Diana

Diana's story begins in the East Side community of San Antonio, a place plagued by not only poverty but also environmental contamination from local industrial businesses, such as nuclear plants and fuel companies that to this day continue to shadow the area ominously dubbed the 'Toxic Triangle.' Environmental contamination from such industrial businesses has been a heavy burden on the East Side community, creating widespread health problems such as asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Diana started to become involved in activism in her community in February 2007, when residents successfully fought against a planned installation of two diesel storage tanks in the East Side by a company called Redi Fuel. Inspired by the victory of her community members against the corporation's plans, Diana decided she wanted to further change the East Side for the better.

Thus, she came up with the idea of starting an urban garden. At the time she started working on this project, called the Roots of Change Community Garden, the East Side of San Antonio had no fresh vegetable market, and people had nowhere to turn for fresh, clean produce. Diana decided she wanted to create a wholesome garden where her East Side neighbors could access healthful produce at little to no cost.
With generous donations and help from many local businesses, Diana was able to make her dream into a reality, as they worked together to construct and launch the garden. She has motivated local organizations to join her in her efforts, and the Southwest Workers Union in particular now serves as the backbone of support, along with the 400 community members who have participated in garden workdays so far.

Diana organized workshops about urban gardening, so that community members could tour the garden and see what kind of work goes on there. She has also held talks at the garden about environmental justice in the community, and how the Roots of Change Community Garden fits into the wider scope of a movement toward remedying the ecological problems of San Antonio.

Today, Diana continues to do a lot of hard work for her garden, serving as the garden coordinator and working with staff to ensure the plants are healthy and the space is well-maintained. This diligent young woman also handles the budget, grant writing, shopping, outreach, and trouble shooting for the Roots of Community Change Garden. Due to her continuous hard work and dedication, the community now has a place to purchase fresh, clean, organic produce. Not only that, the garden also serves as an educational community center where people can come together to learn about nutrition, organic gardening, and sustainable technologies — valuable information that is hard to come by in San Antonio's East Side. Her project has had such far reaching effects that local Edison High School took the initiative to start their own similar garden project.

Diana's story truly speaks to believing in your ideas and convictions toward making positive changes in the world. Although faced with limited financial resources, she is committed to continuing her education through college, and has dedicated her life to activism and tackling the daunting problems in her community. Her willingness to give back to her community and help her fellow East Side residents admirably demonstrates both selflessness and dedication.

Submitted by Anonymous


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