News: California Safe Schools Celebrates its 25th Anniversary Honoring Environmental Health Heroes! | CitizenWire

California Safe Schools Coalition

LOS ANGELES, Calif. /CitizenWire/ -- On Monday, December 4, 2023 at the California Endowment in historic downtown Los Angeles, California Safe Schools, a celebrated children's environmental health and environmental justice non-profit celebrated its 25th Anniversary with an event called "Your Life is Now" honoring seven trailblazing health and safety heroes and organizations.

California Safe School's founder and Executive Director, Robina Suwol, welcomed guests stating, "The solution to the environmental challenges facing us can only be found if we actively engage as a community. We are enormously happy to celebrate such accomplished individuals whose efforts continue to make our world a much better place."

"I could not be prouder to support CA Safe Schools and 'Your Life is Now' as we work for environmental justice for all," said Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). "We must ensure all communities have clean air and water and work with 'Your Life is Now' to ensure our communities are involved."

"We thank each of these leaders for their passion and commitment to student success and safety. Thank you California Safe Schools, and congratulations on an incredible 25 years of truly impactful work," added Clayton Heard, Senior Field Representative from the Office of Assembly Member Josh Lowenthal.


Lowell Anger, joined the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office in January 1995 and has been a Head Deputy District Attorney of the Environmental Crimes Division and the Organized Crime and Hate Crimes Division. He received the 2016 Project LEAD Award for the outstanding teacher in the District Attorney's program that works with at-risk fifth graders. Throughout his career, Lowell has been a frequent guest lecturer in schools throughout Los Angeles County.

Enrique Baeza, Branch Chief Peace Officer, California Department of Toxic Substances, Office of Criminal Investigation. Enrique is one of the first in the nation to create an Environmental Justice unit within a Law Enforcement office and has also been recognized for outstanding performance in the investigation and prosecution of a polluter in the highest traditions of the US Department of Justice.

Maria Dolores R. Dalusong has worked for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Division for 20 years and is now Chief of the Vectorborne Disease Surveillance Program. She also serves on the Los Angeles Unified Integrated Pest Management Committee to protect children and all school stakeholders from pesticide exposure.

Mui Koltunov, Ph.D., Research Scientist Supervisor II, Branch Chief of the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory in Pasadena for the Department of Toxic Substances Control. Dr. Koltunov and her team established the Toxic Crusaders Program to work specifically with K-12 students and teachers to learn about toxic chemicals in consumer products and the environment.

Pete Treebumrung, Combines analytics and technology into visual map layers that provide a simple but transformative understanding of data to enable clear communication and focus problem-solving. Projects he has completed include, "Asthma Alley, CA", "The Diesel Death Zone of Los Angeles" and "The Poverty-Pollution Loop".

Los Angeles 10th District PTSA Children are the main focus of everything the PTA does with Informed parental involvement in the schools being essential to effective educational programs. Issues on their agenda: gun control, drug abuse, vaping, homelessness, teenage suicide, cultural diversity and belonging and social media impacts.

Los Angeles 31st District PTSA The 31st District PTSA serves 6 councils and over 110 PTA/PTSA units in the San Fernando Valley, Sunland and Tujunga area. Their areas of focus are: student and school success, health and safety, arts and culture, and advocacy.

"Congratulations to all the honorees. Your hard work and dedication to ensuring that children have safe schools free from harmful pesticides is admirable and wholeheartedly appreciated," said Joel Torrez, Jr. Environmental Health Deputy Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn.

Noemi Emeric-Ford, US EPA Region IX Director, Southern California Field Office said, "Protecting children from harm isn't just a responsibility, it's a commitment to shaping a safer future. Honoring those who have been champions to identify and eliminate toxic exposures in schools underscores the California Safe Schools Coalition's dedication to nurturing healthy spaces for our most precious resource - our children."

Each honoree was presented with California Safe Schools engraved Hero Award designed by celebrated artist Michael Bruza. Catering for the event was by Wolfgang Puck.

About California Safe Schools:

Founded by Robina Suwol in 1998, California Safe Schools (CSS) is children's environmental health and environmental justice coalition. CSS achieved national prominence by spearheading the Los Angeles Unified Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Policy, the most stringent pesticide policy in the nation for K-12 public schools and the first to embrace the "Precautionary Principle" and "Right to Know". The success of the policy led to California's Healthy Schools Act. Today the LA Unified IPM policy serves as an international model for school districts and communities.

On October 6, 2005, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 405 (Montanez) sponsored by California Safe Schools. The bill bans experimental pesticides, whose health effects are unknown, from California k-12 public schools. As a result, more than 6 million California children and hundreds of thousands of school children are protected from experimental chemicals, whose health effects are unknown.

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