Ed Pettitt, a Graduate Research Assistant at the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice, has been given the "Community Champion of Park and Nature Equity" award by Healthy Outdoor Communities.
This prestigious award was presented at the inaugural Communities and Parks Convening held at Emancipation Park in Houston's Third Ward on Monday, December 11th.
In his heartfelt acceptance statement, Ed expressed gratitude and dedicated the acknowledgment to trailblazers like Caroll Parrot Blue and Kirk Jackson, emphasizing the importance of their legacy in fostering equitable access to nature. He highlighted his commitment to this cause, specifically mentioning the ongoing transformation of University Village Parkland, supported by the Kinder Foundation. Ed has actively contributed to addressing the park-space deficit in Houston's Third Ward, including the creation of the 3rd Ward Chess Park and the founding of Friends of Columbia Tap, a trails and greenspace advocacy group.
Ed Pettitt, Graduate Research Assistant at the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice and Vice President of the Greater Third Ward Super Neighborhood, was featured in a recent article, "Houston parks report unveils disparities in low-income, predominantly minority areas" by Yilun Cheng, published on December 14, 2023, in the Houston Chronicle.
The report underscores funding imbalances, with certain sectors having substantial resources while others face significant shortfalls. Ed emphasized these disparities during a city budget meeting, stating, "We've redlined certain communities out of funding."
Mayor-elect John Whitmire, recognizing the pressing need to bridge the gap in park accessibility, has pledged to take action. During his campaign, he committed to securing funding from Austin, improving Houston's relations with the state government, and encouraging other local entities to share the financial responsibility.
"We can't have two Houstons," Mayor-elect Whitmire emphasized during a mayoral forum in October, highlighting the importance of equitable access to parks for all Houstonians.