Rose Braz, our beloved climate campaign director, died on May 3, 2017 at age 55, after a three-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer.
Rose joined the Center for Biological Diversity in 2009, founding our grassroots climate organizing program. She worked tirelessly to build and strengthen ties between climate, environmental and social justice, labor and faith organizations. She launched several influential national climate and anti-fracking coalitions, including Californians Against Fracking, the statewide coalition of more than 200 organizations working to ban fracking in California.
A tireless, fierce and deeply empathetic organizer, Rose coined the phrase “Climate Leaders Don’t Frack,” led the ongoing campaign seeking to compel Gov. Jerry Brown to ban fracking in the Golden State and helped pass fracking bans in six California counties.
Rose also launched Americans Against Fracking, the national coalition to ban fracking, and Climate Reality Check, a project of Public Citizen and the Center with more than 1,600 organizational members working to strengthen community organizing on climate. She ran the Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign, which spurred nearly 100 cities to pass resolutions in support of using the Clean Air Act to slash greenhouse pollution.
Before coming to work at the Center, Rose gained great renown as a human-liberation activist. She graduated from UC Berkeley law school in 1992 and worked for several years as a criminal defense attorney, defending political protestors, among others, and advocating for the release of political prisoners.
Rose cofounded Critical Resistance, the movement that would become the first national organization dedicated to the abolition of the prison-industrial complex. Thanks to Rose’s vision, which noted scholar Ruthie Wilson Gilmore characterized as “a restless, impatient, inspired political imagination,” Critical Resistance forged enduring alliances between anti-prison and environmental and social-justice organizations including public-sector labor unions.
Said Angela Davis: “The international abolitionist movement owes a greater debt to Rose Braz than can ever be adequately acknowledged. Rose has always modeled the dedication, compassion, and humility that distinguish our very best social justice leaders. I consider myself one of the many who have been profoundly inspired by her example. Wherever there is struggle, resistance, and dreams of a better future, Rose’s spirit and legacy will be secure.”
Rose grew up in Concord, Calif., with her brother Joe and parents Ray and Rosalie Braz. In 2008 she married Brent Plater, an environmental attorney who founded the Wild Equity Institute, where she served as chairperson of the board of directors. Rose also had a lifelong love for all animals that manifested in many ways, from her avid birding to her adoption of two rescue dogs, Charlotte and Frosty.
Rose inspired all those she met with the clarity of her moral vision, strength of her love, and profound ability to bring people and organizations together. She was a treasured mentor to countless activists over the course of her extraordinary life and career. We are committed to seeing to completion the many campaigns that Rose helped launch here at the Center, and the continuation of her boundless legacy.
Donations in Rose’s honor can be made to the Wild Equity Institute.