them an open panel to discuss their achievements at the annual Bioneers science convention and awards them $3,000 to further their movements.
Pulido’s main role in urban agriculture is managing the Sixth Street gardens — on the Richmond Greenway in the Iron Triangle – through Urban Tilth, where she has quickly moved up since joining as an apprentice 2009.
“It’s connected me back to the earth, back to my roots,” Pulido said, “and at the same time has made me a healthier person.”
At the height of the afternoon during the busiest day of the Bioneers convention, Saturday in San Rafael, Pulido stretched out in the middle of a grass island, laughing with friends and fellow Urban Tilth youth, talking about what she plans to do with the $3,000.
She plans to buy a camera and equipment to help her document the local food movement in Richmond.
“It is very important to document the good things that are happening in Richmond,” Pulido said, “because you hear all the negative things and all these people are doing all this amazing stuff.”
The conversation became energetic when David Meza of Urban Tilth reminded her of her plans to make public service announcements advocating their cause.
This will be a part of her bigger plan to amplify the activity at the Greenway by getting more people involved in the monthly and weekly activities, having more food gatherings, adding more art and expanding the garden.
The rest of the money will go to her college education. She is studying at Contra Costa College, but plans to transfer to another college soon.
During the forum, Pulido touched on her time as a Richmond High School student, where she said that she “barely graduated” in 2007.
Despite her recent achievements in social activism, her graduating GPA in high school was under 1.0, which she said was because of bad habits during her junior and senior year.
“That affected me afterward because I was definitely not prepared for life after high school,” Pulido said.
Two years after she graduated she went back to the high school that she used to “cut all the time” to find out about social leadership.
She met Doria Robinson, the executive director of Urban Tilth, who began mentoring her and teaching her about urban gardening and social activism, and from there, Pulido excelled as a leader and activist.
“It’s so rare, she is such a gem, in a place where there are a lot of factors that give people a lot of trouble,” said Adam Boisvert, an Urban Tilth worker. “It’s incredible to have someone that has a spark that’s that strong that it overpowers anything else.”
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