Susana Almanza Honored on Walk of Heroes
On October 26, Southwest Key Programs honored Susana Almanza by inducting her into the Walk of
Heroes at their headquarters, el Centro de Familia, located at 6002 Jain Lane in Austin, Texas. Almanza is a Chicana leader and nationally recognized environmental activist. A model of civic engagement, Almanza has spent her life or ganizing for the advancement of marginalized and neglected communities in her neighborhood of East Austin.
In 1991, she co-founded PODER (People in Defense of the Earth and her Resources), a grassroots organization that, in 1992, successfully removed a 52-acre toxic “Tank Farm” from the Govalle-Johnston Terrace neighborhood, thus improving the quality of earth, water and air for Austinites.
As a director of PODER she was a leader in the movement to successfully close the Holly Street Power Plant in 2007 after considerable evidence showed that it negatively affected the health and the environment of the surrounding community.
She is a former member of the City of Environmental Board and is former Planning Commissioner for the City of Austin. She has served on numerous environmental committees at the national and regional levels, including the EPA’s Title VI Implementation Advisory Committee and the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice. The Walk of Heroes induction ceremony included the unveiling of a commissioned mosaic portrait of Almanza to remain permanently on site. It is displayed next to those of previous Walk of Heroes honorees Pedro Garza, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez.