2022 Writing Award Winner Announced

I think with land stewardship, my vision is that the youth are also empowered to do that intergenerational learning and teaching, because we often learn best from our elders; but oftentimes in school settings, we are only learning from the teachers, so we don’t get those intergenerational approaches or relationships that are essential as we move forward.
—Jessica Hernandez

2022 Writing Award Winner Announced

We are proud to announce that Jessica Hernandez is the winner of the 2022 Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Annual Award on Business and Society Writing.

Creative Force Foundation Statement

Jessica Hernandez, Ph.D., is the second recipient of this new award that honors young authors (ages 18–35) who offer solutions to urgent problems facing American society and the world. An Indigenous scholar, scientist, and community advocate, she is the author of Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science (2022). In the book, she breaks down why Western conservationism isn’t working, and offers more effective Indigenous models informed by case studies and backed by science. Raised in South Central Los Angeles, she became the first alum from her high school to receive and complete a doctoral degree. Her forthcoming second book is Growing Papaya Trees: Nurturing Indigenous Roots of Climate Displacement & Justice.

About the Winner

Dr. Jessica Hernandez (Binnizá & Maya Ch’orti’) is a transnational Indigenous scholar, scientist, and community advocate based in the Pacific Northwest. She has an interdisciplinary academic background ranging from marine sciences to environmental physics. She advocates for climate, energy, and environmental justice through her scientific and community work. Her book, Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science, breaks down why western conservationism isn’t working—and offers Indigenous models informed by case studies, personal stories, and family histories that center the voices of Latin American women and land protectors. In 2022, she was named by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful women of Central America. She holds appointments at Sustainable Seattle, City of Seattle’s Urban Forestry Commission, and the International Mayan League.

Statement of 2022 Award Winner
Jessica Hernandez

(Excerpts from Interview by Bruce Piasecki and Mia Funk)

I live my life in embodying the teaching my grandmother instilled in me—that no matter which lens I walked on, I had to learn how to build relationships with the land and the indigenous peoples whose land I reside on to become a welcomed-to guest. As a displaced indigenous woman, my desire to return to my ancestral homeland will always be there, and this is why I continue to support my communities in the diaspora. However, my relationships are not only with my community, but also the indigenous communities whose land I am displaced on, and this is the foundation of my work while residing in the Pacific Northwest. I strongly believe that in order to start healing indigenous landscapes, everyone must understand oppositionality as either settlers, unwanted guests, or welcomed-to guests, and that is ultimately determined by the indigenous communities’ land you currently reside on or occupy.

This teaching has also helped me envision my goals in life. Every day I get closer to becoming an ancestor because life is not guaranteed but rather a gift from those who are now in the spiritual world.

Continue reading →

2022 Albany Book Festival

Award Ceremony

Saturday, September 17, 2022
12:30 P.M.
University at Albany
Campus Center Boardroom
(Parking Map)

The $5,000 Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Award on Business and Society Writing will be presented to Jessica Hernandez at the New York State Author and Poet Award Ceremony, which will kick off the 2022 Albany Book Festival.

Watch the video teaser for Jessica’s book here.

Jessica Hernandez
Jessica Hernandez

Fresh Banana Leaves by Jessica Hernandez

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