WESPAC Annual Awards 2021!

This year we are honoring Ruby Olisemeka, Delia Marx and Anne Jaffe Holmes at a virtual gathering that will take place on Thursday, May 13th at 7pm!

Ruby Olisemeka is an independent educator/consultant focusing on socially transformative education; food justice and incorporating African and indigenous practices into farming and food & farming education. She began her farming career as an apprentice at Stone Barns (2011) and has since built numerous school and urban gardens in lower Westchester and Harlem. Ruby has over 10 years of experience educating children and young adults; she has worked as an educator at Edible Schoolyard NYC, Harlem Grown and various public and private schools and institutions. She is currently a facilitator with Farmschool NYC  – a radical urban agriculture training program for adults. 
 
She is passionate about reclaiming and transforming greenspaces in urban neighborhoods of color for the wellbeing of community; as well as facilitating nature connection lessons with children of color, wherever nature is found.   She initiated and is a part of a grassroots community effort to bring local, organically grown food to Mount Vernon residents at no cost/pay what you can model, entitled “The Free Peoples Market”.

Currently working as Program Manager for the Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Anne Jaffe Holmes seeks to build community around protecting our environment, especially by bringing forward the voices of those who bear the heaviest burdens of environmental damage and climate
change. Earlier in her career as an environmental educator first for Westchester County and then for the Greenburgh Nature Center, Anne came to understand that the disconnect between people and Nature so pervasive in our culture creates disease in our bodies and souls, just as surely as it poisons our world and harms other species. Anne is grateful for the great well of faith in people and optimism about the future she absorbed in her early years as a college campus organizer for the United Farmers of America and other justice causes. In her words: “I’ve been fortunate throughout my 45 years of community organizing and environmental education to see repeatedly that while change usually takes
longer than we wish, and specific goals are often somewhat adjusted, ‘the people united’ eventually prevail.” When not on the phone or zooming for FCWC, Anne can be found mixing her backyard compost or collecting food scraps at the Farmers Market with her friends in the Irvington Compost
Crew.

Delia Marx was fortunate to emigrate with her young family from Argentina in 1978 when her native country was victim of a violent military dictatorship: people were being kidnapped and tortured for voicing any disagreement with the regime. 30,000 were ‘disappeared’, one cousin and two of her friends among them, an experience that marked Delia for the rest of her life.  

Once in NY, Delia studied Computer Science. She obtained her Masters and then her PhD at Polytechnic University and in 1989 she became a professor at Mercy College. Hoping to raise awareness among the younger generation, Delia developed content and taught courses about global climate change, its causes and consequences, and about a just food system that nourishes both people and the planet.

All along, Delia maintained a close contact with Argentina. Since the economic debacle of December 2001, when thousands of businesses went bankrupt and the so-called ‘recuperated factories’ started to appear, Delia has been organizing and leading tours to Argentina on behalf of Global Exchange, giving groups of Americans the opportunity to witness the social and political reality in Argentina and learn about the solidarity economy and workers’ cooperatives by facilitating direct conversations with the leaders of social movements there. The most recent tour, in July 2019 included several WESPAC members.

Since her retirement from Mercy College, Delia has been able to dedicate herself to her social justice interests and volunteer with several local organizations. In addition to being a long-time member of WESPAC, Delia currently is a member of the Greenburgh Human Rights Advisory Committee, the planning committee of the Westchester Social  Forum, and the Greenburgh Anti-Systemic Racism Task Force; she represents WESPAC at the NYS Community Equity Agenda and the Divest NY Coalitions, and participates in the struggle to reform the police, the bail and parole systems and against solitary confinement and the death penalty.

Delia’s latest project relates to her experience in Argentina and her passion for a more just and equitable economy: she is in the process of creating a network of organizations to develop and support workers’ cooperatives in Westchester County.

She is a proud mom of two and grandmother of five!

Tickets and congratulatory ads for this Annual Awards Gathering can be purchased here: https://donorbox.org/wespac-annual-awards-dinner-2020