Resolution J842-2013

Mourning the death of Wangari Maathai, distinguished citizen and devoted member of her community



  • Mar 14, 2013: ADOPTED
  • Mar 12, 2013: REFERRED TO FINANCE


LEGISLATIVE  RESOLUTION  mourning  the death of Wangari Maathai, distin-
guished citizen and devoted member of her community

WHEREAS, It is the custom of this Legislative Body  to  pay  tribute  to
citizens  of  the  State  of  New York whose lifework and civic endeavor
served to enhance the quality of life in their communities and the great
State of New York; and
  WHEREAS, Wangari Maathai of Kenya died on September 25, 2011,  at  the
age of 71; and
  WHEREAS, Environmentalist Wangari Maathai began a movement to reforest
her  country  of  Kenya  by  paying  poor women a few shillings to plant
trees; she went on to become the first African  woman  to  win  a  Nobel
Peace Prize; and
  WHEREAS,  Born  on April 1, 1940, in Nyeri, Kenya, in the foothills of
Mount Kenya, Wangari Maathai was a star student, winning  a  scholarship
to  study  biology at Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas,
receiving a degree in 1964; she subsequently earned a Master of  Science
degree from the University of Pittsburgh; and
  WHEREAS,  Wangari  Maathai went on to obtain a doctorate in veterinary
anatomy at the University of Nairobi, becoming the first woman  in  East
or Central Africa to hold such a degree; and
  WHEREAS, This remarkable woman distinguished herself in her profession
and  by  her  sincere  dedication  and  substantial  contribution to the
welfare of her community; and
  WHEREAS, Wangari Maathai's commitment to excellence, and her spirit of
humanity, carried over into all fields of enterprise, including charita-
ble and civic endeavors; and
  WHEREAS, One of the most widely  respected  women  on  the  continent,
Wangari  Maathai played many roles - environmentalist, feminist, politi-
cian, professor, human rights advocate and head of the Green Belt  Move-
ment,  which  she founded in 1977 with the mission to plant trees across
Kenya, fight erosion, create firewood for  fuel,  and  create  jobs  for
women; and
  WHEREAS,  Wangari  Maathai  won  the  Peace Prize in 2004 for what the
Nobel committee called "her  contribution  to  sustainable  development,
democracy  and  peace";  it  was  a moment of immense pride in Kenya and
across Africa; and
  WHEREAS, Her Green Belt Movement has  planted  more  than  30  million
trees  in  Africa  and has helped nearly 900,000 women, according to the
United Nations, while inspiring similar efforts in other  African  coun-
tries; and
  WHEREAS,  Wangari Maathai toured the world, speaking out against envi-
ronmental degradation  and  poverty,  which  she  said  were  intimately
connected; and
  WHEREAS,  Wangari Maathai received many honorary degrees, including an
honorary doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006, as well as
numerous awards, including the French Legion of Honor and Japan's  Grand
Cordon  of  the  Order  of  the  Rising Sun; she authored several books,
including UNBOWED: A MEMOIR, published in 2006; and
  WHEREAS, Wangari  Maathai  is  survived  by  three  children,  Waweru,
Wanjira and Muta, and a granddaughter; and
  WHEREAS,  Armed  with  a  humanistic spirit and imbued with a sense of
compassion, Wangari Maathai leaves  behind  a  legacy  which  will  long
endure the passage of time and will remain as a comforting memory to all
she served and befriended; now, therefore, be it

  RESOLVED,  That  this  Legislative  Body pause in its deliberations to
mourn the death of Wangari Maathai, distinguished  citizen  and  devoted
member of her community; and be it further
  RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to the family of Wangari Maathai.


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