AUSTIN: People’s Friend Award 2012
Contact: Piper Nelson at
Austin, Texas - Last night, The Texas Observer
announced Suzie Canales of Corpus Christi, Texas as the 2012 recipient of the
"People's Friend Award."
Canales accepted the
award and a $1,000 prize on Monday evening at the Observer's annual
Rabble Rouser Round-Up and Fat Cat Schmoozefest.
The Observer established the
"People's Friend Award" last year to recognize Texans working for
social justice and progressive change.
Suzie Canales epitomizes
what the People's Friend Award is all about," said Texas Observer editor
Dave Mann. "She saw injustice in her community and decided to take action
to help people living in fence-line neighborhoods. She's passionate about her
work, and, as quite a few powerful people have found out, she refuses to back
down or be intimidated."
For the last 13 years,
Canales has worked tirelessly to bring truth and justice to the
"fence-line" communities of Corpus, minority neighborhoods that have
been polluted by refineries and petrochemical plants. Her persistence helped
lead to landmark public health surveys and drew attention to the racist city
policies of the '40s that pushed black and Latino residents into industrial
Canales has also
empowered citizens to do their own air-quality testing through all-volunteer
bucket brigades. Her work helped lead to a criminal conviction of Citgo,
the first-ever by a jury under the Clean Air Act.
Canales was chosen
from among ten "Tyrant's Foes," Texans profiled in The Texas
Observer magazine each month for their efforts to make Texas a more just
and democratic state. Each Tyrant's Foe was automatically eligible for the
"People' s Friend Award." The recipient was chosen through a
combination of online voting and staff and board input.