Louisiana Catholic environmental justice activist wins Goldman Prize

By Claire Schaeffer-Duffy
June 16, 2021

“I had no intention of being an activist,” Sharon Lavigne, a Black Catholic from St. James Parish, Louisiana, said of her battle to keep plastics factories out of her neighborhood. But her race and her place of residence made her a fierce advocate for environmental justice.

And God, she would add: “It was him that put this fight in me.”

On June 15, Lavigne received the 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize for North America. The award honors activists from the six inhabited continental regions who are involved in local efforts to protect the natural world. The other winners were Gloria Majiga-Kamoto of Malawi, Thai Van Nguyen of Vietnam, Maida Bilal of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kimiko Hirata of Japan and Liz Chicaje Churay of Peru.

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