The Toyota Green Initiative (TGI) recently honored several Birmingham leaders, including Mayor William Bell, for their achievements in sustainability and community progress. The reception took place at Galley & Garden restaurant. TGI is an environmental stewardship platform that educates historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) students, alumni, and their surrounding community about the benefits of sustainable living.
During the Coca-Cola Magic City Classic, TGI celebrated six years of partnership with HBCUs. The group joined several local partners to present a series of signature events with the end goal of empowering and influencing members of the Birmingham community about the benefits of adopting a greener lifestyle.
“We are deeply committed to the message of preserving our communities and making sure African-Americans position themselves as leaders in sustainability lifestyles,” said Jim Colon, vice president of African-American Business Strategy for Toyota Motor Sales, Inc.
Mayor William Bell was honored for his commitments to sustainability progress including efforts that led the city of Birmingham to become the first community in Alabama to achieve certification under the national STAR Community Rating System (STAR), a renowned sustainability rating system for cities, towns, and counties across the country.
“We were extremely excited to be back in Birmingham for the Magic City Classic, and to acknowledge all of the hard work the city is doing to further position the community as a sustainability leader,” said Colon.
In addition to Bell, TGI also honored Yohance Owens, Executive Director of the Village Creek Human & Environmental Society and D’Juan Coleon, Executive Director of PURE (Project Urban Renewable Energy). Owens has achieved success for his leadership work to improve the Village Creek Environment to help benefit more than 300,000 residents, businesses, schools, and churches in its watershed. Coleon was recognized for his organization’s commitment to educating communities to advance urban renewal, energy efficiency, and green technology.
The TGI Coalition is a collection of celebrities and environmental experts who speak about relevant ways to go green, participate in panel discussions and/or host workshops at TGI sponsored HBCU sports events in Birmingham, Ala., Charlotte, N.C., and Houston, TX. Coalition members include actor Lance Gross, green bloggers and environmentalists Yoli Ouiya and Alexandra Elle, former NFL player Will Witherspoon, and student ambassador and TGI Campus Contest winner Stephen Graddick.