David Miller, November 3, 2017
Alicia Smith is an inspiring community leader in Toledo, leading the charge for environmental justice for all. This year, the OEC is honored to award her our 2017 Community Leader Award.
As a neighborhood activist with the Junction Coalition, and the executive director of the City of Toledo Youth Commission, Alicia’s commitment to environmental justice is commendable. The Junction neighborhood of Toledo was devastated in the subprime mortgage crisis, and has battled crime and poverty in the years since. With the Junction Coalition, Alicia organized a neglected neighborhood around a variety of local environmental issues, from water quality, to flood protection, to vacant and blighted properties.
During the 2014 Toledo water crisis, Alicia worked tirelessly to alert members of her community about the toxins in the water, knocking on doors to educate her neighbors about the danger.
Alicia has also helped to secure funding for projects from various sources for new projects in the Toledo area. Two recently-installed green infrastructure projects were placed on vacant neighborhood lots to help mitigate neighborhood flooding and help address urban sources of water pollution. The JCC has also been in conversations with Glass City Community Solar about potential solar installations in the neighborhood. She is clearly a dedicated activist who is committed to working tirelessly for environmental justice in her own backyard.