Overview  We believe in our young people and their desire to make our communities cleaner, safer, and productive. Environmental justice (EJ) means that people of all races, cultures, and incomes should be able to live in a safe and healthy environment. It also means that everyone should be treated fairly and equally. The EJ Youth Vanguard Award is designed to give the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN) the opportunity to recognize young people from our communities who already are environmental champions and who show great promise as future leaders in the EJ movement. We may select two youth – one from each of the following age categories: 1) Elementary Age and 2) Middle/High School Age.

Qualifications for Nominees

  • Demonstrated interest in working on an environmental injustice issue in their community (they may be working on multiple issues as well)
  • Commitment to promoting safe and healthy environments for their community
  • Engagement in activities that raise awareness about EJ among their peers and in their community – this would include activities at their school, academic work on EJ issues, participation in competitions, workshops, or school programs that highlight EJ
  • The potential to be future leaders in the EJ movement

Nomination Procedures  While there are no set guidelines for a nomination, a winning nomination should fulfill the qualifications listed above. Be sure to specify the age of the youth nominated. Nominations should be sent to the NCEJN EJ Summit Coordinators, as specified below. The EJ Summit Coordinators will distribute copies of the nominations to the NCEJN Planning Committee. The committee will acknowledge nominations received and communicate the selection process outcome to all nominees. Email submission is preferred.

The Award Presentation  The annual award is presented at the NCEJN Summit.