Environmental Justice in Practice

January 26, 2018 7:00 am — 4:00 pm
Detroit, MI (and webcast)

The purpose of this conference was to discuss a spectrum of emerging legal issues with a focus on environmental justice, as well as to introduce a wide-ranging exploration of career opportunities in the EJ field. This conference featured environmental law experts on panels including Careers in Environmental Justice, Energy & Climate Justice, Water Access and Affordability, and Urban Air Quality. In addition to the four panel discussions, environmental leaders and activists were featured in the opening remarks and two keynote addresses.

The conference was intended for a general audience: members of the public came together with lawyers, law students, academics, civil rights and social justice advocates and activists, and community groups to discuss the most pressing issues in their communities in 2018 and beyond.

Opening Remarks:
Dr. Agustin V. Arbulu
, Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR)

Keynote Address 1:
Mustafa Santiago Ali
, Senior Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization, Hip Hop Caucus

Panel 1 covered Environmental Justice issues related to energy production and distribution and climate change impacts on EJ communities.

Panel 1: Energy and Climate Justice
Denise Abdul-Rahman
, Environmental Climate Justice Chair, NAACP Indiana
Juliana Pino, Policy Director, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
Tony Reames, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan

Panel 2 featured an in-depth exploration of Environmental Justice issues related to water access in Detroit, Chicago and Flint, including shutoffs and affordability challenges.

Panel 2: Water Access and Affordability
Mark P. Fancher
, Staff Attorney, Racial Justice Project, ACLU of Michigan
Monica Lewis-Patrick, Co-Founder, President, and CEO, We The People Of Detroit
Cyndi Roper, Senior Policy Advocate, Natural Resources Defense Council

Lunch keynote speaker Charles Lee, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Environmental Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Panel 3 explored air quality challenges, regulation and enforcement in Environmental Justice communities, state and local perspectives.

Panel 3: Urban Air Quality
Rashida Tlaib, Community Partnerships & Development Director, Sugar Law Center
State Representative Stephanie Chang, Michigan House of Representatives
Michelle Martinez, Executive Director, Third Horizon Consulting and Coordinator, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition

Panel 4 featured professionals in the environmental field focusing on a variety of opportunities for new attorneys, organizers, and other roles.

Panel 4: Careers in Environmental Justice
Jeremy Orr
, Vice-Chair, Environmental Justice Committee - Civil Rights & Social Justice Section, American Bar Association (ABA), Moderator
Marnese Jackson, Regional Field Organizer, NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice Program
Maria Thomas, Power Up Program Leader, Soulardarity
Jalonne White-Newsome, Senior Program Officer, Environment, The Kresge Foundation

Cosponsored by: Wayne State University Law School's Transnational Environmental Law Clinic and Environmental Law Society, University of Chicago Law School's Abrams Environmental Law Clinic, the American Bar Association's Environmental Justice Committee of the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, and the Environmental Law Institute.