Denver, Colo., November 9, 2010 —
The American Public Health Association Presidential Citation, which is not presented every year but only on occasions of unusual merit, was awarded this year to Robert Garcia, JD, for his passionate work on behalf of social justice. The award was presented during the Association’s 138th Annual Meeting and Exposition in Denver.
Executive director and counsel of The City Project in Los Angeles, Garcia is an internationally recognized attorney who engages, educates and empowers communities to achieve equal access to public resources, especially public recreational facilities. The City Project's mission is to achieve justice, democracy and livability for all, and is a nationally recognized leader in influencing the investment of public resources to achieve results that are equitable, enhance human health and the environment and promote economic vitality for all communities by focusing on parks and recreation, playgrounds, schools, health and transit.
Garcia is an outstanding leader who brings together legal expertise, understanding of the broad social determinants of health and the highest commitment to engaging, educating and empowering communities to achieve equal access to public resources. Under his direction, The City Project has influenced more than $20 billion in funding for under-served communities working at the intersection of social justice, sustainable regional planning and smart growth.
Garcia is a graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Law School, where he served on the Board of Editors of the Stanford Law Review. He was recognized as one of the most influential Latinos in 2008. Among his many other recognitions, he received the Robert Garcia Environmental Justice Award named in his honor for improving the environment in California, the President's Award from the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the Rigoberto Menchu Award.
Garcia understands work that influences the public's health must be done on a grand scale and is engage many disciplines. He uses the tools of coalition building, multidisciplinary research and analysis with academics and practitioners, strategic media campaigns including traditional and new social media, policy and legal advocacy outside the courts, and creatively engaging opponents to find common ground including access to justice through the courts.
As a result of his work, the park-poor and income-poor community of Baldwin Hills is proceeding with the development of the largest urban park designed in the United States in more than a century.