Cynthia Jennings was living less than a mile away from a massive landfill, located right next to a predominantly black community in Hartford, Connecticut, when she realized she needed to take action. Toxic ash, smoke from periodic fires and the stench of trash were staples in her neighborhood—and when a particularly bad fire forced her family to move entirely, she knew it was time to do something. Cynthia became a civil rights lawyer, was elected to Hartford City Council, and was instrumental in winning the closure of the landfill in 2015. Her work has had a profound impact on the environment in Harford and she has become a leader and mentor across the region. She has been a leader and ally in Community Action Works’s network for nearly two decades, serving on the leadership team for the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, a long-term grassroots partner. She is no longer on the Hartford City Council, and currently works full-time as an attorney.