2013 Goldman Environmental Prize winner; Director, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
Kim Wasserman Nieto organized her neighbors to lead the fight that closed down two of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants on Chicago’s southwest side—the Fisk and Crawford plants, owned by Midwest Generation. Just a few hundred feet away from the Crawford plant is the vibrant and diverse community of Little Village, a small but densely populated neighborhood of some 100,000 residents, mostly Latino families and children — including Wasserman. She worked with local community-based organizations to form a strategic alliance of faith, health, labor, and environmental groups. With limited resources, they mounted a formidable campaign, including “Toxic Tours” of industrial sites and a “Coal Olympics” timed around the city’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.
Wasserman is training the next generation of organizers to lead the community in transforming old industrial sites in Little Village into parks and open spaces such as skate parks, soccer fields, and picnic sites where residents can exercise and enjoy the fresh air. Her vision for these spaces is to serve as a community “front porch,” where residents get together to discuss ways to continue improving the neighborhood.
Wasserman interview, creating community coalition to close coal plants