Environmental justice & MLK

Some folks in the environmental justice community point to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s support of the 1968 Memphis Santitation Workers Strike as one of the first campaigns to bring environmental justice issues into public visibility. If you are looking for an event to attend in observance of MLK Day on Monday, January 15, below are two events in Southeast Michigan that will examine issues concerning people of color and the environment.

1. Building a Stronger Environmental Movement in Michigan: Why Diversity and Race Matter

Monday, January 15, 2007
3:00-5:00 pm Program
5:00-6:30 pm Networking Reception

Arab American National Museum
13624 Michigan Ave
Dearborn, Michigan

David Yarnold, Executive Vice President, Environmental Defense
As Executive Vice President, David Yarnold is responsible for all operations, programs and fundraising at Environmental Defense, which he joined in April, 2005. He is a boundary-crosser, a non-profit leader from the for-profit ranks — with a media background. Yarnold spent nearly 27 years at the San Jose Mercury News where, as editor, he shared a Pulitzer Prize and helped the paper become one of the one of the nation’s most acclaimed publications. Yarnold’s leadership at the San Jose Mercury News helped the paper to be at the forefront of diversity and furthered a dialogue about diversity in newsrooms across the country.

Iantha Gantt-Wright, The Kenian Group
Iantha Gantt-Wright has 20 years of experience working with environmental organizations and is a national leader on issues of social justice and diversity in this community. Iantha currently serves as President of The Kenian Group Diversity Consultants and Strategic Planners (The Kenian Group). Most of her work focuses on environmental and public land organizations. Gantt-Wright spearheaded the Summit 2005: Diverse Partners for Environmental Progress, a conversation between the varying segments of the environmental community in October 2005.

Response Panel:
James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council
Lisa Oliver King, Our Kitchen Table
Diana Seales, East Michigan Environmental Action Council
Guy Williams, G.O. Williams & Associates, LLC
Lisa Wozniak, Michigan League of Conservation Voters

For more information, contact Kathryn Savoie, (313) 216-2225, ksavoie [at] accesscommunity [dot] org.

2. Dean’s Speaker Series and Martin Luther King Day Lecture, Environmental Justice: Civil Rights for the 21st Century

Monday, January 15, 2007
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
School of Natural Resources and Environment
440 Church St.
Room 1040
Sponsor: School of Natural Resources and Environment, School of Social Work, Center for Afroamerican and African Studies

Majora Carter, the founder and executive director of Sustainable South Bronx, a grassroots organization dedicated to urban revitalization in the nation’s poorest community, will be the featured speaker on Jan. 15 at the School of Natural Resources and Environment during its annual observance of Martin Luther King Day.

The environmental-justice activist and MacArthur Fellow will deliver her formal remarks, “Environmental Justice: Civil Rights for the 21st Century,” at 5 p.m. in room 1040 of the Dana Building. The event is cosponsored by the School of Natural Resources and Environment, the School of Social Work, and the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.


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