Houston, TX (February 1, 2023) Today marks the start of Black History Month in America. It’s the time of year where we celebrate the accomplishments and milestones achieved by those who came before us.
This year, the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice will be highlighting environmental justice pioneers who helped cultivate the movement and continue to keep the movement thriving.
Dr. Robert D. Bullard
Dr. Robert D. Bullard is the founding director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice and distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University. He received his Ph.D. degree in sociology from Iowa State University.
Here are a five facts about him:
- He has authored 18 books that address environmental racism, urban land use, housing, transportation, sustainability, smart growth, climate justice, and community resilience
- He is a proud Viet Nam Era U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
- His Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality was the first book to introduce readers to the field of environmental justice (Westview Press, 1990).
- In 2013, he became the first African American to receive the Sierra Club John Muir Award.
- In 2021, President Joe Biden named him to the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC).
Dr. Beverly Wright
Dr. Beverly L. Wright is an environmental justice scholar, advocate, author, civic leader, professor of Sociology, and the Founder and Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ), the first-ever environmental justice center in the United States.
Here are a few facts about her:
- She developed the “communiversity model”, a partnership between communities and universities that integrates community concerns and real-life experiences into research and policymaking for academic educators and researchers.
- She currently sits on more than 20 boards including the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC).
- She was recognized by the Grios as one of its 100 History Makers in the Making in 2010.
- She co-authored Race, Place & the Environment After Hurricane Katrina from Westview Press, and The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How The Government Response Endangers African-American Communities from New York University Press.
To read her full bio click here.
Join us daily as we share the history of Black EJ leaders around the world.
Joy Semien is the founder of L.E.E.D. (Listen, Engage, Educate and Drive). As a research scientist, her work explores the intersectionality of hazards, race, and environmental justice within marginalized communities. Through her research, she seeks to develop methodologies to turn research into action in an effort to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Here are a few facts about her:
- She is from Geismar, Louisiana.
- She is a doctoral candidate at Texas A & M University in the Urban and Regional Sciences program.
- She has served as a research assistant/scholar on nearly a dozen projects.
- She is a published author and public speaker.
For more information about Joy Semien and L.E.E.D click here.
Vanessa Nakate is a climate activist from Uganda . She is the founder of the Rise up Climate Movement, which aims to amplify the voices of activists from Africa. Her work includes raising awareness to the danger of climate change, the causes and the impacts.
Here are a few a facts about her:
- She holds a degree in Business Administration in Marketing from Makerere University Business School.
- Vanessa was one of the young climate activists who were chosen to speak at the COP25 gathering in Spain, and she was one of 20 climate activists who penned a letter addressed to the participants of the World Economic Forum in Davos, calling on them to stop subsidizing fossil fuels.
- She spearheaded the campaign to save Congo’s rainforest, which is facing massive deforestation. This campaign later spread to other countries from Africa to Europe.
- She has won the following awards 2021 – Haub Law Environmental Award, presented by the Pace University School of Law, 2022 – Helmut Schmidt Future Prize, presented by the Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung, Die Zeit and The New Institute and
For more information about Vanessa Nakate and Rise Up Climate Movement click here.
Michael S. Regan was sworn in as the 16th Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency on March 11, 2021, becoming the first Black man and second person of color to lead the U.S. EPA.
Administrator Regan is a native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he developed a passion for the environment while hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather, and exploring the vast lands, waters, and inner Coastal Plain of North Carolina.
Here are a few facts about him:
- Prior to his nomination as EPA Administrator, Michael Regan served as the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
- Administrator Regan served as Associate Vice President of U.S. Climate and Energy, and as Southeast Regional Director of the Environmental Defense Fund
- Regan is a graduate of the North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, making him the first EPA Administrator to have graduated from a Historically Black College and University.
For more information about Michael Regan and the EPA click here.
Elizabeth Wathuti is a passionate environmentalist and climate activist from Kenya. She is the founder of Green Generation Initiative (GGI) and the Head of Campaigns and Coordinator of Daima Coalition for the Protection of Urban Green Spaces at the Wangari Maathai Foundation. She served as Global South Youth Co-chair for the COP26 Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council and addressed world leaders at the World Leaders’ Summit opening ceremony at COP26 in Glasgow.
Here are a few facts about her:
- She was the 4th recipient of the Wangari Maathai scholarship award through which she decided to focus on a solution to the climate and ecological crisis in her community.
- Her organization has impacted more than 20,000 people.
- Her organization is committed to raising a socially and environmentally responsible generation of youth, women and children through nature-based solutions for a sustainable future.
For more information about Elizabeth Wathuti and the Green Generation Initiative click here.