CODEPINK Celebrates Diane Wilson, 2023 Goldman Environmental Prize Winner
Jodie Evans Reflects on Diane's Lifetime Legacy of Activism
We are so thrilled to learn that Diane Wilson is a recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize!
Diane is a co-founder of CODEPINK. Her speech at the environmental gathering Bioneers in 2001 ended with a clarion call: "Let's all be Unreasonable Women!" Taking her cue, Nina Simons of Bioneers and I organized an Unreasonable Women retreat with 35 women in Southern California. Diane was a force in that gathering and as a fourth-generation shrimper, she then organized all of us to join her in the Texas Gulf to expose what the chemical companies were doing to destroy the livelihoods of fisher people. She had already sunk her shrimp boat to stop a toxic waste hole being created by one of the corporations.
Diane’s solidarity is not just to her local community, it extends to people around the world harmed by corporate wrongdoings. Along with now Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, I joined Diane in the back of her pick-up truck outside of Dow chemical on a hunger strike in August 2002. She was standing in solidarity with hunger strikers in India who were protesting the Bhopal tragedy that killed thousands and they were demanding accountability.
Just weeks later, George Bush called for a war on an innocent country, Iraq, and Diane joined Medea in a Congressional hearing, sitting behind Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld with banners calling for diplomacy, not military intervention. They were arrested for their intervention, but their protest was seen around the world. Even bolder, Diane actually climbed the White House fence to protest U.S. intervention and the prison in Guantanamo. Confronted by police with assault weapons with their ominous guard dogs, she was again arrested and spent time in jail.
Diane joined a CODEPINK delegation to Iraq to the support the weapons inspectors, and then camped outside the White House as we launched our 6-month vigil against the war. She led CODEPINK in many hunger strikes, including our month-long Troops Home Fast. She was arrested so many times disrupting war mongers in the nation's capital that she was kicked out of DC for an entire year!
After the enormous 2010 BP oil spill that devastated the Gulf, Diane called her CODEPINK sisters to come to Houston for a raucous semi-naked, oil-covered protest outside BP headquarters. Our message? Our bodies are not indecent, but your oil spill is! She then came to DC for a Congressional hearing on BP and poured oil on herself right inside the hearing room. Yes, she was arrested yet again!
More recently, Diane achieved a remarkable victory, winning a landmark case against Formosa Plastics for illegally dumping toxic plastic waste in the Texas Gulf. She has dedicated the $50 million settlement to wetland rehabilitation, environmental research and tracking Formosa’s every move!
Diane has been part of CODEPINK since the day we were founded and has been with us in action for 20 years. She fights for her fisher people and her bay. She fights for people all over the world. She deeply understands and feels the connections between the environment and war. She is our hero and we are so thrilled that she is receiving this MOST WELL DESERVED recognition.
Congratulations, Diane. We love you.