UNANIMA International Courage Award Presentation speech to Jessica Ernst in New York at the Church Centre of the United Nations, October 1, 2011
UNANIMA applauds Ms. Ernst’s courage to stand up for her rights in the face of the powerful entities who the cause of the degradation of fresh water supplies for herself, her neighbors and the flora and fauna of the region.
The UNANIMA International WOMAN OF COURAGE award is symbolized by this flame, which captures the passion, energy and commitment that Jessica demonstrates in trying to protect our environment and especially the natural resource of water. The flame is mounted on a piece of oak from the mighty oak tree known for its strength and endurance. The oak tree is one that is deeply anchored and steadfast amidst buffeting by winds and storms. It also symbolizes a perennial birthing of new life and hope. The copper plate on which her name is engraved is also a symbol of the deeply spiritual values which underlie the passion she has in her struggle to overcome the injustices brought about by the predatory search for profits at whatever cost to present and future generations. Her voice has become a source of hope and empowerment for all of us engaged in the same struggle.
Jessica Ernst embodies these values and life and hope. It is with immense pleasure that we award the fourth annual UNANIMA International Woman of Courage to Jessica Ernst. [Emphasis added]