This February, Groundswell will honor individuals making history in their communities and building a brighter future for generations to come.
Groundswell has shared stories about leaders in the Black and green communities every February since 2017 to recognize the environmental justice impact these individuals have in and beyond the communities they serve. These stories are part of the rich fabric of history written each day by decisions and acts of service.
Groundswell chose this year's honorees based on the direct impact they are having in their communities. These individuals represent important pillars for building future communities. There is the forward vision to offer perspective, a serving heart that makes us mindful of others' needs, and the helping hands who prepare us to do the work.
The 2021 honorees are: Suncatch Energy Founder Brad Boston, who builds up his employees, even as he installs solar panels; Acclaimed Visual Artist and Designer Ngadi Smart, who is representative of a transformative vision for the future; and DuPont Park Seventh Day Adventist Church Trustee Ed Brame, whose work goes to the very heart of the community he serves.
Brad Boston initially got his start working with his father and grandfather in the construction industry, where he came to believe that career training was the key to creating better lives for people in the solar industry and the communities he serves. When he founded SunCatch Energy in 2016, he took those values with him, and he has taken a hands-on approach to building up a workforce who may have otherwise been locked-out of good-paying jobs, such as those found in the solar industry.
Ngadi Smart is a passionate advocate who uses her art to positively and intimately represent Black cultures. Her art is transforming the way people think about the subjects of her work and the movements that surround them. She is a Sierra Leonean Visual Artist and Designer based between London, U.K and Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Her practice consists of Illustration, Photography, Design, and Mixed Media.
Ed Brame serves as a trustee at DuPont Park Seventh Day Adventist Church, a community solar host site that helps make solar power available to community members. Ed’s heartfelt service to the community takes multiple forms in the programs that he leads at the church. Brame led efforts to install community solar at the church, which allows 47 low-income families in the community to receive solar energy credits at no cost as part of the District of Columbia’s Solar for All program. He has also had a significant role in community clean-ups, a community recycling initiative, and programs providing food and diapers to the community.
We would also like to thank the countless leaders who we encounter every day in the work that Groundswell does in communities across the country. Thank you for the work you do to build up strong communities through service and compassion. Thank you for stepping forward and leading the communities where we live and work to a brighter tomorrow.