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Senior Environment officer honored by conservation organization


Kresge Senior Program Officer Jalonne White-Newsome was honored as Michigan “Advocate of the Year” by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (MLCV) in an Oct. 5 ceremony in Detroit.

In her acceptance speech, White-Newsome credited her parents and family for providing role models of activism on behalf of their community, state and nation – particularly on behalf of those whose voices are marginalized and underrepresented in public decision-making. She urged audience members to engage with issues of democracy and justice at this critical time in the nation’s history.

Jalonne White-Newsome addresses the Michigan League of Conservation Voters after being named the organization's Michigan "Advocate of the Year.” 
Photo: Marissa Gawel

Jalonne White-Newsome addresses the Michigan League of Conservation Voters after being named the organization’s Michigan “Advocate of the Year.”

“Now, more than ever, we need advocates – each and every one of you in this room,” she said. “What you give – your time, your passion, your tears, your strength, can never be stripped away. Whether you are a preacher, a policymaker, an engineer, a teacher, a campaigner, a secretary, a parent, caregiver, or president of a company – we cannot afford to be silent in these times … be bold, be unapologetic, be an advocate right where you are.”

White-Newsome oversees the Kresge Environment Program’s Climate Resilient & Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) portfolio and leads the foundation’s work addressing the intersection of climate change and public health. Prior to joining Kresge in early 2016 she served as director of federal policy at West Harlem Environmental Action Inc. (WE ACT), where she was involved with leading national campaigns and a 42-member national coalition of environmental justice organizations. Her work helped ensure that the concerns of low-income communities of color were integrated into federal policy, particularly on clean air, climate change and health issues.

Two other awardees shared the stage with White-Newsome. DTE Energy received the league’s Business Leader of the Year” award and State Representative Stephanie Chang earned Legislator of the Year.

Past winners of MLCV’s advocate award include Dr. Monna Hanna-Attisha, who was instrumental in exposing the lead-tainted water crisis Flint, Michigan; the Detroit Zoological Society for its commitment to sustainability and animal welfare; the Anglers of the Au Sable for protecting Michigan’s signature cold-water trout stream; and Dr. John Hartig, manager of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge for decades of conservation work.