HPJC’s Annual Peacemaker Awards Ceremony

Houston Peace & Justice Center honored several heroes in our community. They received their recognition at the HPJC’s Annual Peacemaker Awards Ceremony.

National Peacemaker Awardee:

Texas Observer logo

The Texas Observer is a progressive nonprofit news outlet and print magazine covering the Lone Star State. The Observer strives to make Texas a more equitable place through investigative reporting, narrative storytelling, and political and cultural coverage and commentary. They dig beyond the headlines and contextualize news events. Their essays, reviews, and criticism seek to create a new cultural canon and challenge existing mythologies.

Since its founding in 1954, the Observer has focused on communities whose stories are too often ignored or poorly told. It seeks not only to inform, but to empower their readers, as they work to hold public officials and corporations accountable. Their reporters recognize that oppressed people are experts on their own lives and trust their expertise.

The Texas Observer’s journalism is fact-based and rigorous, and they prize writing that entertains as it informs. They value history as a reporting tool that allows us to interrogate the origins of policies and to correct narratives that whitewash exploitation, dispossession, and genocide.

Local Peacemaker Awardees:

  • Kristen Schlemmer is a lawyer who works every day to secure water justice in her hometown of Houston. As the Legal Director of Bayou City Waterkeeper since 2018, her work confronts the many facets of water injustice, from water pollution and infrastructure failures, to wetlands destruction and flooding, to inequities in climate mitigation and disaster recovery. In 2021, Kristen helped secure a $2 billion consent decree that will transform Houston’s wastewater infrastructure over the next generation.
  • Jacilet Griffin formed “From Custody to Casket” after her son was murdered in the Harris County Jail over a year ago.  The Texas Rangers investigated his murder after the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death a homicide.   The Sheriff’s Office continually lied about the circumstances, once claiming he might have died from food poisoning, then claiming he might have died from a friendly game of slap boxing.  They (HCSO) hid the circumstances and claimed they did not know what happened the entire time.
  • Lorena Perez McGill is an immigration attorney, and has taught at American University – Washington College of Law, the University of Houston Law Center, and the Georgetown University Law Center. She is Founder and Managing Partner of Perez McGill Law Firm in Spring, TX, and represents clients from Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Russia, and Venezuela, in US immigration law matters. She is also an active volunteer attorney, representing immigrants and low-income victims of crimes and domestic violence.