Earth Day 2023: Justice in Focus
915 E. University St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
About the event:
After three years of COVID, we are emerging from multiple crises: global pandemic, economic downturn and mass inflation, and a crisis of racial inequality. Earth Day 2023: Justice in Focus seeks to put justice and Earth in the same conversation, removing the silos of environment, human social systems, and political ecology. The University of Michigan, led by the Tishman Center for Social Justice and the Environment at the School for Environment and Sustainability, will bring forth a critical dialogue with emerging and powerful leaders on the frontlines. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from local and national leaders on the inner workings of organizations, solutions, and leadership that emerged through the pandemic.
New Times, Dynamic Leadership
Locally and nationally over the last few years, we were put to the challenge, navigating COVID, racism, and economic crises in the age of climate catastrophe. Leaders all over the nation were asked to step up. Communities historically disinvested struggled to get basic resources while federal and state resources were lagging behind. And yet, we can only imagine more crises unfolding as climate change unfolds.
New times, dynamic leadership asks emerging leaders how they used skills, resources, and social networks to navigate the complex challenges before us. What have we learned through the pandemic? What is needed amidst what’s been called the largest Civil Rights movement in the United States? How must we transform our systems to meet these challenges as climate catastrophe unfolds?
Deputy Director of Advocacy and Organizing
Ironbound Community Corporation
Maria Lopez-Nunez (she/her) grew up in Bushwick and remembers being displaced multiple times by racism and violence, which sparked her commitment to fight extractive industries and end sacrifice zones once and for all. The Ironbound district of Newark, New Jersey where she resides, is predominantly Black and Latinx, and is one of the most toxic neighborhoods in the country. In her role as Deputy Director of Advocacy and Organizing of Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC); she challenges the current political system, and holds power brokers and polluters accountable while fighting for environmental, housing, immigrant, and racial justice. She has organized and helped the passage of historic and landmark city and state legislation such as the Right to Counsel, the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), and the Environmental Justice Cumulative Impacts Bill, all of which will significantly increase the quality of life of those that are often deemed disposable. She currently serves on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, on the board for Climate Justice Alliance, and is the Co-Chair of the Grassroots Caucus for Building Equity and Alignment for Environmental Justice.
Director of Environmental Justice
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright serves as the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest’s (NYLPI) Director of Environmental Justice. In this capacity, he guides and coordinates the organization’s EJ strategy, litigation, organizing, and advocacy initiatives. Prior to joining NYLPI, Anthony was the Policy Coordinator and Green New Deal Policy Lead with the Climate Justice Alliance, where he assisted with developing and promulgating local, state, and federal organizing and policy strategy for the alliance’s, then, 74 grassroots, frontline-led organizations across the country.
A veteran of social justice campaigns, Anthony helped lead the effort to make the former Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative the first health insurance provider in the state’s history to remove transgender exclusions from all of their policies in 2012. He has acted as a policy advisor for numerous candidates for elected office including Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign in 2020, and Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaigns in 2020 and 2016 when he represented the campaign during testimony to the DNC Platform Committee.
Anthony was selected as one of the Grist.org “50 Environmentalists You’ll Be Talking About” in 2016, and recognized as one of New York City's 100 most influential environmental leaders in 2022 by City and State Magazine. He’s written numerous articles discussing the axiomatic nexus of the climate crisis and racial injustice and has spoken on the subject at universities throughout the U.S. and in Europe. Anthony serves on the Board of Directors of Friends of the Earth, Backbone Campaign, and, Climate Critical Earth, and Center for Sustainable Economy. He is a proud, participating member of the Black Alliance for Peace, and the Movement for Black Lives Black Hive and is blessed to be the father of his energetic and very loquacious 7-year-old son, Zahir Cielo (aka “Bean”). He received his B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy, and his master’s degree in Community Development, Environmental Science, and Public Policy from Clark University in Worcester, MA.
Founder and Co-director
People’s Utility Commons
isaac sevier is an energy engineer and policy advocate with extensive experience with policy and investment that addresses interlocking issues of race, class, and climate vulnerability in California, nationwide, and at the federal level. They are a Founding Co-Director of the People’s Utility Commons, an organization creating tools and analysis with frontline communities to end utility shutoffs permanently and build new utility governance as a key intervention for climate justice. To support movement infrastructure that changes policy and politics, isaac has joined collective efforts to design and launch the Equitable Building Electrification Fund, the California Green New Deal coalition, and the Red, Black & Green New Deal initiative. They live on unceded Ramaytush Ohlone land in San Francisco.
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