Taking Back Cinco Educational Webinar

April 17 , 8:00 am 5:00 pm EDT

( In Spanish below/Seguido en Español)

In this Zoom webinar, join GreenLatinos and Latinos in Heritage Conservation for a webinar on the nuanced history of Cinco de Mayo. This webinar is part of GreenLatinos’ Take Back Cinco de Mayo campaign. It will explore the significance of Cinco de Mayo for the Western Hemisphere and provide examples of how to leverage this information in campaigns and classrooms. Speakers will include Pedro Hernandez, Public Lands Advocate and Historian with GreenLatinos, and Sehila Casper, Director of Latinos in Heritage Conservation.

Educativo Seminario web sobre el Cinco de Mayo)

Únete a GreenLatinos y Latinos in Heritage Conservation para un seminario web sobre la historia matizada del Cinco de Mayo. Este seminario web es parte de la campaña Take Back Cinco de Mayo de GreenLatinos. Explorarémos la importancia del Cinco de Mayo para el hemisferio occidental y brindarémos ejemplos de cómo aprovechar esta información en campañas y aulas. Los oradores incluirán a Pedro Hernández, defensor de tierras públicas e historiador de GreenLatinos, y Sehila Casper, directora de Latinos in Heritage Conservation.

Photo: Jackie Nuñez being interviewed by the STRAWS film.

During the month of April, Plastic Pollution Coalition invites educators, teachers, and students to dive into plastic pollution and learn about solutions. Together with STRAWS film, Plastic Pollution Coalition is offering free film shorts on plastic pollution geared towards teachers and students with live online Q&A and discussion.

Join us in helping to empower students to make strides in understanding the problem of single-use plastic and reducing its use. Check out the program here and sign up.

The goal of each online discussion is to help students craft individual or group projects to reduce single-use plastic pollution. These ACTION projects can be individual, in their home, or in their communities.

The sessions will be hosted by plastic pollution experts and frequent speakers Jackie Nuñez, Founder of The Last Plastic Straw and Program Manager, Plastic Pollution Coalition, and Sandra Curtis, Director of Innovative Projects, Plastic Pollution Coalition.


About Jackie Nuñez

Jackie created the No Plastic Straws movement when she founded The Last Plastic Straw in 2011 as a volunteer project for Save Our Shores. The Last Plastic Straw has been a project of Plastic Pollution Coalition since 2016.

She is a part time kayak guide, full time activist, and lives in Santa Cruz, California, where she teaches people of all ages how to speak truth to plastic and be an agent for change in their communities. She has advised on more than 20 local ordinances limiting single-use foodware including plastic straws.

Jackie has a BS in Health and a AS in Horticulture, and has a passion for travel, ocean sports, design, gardening, the environment, and community service. Jackie is a frequent speaker at international conferences, in the press, and was featured in the award-winning documentary Straws.

About Sandra Curtis, Ph.D.

Sandra is Director of Innovative Projects for Plastic Pollution Coalition based in Berkeley, CA. She brings a wealth of experience developing projects internationally at the intersection of business, entertainment, education, science, and health, and uses those skills to expand partnerships, programs, and projects at Plastic Pollution Coalition. She initiated collaborative behavioral intervention research to reduce the toxic health effects from exposure to plastics. As a co-investigator with Child Health and Development Studies, she conducted Rethink Plastic and is expanding the impact of the study with ESL communities, across generations and global communities.

She co-wrote numerous PPC guides including the Healthy Baby Guide and the Plastic-Free Campus Manual. Sandra advocates for applying pressure across a broad spectrum of society from the individual to legislation, EPR, and the development of new materials to solve the plastic pollution crisis.

Her most recent speaking engagement with youth was advising a team of 6th and 7th graders  in Chicago on their entry into the Nat Geo Challenge.

She has a PhD in Education from UC Berkeley and a Masters and B.S. in Kinesiology from UCLA.

Caption: Jackie Nuñez speaks to Teacher and Activist Jacqueline Omania’s Heirs to the Oceans club of 4th and 5th grade students at Oxford School in Berkeley, CA. Photo by Jacqueline Omania.

For more resources on plastic pollution and curriculum for children of all ages, visit our Education Resources.

See also: 100+ Fun and Educational Things To Do at Home

By Stephanie Padilla

When you think of “clean” and “healthy” communities, your first thoughts might not be resources and programs such as mental health, teen violence workshops, plans for affordable housing, etc. You might think of plastic-free or trash-free utopias with crisp and refreshing air, not polluted by freeway smog. We all have different perspectives on what communities should look like. What the beach communities in Santa Monica envision for themselves is likely a little different than those of us who live near the LA River.

Cypress Park, where the Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco meet, is a mostly Latinx community nestled in North East L.A. This past Dia De los Muertos, our very own, Mujeres De la Tierra, hosted a Community Procession for clean and healthy communities. Mujeres De la Tierra, is an environmental non-profit organization that focuses on healing Madre Tierra and promotes clean communities using Telenovela street theatre.

Their theme for the Community Altar (learn more about the history, here) was dedicated to the men and women who died defending Madre Tierra. Their names/legacies were memorialized in blue paper, symbolic of the river, with the mouth of the river dedicated to Goldman Environmental Award Recipient, Berta Caceres, who died defending her land and Lenca people against the construction of the Agua Zarca dam.

The event also included a Procession where a Demonio de La Basura (trash demon made of recycled water bottles) marched alongside students from the Sotomayor Learning Academy, Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood Council, Pacoima Beautiful, Hathaway-Sycamores, LA Sanitation Department, Friends of the LA River, and Peace Over Violence. It was beautiful to see the community participate, lead, and be active in issues that are specific to us brown folk in Cypress Park.

Too often, environmental justice is framed as a “one size fits all model”, where NPOs, city planners, council members, etc. miss the mark in addressing the needs of the community. We are talked to/down about environmental justice opposed to having a dialogue about what our concerns are and how we have the agency to determine what we envision for “clean” and “healthy” communities. For us, in Cypress Park, it is an intersection of mental health awareness, promoting youth activism, encouraging garbage pick ups, attending neighborhood council meetings, and connecting people to the river.

I encourage us all to find our own, rivers, streams, lakes, parks, etc. in our own communities and learn how to make a difference for the sake of madre tierra and the legacy of the people who have died defending her.

Stephanie Padilla is PPC staff and a local food justice activist. She enjoys listening to classic disco and hip hop on her office playlist and organizing vegan dinners in her community. Learn more about organizing with a local chapter of Food Not Bombs

Take Action to stop plastic pollution.

Join our global Coalition. 

By Plastic Pollution Coalition Team

“If you don’t want this to be the kind of country that you live in, then do something about it. Black men and women can’t do it alone and it is our health, our rights and our lives at risk. We need you to do more than care. Transformative change requires more than words. It demands action.”
-Monica Simpson, Executive Director, Sister Song Reproductive Justice Collective

The forces of xenophobia, white supremacy, and sexism, once veiled in our global community, have now been unleashed in broad daylight, into our political and social circles. Today, Plastic Pollution Coalition makes this firm statement in support of communities and individuals worldwide:

The oil and petrochemical industries continue to drive our worldwide reliance on single-use plastic. They have invested money to divide us, leading us to believe that as individuals, we alone are responsible for plastic pollution. Yet these corporations are the ones perpetuating inequality, devouring natural resources, polluting local waters, and producing plastic garbage to fill the land. These skewed corporate values elevate money above protection of the land and its people, jeopardizing our personal health and safety.

For so many members of our Coalition, the world can be a scary place. For some of our leaders, partners, and followers, simply waking up and going about the business of being puts them in danger – being a person of color or an activist, being a woman or non-cis, being a person with a particular income or one who loves in their own way. Yet they have dedicated their lives to solving our collective plastic pollution problem. They fight not just for the future of this planet, but often for their own security.

We all deserve safety. We each deserve autonomy from persecution, prejudice, terrorism, and violence in all its forms, physical and emotional, individual and collective. We are right to expect corporations and governments to protect our natural resources, and we are right to reject the rampant, unnecessary system of disposability forced upon us.

Our society has a lot of work to do to learn how to protect each other and to learn to protect and respect each other, through our daily words, deeds, and actions. We must actively work to dismantle systems of oppression that are perpetuated around the world today, sending signals about which groups of people deserve respect, autonomy, and security. Every person is worthy of respect and dignity.

Plastic Pollution Coalition stands and works for all people. We condemn hatred and prejudice in all its forms, and we outright reject any idea that a particular race, creed, sex, gender, sexuality, nationality, class, or wealth level has supremacy or superiority over any other. We stand with those who fight for equal protection of all people under international law and each country’s laws. We are those who fight every day for equal respect, health, and safety for all people on this planet.

Plastic Pollution Coalition envisions a world free from oppression and prejudice, free from systemic danger and violence, and free from the dangerous, violent, oppressive systems of plastic pollution. We actively support any and all groups and individuals working toward that shared vision.


Are you a member of a zero waste organization in your community? Have you attended meetings to oppose a pipeline? Do you support sustainability projects in your community’s schools or gardens? These are all causes to remedy injustice. Talk to your neighbors, go online, and search your social networks: Find an organization in your local community, and give them your time.

Don’t allow evil to triumph by doing nothing: Be active with your neighbors toward effective, positive change to solve these core systemic issues at the heart of the plastic pollution epidemic.

At the average music festival, each person creates about 15 pounds of garbage every day. The biggest component of that waste? Single-use plastic: water bottles, beer cups, straws, utensils, wrappers, and packaging.

For the past three years, Plastic Pollution Coalition has partnered with Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival to reduce the amount of single-use plastic used. And it’s working. An estimated 1.5 million single-use bottles and cups were diverted from the landfill over the past three years at Bonnaroo.

The Refill Revolution is bigger than one festival. It’s a movement to reduce our plastic footprint on this planet. Check out the voices of the Refill Revolution and learn what you can do in the slideshow below.

Photos by Brandise Danesewich @antimodel and Dianna Cohen

You can join the Refill Revolution by texting “REFILL” to 52886.