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Grassroots Leaders and Organizers to Be Honored at the May 23rd Event

BOSTON - María Belén Power, the Undersecretary of Environmental Justice and Equity for Massachusetts, will deliver the keynote address at Clean Water Action’s 2023 Annual Celebration, May 23rd, at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham.

“We are excited and honored that Undersecretary María Belén Power will be addressing our Annual Celebration,” said Elizabeth Saunders, Clean Water Action’s Massachusetts Co-Director. “María Belén has been a longtime grassroots partner in campaigns for environmental justice in Massachusetts. We are thrilled that she has joined the Healey-Driscoll Administration, and we look forward to hearing her speak on May 23rd.”

Prior to joining the Healey-Driscoll Administration, Power previously served as Assistant Executive Director of GreenRoots where she oversaw their environmental justice campaigns, working to improve the urban environment and public health in neighborhoods overburdened by pollution. Additionally, she was appointed by President Biden to serve on the newly established White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. Her role as Undersecretary of Environmental Justice & Equity is a new position created to elevate environmental justice in the Healey-Driscoll Administration and ensure that historically marginalized communities are represented at the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Clean Water Action will also be honoring Massachusetts environmental leaders and organizers at the event. The honorees are:

  • 2023 John O'Connor Grassroots Leadership Award: Ayesha Khan Barber, Co-Founder of the Nantucket PFAS Action Group; Captain Nate Barber and Fire Deputy Chief Sean Mitchell, both from the Nantucket Fire Department; and Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts District 8 Vice President Jason Burns of Fall River.
  • 2023 John O'Connor Award for Canvassing: Amber Schmidt, Providence Field Canvass Director
  • Clean Water Champion: Beth Kontos, Vice President, North Shore Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • Clean Water Champion: Jordan Berg Powers, former Executive Director at Mass Alliance
  • Youth Action Award: Jen Loveland Rose, JD Candidate at Northeastern University School of Law 2025

More information about Clean Water Action’s 2023 Annual Celebration, including tickets and sponsorships, is available at:


Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking, and people power to the table. Learn more at


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