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MANHATTAN BEACH, CA — Sierra Club leaders Thursday presented Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn with the Sierra Club’s Environmental Service Award at the Los Angeles County lifeguard training location in Manhattan Beach, also known as Bruce's Beach.
The award was given in the summer of 2021, but the in-person delivery was rescheduled for the day before Earth Day, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In attendance were Supervisor Hahn, Sierra Club national board member Meghan Sahli-Wells, Angeles Chapter Director Morgan Goodwin, Angeles Executive Committee member Marcia Hanscom, and chapter leaders Wendy-Sue Rosen, David Warren and Anna Christensen.
Hahn has been a Sierra Club-endorsed candidate since she served in the U.S. Congress from 2011-2016, and also while standing for election twice for Los Angeles County Supervisors Supervisor. Hahn also served 10 years on the Los Angeles City Council before she was elected to Congress.
As supervisor, Hahn has led the Board of Supervisors in seeking to shut down a methane gas storage facility at the Ballona Wetlands in Playa del Rey. She has pulled back on a massive redevelopment effort at Mariners Village in Marina del Rey that would have removed more than 1,000 trees, some of which provide a nesting rookery for the Great Blue Heron. Supervisor Hahn has also supported Redondo Beach in making progress toward the revitalization of land that is being recovered after an aging power plant is to be shut down to include park and wetland areas, as well as a community-driven plan. And she has championed community efforts to remove toxic chemicals from an oil refinery in Torrance while serving on the Air Quality Management District.
In addition to these many accomplishments, the Environmental Service Award was given to specifically uplift her work to correct a racial injustice on the Southern California coast in Manhattan Beach.
A century ago, Bruce's Beach was one of the very few places on the southern California coast where Black people were allowed to go to the beach. Charles and Willa Bruce purchased the property where they served Black visitors with food and entertainment by the sea for more than a decade. However, in 1924, the City of Manhattan Beach — provoked by Ku Klux Klan harassment — invoked eminent domain and paid what was then the fair market value to purchase the Bruce's Beach properties.
Hahn worked to help correct that injustice and begin the process to return the land to Bruce family descendants.
"I’m going to do whatever I can to right this wrong," she said.
The Sierra Club believes that all people should have access to nature, including the shoreline, the organization said.
"Bruce's beach is the story of an injustice at the intersection of access to nature and racial discrimination, and Supervisor Janice Hahn is working to correct that," Sierra Club said. "For this she deserves this Environmental Service Award."
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying and legal action.
Janice Hahn Receives Sierra Club Environmental Service Award originally appeared on the Manhattan Beach Patch