New Voices Are Rising Alumna Christina McGhee-Esquivel was recently recognized with Friends of the River’s Mark Dubois Award! The California River Awards is held every year, and the Mark Dubois Award recognizes those who have taken a leading role in furthering river conservation in California. For 2014, the Award highlighted a new generation of leaders who are using cutting-edge sustainable water solutions in order to revive the rivers we depend on and love. Congratulations, Christina!
Our third honoree is cultivating a new and more diverse set of environmental leaders.
Christina McGhee understands that the future success of the river protection movement hinges on our ability to build broader support for our vision. To do this, Christina is training leaders through her many years of work with New Voices Are Rising — a program that develops young leaders, especially in low-income communities and communities of color in the Bay Area.
Christina participated in the New Voices program in 2007 when she was just 16 and went on to join their staff while pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies from U.C. Santa Cruz. She has served as a Peer Leader at New Voices for several years where she developed a new watershed warriors curriculum and involves students in hands-on action that has an immediate impact ranging from speaking at public hearings in key policy proceedings and organizing letter writing campaigns, to conducting water quality monitoring and creek cleanups. She has already mentored more than fifty students who are now going on to do incredible work on their own from teaching a class on the impact of California’s current drought to launching a campaign to require the highest possible levels of water efficiency and water reuse in major new housing developments planned for Oakland.
She recently became the first member of her family to graduate from a four-year college where she earned a degree in Environmental Studies with a focus on rainwater collection and re-use. In addition to continuing as a Peer Leader with New Voices, Christina is also a campus coordinator with EarthTeam where she supervises student watershed projects at schools serving low-income students of color and helps them reach out to the greater community to raise awareness about watershed issues.
Ultimately, Christina is cultivating a new and more diverse generation of leaders who will serve as the foundation for a more robust and powerful movement.
Visit Friends of the River’s website for more information about this prestigious award and to read about the other award recipients.