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Susana Almanza

Austin | Organizer

Ms. Almanza is an Austin-based community organizer, activist, and co-founder (with Sylvia Herrera) and executive director of PODER, People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources. She has worked for a number of years to protect her east Austin neighborhood from hazardous industrial developments, including a tank farm, waste-recycling facility, a metalwork and casting plant, chip fabrication factory, and power plant. She has organized community meeting, public hearings, radio call-in shows to encourage her neighbors to speak out at state and local forums to press for environmental justice. Throughout, she has worked to change the underlying segregationist zoning, dating back to 1931, which had allowed and encouraged many of these incompatible facilities to be sited in her residential neighborhood. Most recently, Ms. Almanza and PODER have sought to protect the integrity of east Austin from the gentrification that has come from the City’s smart growth initiatives, and ironically, from their very success in protecting and improving the neighborhood.

Interview Information

October 16, 2003
Austin, Texas
Reel 2260

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