Michigan Environmental Justice Summit 2020

Event Date: 
Thursday, February 13, 2020, 6:00 pm

ALL EVENTS will be held at Rackham Auditorium
915 E. Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Commemorating the 30th anniversary of Michigan's Conference on Race and the Environment & Looking Towards the Future

FEBRUARY 13, 2020:
The School for Environment and Sustainability honors the 30th Anniversary of the "Incidence of Environmental Hazards Conference," which helped put environmental justice (EJ) on the national radar for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Building on the momentum of the 1990 conference, the University of Michigan soon became the first university to establish environmental justice as an academic field of study.

The Michigan Environmental Justice Summit 2020 will take lessons from the past and look towards the future. The event will highlight the challenges and opportunities now—and for the future—of environmental justice, and how YOU can make an impact and create a more equitable, inclusive planet for all.

As part of U-M’s year-long series "Earth Day at 50," the university is working with local and regional partners to catalyze a mass movement for climate and environmental justice. Now more than ever, justice must be at the center of today’s movement in order to bring about true transformative change.

1:30 – 3:00 PM

Join us for a high-energy event showcasing interdisciplinary research and projects from the next generation of environmental justice advocates. In a series of fast-paced Flash Talks, six students will present their findings on a wide spectrum of pressing environmental justice issues—ranging from food-access inequities to the restoration of tribal lands. Working across disciplines with community partners, these students bring fresh voices and a sharp lens to equity, justice, and environmental challenges. Check back on the event website for the full line-up of talks to come.

3:00 – 4:00 PM

Connect with EJ event panelists, and other leaders, organizers, and activists in your community and beyond. Build your network in this informal event designed to promote conversation and coalition-building. Light refreshments will keep you fueled up the exciting events ahead!

4:00 – 5:00 PM

Engage with community leaders throughout the region who have “boots on the ground” in the progress and pursuit of environmental justice today. This action-oriented panel will feature President and CEO of the Detroit-based Green Door Initiative Donele Wilkins, and Sierra Club Regional Organizing Manager Rhonda Anderson, along with members from the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, the Ecology Center, and additional NGOs and nonprofits leading environmental justice action in Michigan.

6:00 – 7:30 PM

Michelle Martinez

Michelle Martinez (MS ’08) SEAS alumna

Panel Moderator
Coordinator, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition
Detroit-based EJ activist, speaker, writer, and mother

Robert Bullard

Dr. Robert Bullard

Known as the “Father of Environmental Justice”
Named one of 13 Environmental Leaders of the Century (Newsweek, 2008)

Rhiana Gunn-Wright

Rhiana Gunn-Wright

Policy Director, New Consensus 
An architect of the Green New Deal

Charles Lee

Charles Lee

Senior Policy Advisor, EPA
EJ pioneer and principal author of the landmark report, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States

Regina Strong

Regina Strong

Environmental Justice Public Advocate, 
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy

Beverly Wright

Dr. Beverly Wright

Founder and Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice

Bunyan Bryant and Paul Mohai

The 1990 “Michigan Conference on Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards," organized by Bunyan Bryant and Paul Mohai, helped to springboard environmental justice as a legitimate academic endeavor, and sparked high-level government meetings. These meetings contributed to President Bill Clinton signing the Executive Order “Federal Action to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations” and a special task force by the EPA.

1990 Michigan Conference on Race

Original 1990 Conference Attendees at the Dana Building: Starting from the top, from left to right: Patrick West (U of M), Paul Mohai (U of M), Hubert Watters (EPA), Randall Shobe (EPA), David Grim (EPA), Arthur Turner (EPA), Kwame Sarpong (UMass), Henry Davis (U of M), Harvey White (U of Pittsburgh), Charles Lee (UCC), Robert D. Bullard (UCR), Stephanie Cronen (U of M), Cynthia Harris (ATSDR), Beverly Wright (Wake Forest), Conner Bailey (Auburn), Bunyan Bryant (U of M), Cheryl Calloway (MDNR), Angela Nagel (U of M), Dorceta Taylor (Yale, now U of M), Ivette Perfecto (U of M), Alfred Dorsey (ATSDR)