Meet Sharon Lavigne
The daughter of civil rights activists, Sharon Lavigne grew up living off the land — with gardens, cattle, pigs, and chickens — in St. James Parish, Louisiana. After a long career working as a special education teacher, she decided to dedicate herself to seeking justice for her community and founded Rise St. James, a faith-based, grassroots environmental organization, in October 2018. As Executive Director, Sharon has mobilized to stop the construction of a $1.25B manufacturing plant that would have generated one million pounds of liquid hazardous waste annually and successfully stopped the construction of a $1.25B plastics manufacturing plant alongside the Mississippi River. Sharon is a 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize winner for North America.