Featured Speakers, Presenters and Panelists
Mustafa Santiago Ali
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF CLIMATE, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE & COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION
HIP HOP CAUCUS
Areas of Expertise:
Environmental Health (and Health Disparities)
A renowned national speaker, policy maker, community liaison, trainer, and facilitator, Mustafa Santiago Ali is the Senior Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization for the Hip Hop Caucus, a national, non-profit and non-partisan organization that connects the Hip Hop community to the civic process to build power and create positive change. As HHC Senior Vice President, he leads the strategic direction, expansion, and operation of the Hip Hop Caucus’ portfolio on Climate, Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization.
Prior to joining the Hip Hop Caucus, Mustafa worked 24 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He joined the EPA as a student and became a founding member of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ). He most recently served as Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization working to elevate environmental justice issues and strengthening environmental justice policies, programs, and initiatives. Mustafa worked for EPA Administrators beginning with William Riley and ending with Scott Pruitt.
Throughout his career, Mustafa has conducted more than 1,000 presentations across the country, including speeches, guest lectures, and training. He has also worked with more than 500 domestic and international communities to secure environmental, health and economic justice. Mustafa specializes in environmental, health, and economic justice issues using a holistic approach to revitalizing vulnerable communities and improving the lives of individuals and families.
Sarah Lillie Anderson is the Founder & CEO of Lillie Leaf Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm which delivers professional services to those working with natural resources in urban areas. Throughout her career, Sarah has specialized in professional development for urban greening professionals. She has channeled her passion for supporting urban parks and forestry practitioners via recent Lillie Leaf projects, including delivering the conference program for the Greater & Greener 2017 International Urban Parks Conference and hosting the first ever Trees for All: Chesapeake Regional Environmental Justice Workshop.
Sarah serves as Vice Chair for the Chesapeake Bay Program Diversity Workgroup, and Chairs the Audubon Naturalist Society Membership Committee. She is active as a community volunteer, speaker, and mentor. Sarah has her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Bowie State University and a dual Undergraduate degree in Urban and Environmental Studies with a certificate in Geographic Information Systems from the University of Pittsburgh.
DIRECTOR, CONSERVATION COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Areas of Expertise:
Environmental Science and Policy
Wildlife Ecology and Management
As Director of Conservation Community Engagement at the National Aquarium (Baltimore), Curtis Bennett works collaboratively with community residents and stakeholders to develop relatable environmental programs and projects that meet the needs of people directly where they are, within their communities. One such project is the Urban Conservation & Education Summer Internship Program, designed to provide opportunities for Baltimore college students to experience environmental stewardship and expose them to career options in conservation. Similarly, his involvement in the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program’s Diversity Workgroup and the State of Maryland’s Project Green Classrooms helps introduce diverse audiences to career pathways in the environmental fields and helps ensure that students not only have opportunities for entry but for matriculation as well.
For a far back as he can remember, Curtis has loved nature and animals. Growing up, his goal was to become a veterinarian. But as he got older, Curtis learned about other opportunities in the environmental fields and discovered wildlife ecology while in college. He knew instantly that was where he needed to be. Curtis earned his Bachelor's of Science degree in environmental science and policy (specializing in wildlife ecology and management) at the University of Maryland, College Park, and his Master's of Science in wildlife conservation at the University of Delaware.
Teri Brezner leads the Environmental Leadership Program's internal and external Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategies and programming, including the design and implementation of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Alumni Network, RAY Marine Conservation Diversity Fellowship and ELP's DEI curriculum. She has spent the last 10+ years designing, facilitating and managing leadership and community development projects for hundreds of diverse leaders working for social justice and social change in more than 7 countries.
Teri is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program. She holds a Masters of Education in Adult Learning and Global Change from the University of British Columbia with a specialization in intercultural training from American University and a Bachelors in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Richmond.
Teri is originally from Canada but has called the DMV area home for the last 11 years.
Kevin T. Bryan
As Senior Policy Director at Keystone Policy Center, Kevin T. Bryan has more than a decade of experience collaborating with other professionals to design, convene, and facilitate multi-party problem-solving aimed at resolving public policy problems of mutual interest. Most recently, Kevin helped guide policy discussions and analysis for coalitions focused on climate and energy legislation and policy, public infrastructure investment, and sustainable consumption. He has led negotiations among stakeholder groups developing consensus policy positions on the economic impacts of climate policy, renewable energy and nuclear power issues, energy technology transformation, and international governance issues.
Prior to his work at Keystone, Kevin spent 10 years with the Meridian Institute, supporting and leading collaborative problem solving efforts on climate change, homeland security, transportation, and sustainable communities. Kevin also worked previously as Senior Coordinator for the National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC) at RESOLVE, Inc., working to identify opportunities for the NWCC to work with individuals and stakeholder groups on wind energy issues. Kevin has worked with federal agencies to help establish guidelines for stakeholder involvement in environmental decision making; and with local governments to address issues and develop solutions for small businesses and residents to implement energy efficiency improvements in their facilities and homes.
Kevin earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Howard University in 1994 and received the Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship in 1996 while undertaking graduate work there in public administration. Kevin was selected in 2002 as a fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) and served on that organization’s Board of Trustees from 2005-2011, including a stint as Board Chairperson from 2008-2010. Kevin has also served as a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution’s Environment and Public Policy Section Leadership Committee.
Kevin and his wife Rosie live in Washington, DC.
As Executive Director for Groundwork DC (GWDC), Ronda Chapman works to advance community well-being including issues such as restorative justice, nutrition, and mindfulness. Her first environmental job out of high school was as a canvasser for Greenpeace USA and throughout the 30 years that followed, Ronda found herself living in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah as an active outdoor recreation enthusiast, earning an environmental history degree from Portland State University, managing sustainability programs for various local government institutions, and training green organizations on diversifying the environmental movement. As a Community Engagement and Equity Specialist for DC Department of Energy and Environment, Ronda provided advice and leadership issues including racial equity and empowerment.
Ronda is a DC native, so the opportunity to lead operations at Groundwork DC, provided her with the chance to bring her experience and expertise to the place she calls home.
As a Senior Associate at The Raben Group, Karen Driscoll supports clients through in-depth research, writing, and event coordination. Working with Liberty Hill Foundation, a public foundation supporting community organizing and advocates at the frontlines of change, Karen managed a campaign geared toward improving outcomes for boys and men of color and developed expertise in coalition-building, local policy engagement, and leadership development.
Karen works with a number of important clients. Her work with Green 2.0 is helping increase diversity in the mainstream environmental movement. Her work with Union Theological Seminary helps highlight the role of faith in politics. Working with the University of Chicago, Karen helps convene civil rights leaders, scholars, and activists to discuss inequality in American cities. Karen’s pursuit of justice and creating a more equitable world inspires her to go the extra mile for any client.
Karen holds a master’s degree in Social Entrepreneurship and Change and a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in International Studies, both from Pepperdine University.
Cherod Hicks is an Environmental Engineer for the Baltimore City Department of Public Works, Office of Engineering and Construction. He is a project manager in the Environmental Engineering Project Delivery Section. He has experience speaking to the importance of environmental engineering practices, how treating stormwater runoff creates potable water, the importance of environmental engineering and the impact engineering departments have on the communities they serve. Cherod works closely with all members of City Council to educate and inform them of environmental projects his department has planned in their districts. He supports community outreach and educating residents when talking about clean water, stormwater, wastewater, flood mitigation, and other environmental impact issues.
Cherod received his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with honors from Morgan State University this past December. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and was president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Section. He is pursuing a Ph. D. in geotechnical engineering.
Joseph J. James
Joseph J. James is President of Agri-Tech Producers, LLC (ATP), an African-American-owned small business, involved in developing and holding innovative processes and technologies, with global applications, involving biomass, bio-remediation, bio-energy and bio-products.
Mr. James has devised a patent-pending, Combined Remediation Biomass and Bio-Product Production (CRBBP) Process, which cost-effectively remediates contaminated soils and water, using the enhanced phytoremediation capabilities of the prodigious root systems of certain bio-crops; then converts the plants and their resulting, lower-cost biomass into various, cost-advantaged bio-products and biofuels.
ATP has also licensed and is commercializing innovative and patented torrefaction (carbonization) technology, developed by NC State University, which converts plant and woody biomass into a variety of bio-products, including fillers or extenders, which are used to make stronger, lighter and water-resistant plastics; biochars, to increase soil productivity; a cleaner and safer, plant-based alternative to the wood-based charcoal cooking fuel, used in 3rd World countries; and a bio-coal, which can be co-fired in coal-fired power plants, with minimal equipment upgrades, to proportionately reduce the GHG and chemical pollution emissions of coal.
Mr. James is demonstrating these innovations through strategically-focused operating affiliates, like ATP-MD, LLC, which is collaborating with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, an HBCU, using the CRBBP Process to extract excess phosphorus from Chesapeake Bay watershed farm soils, while making bio-products.
Mr. James has had an impressive, 33-year career as an economic development professional, where he has been often heavily involved in technology-led development. He just completed a 6-year term as a Secretarial appointee on the federal Biomass R&D Technical Advisory Committee and is a member of the Clean Energy Business Network.
Mr. James received a BS, in Science, from Union College and has studied Law and Business Administration at New York University. He has received numerous awards, including being named a winner of the Purpose Prize, in 2008, for his work to include poor, rural communities of color in the “Green Economy”. He also serves on the Board of Green Tech Academy, a Sacramento, California-based non-profit, which trains and mentors minority youth to be green economy workers.
MARYLAND-NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION
Areas of Expertise:
Tonya Johnson is an outdoor enthusiast who loves helping youth of all ages enjoy memorable educational experiences in nature. For the past 17 years, Tonya has been a Park Naturalist with Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission working at facilities including Clearwater Nature Center, Watkins Nature Center, Mount Rainier Nature Center and Bladensburg Waterfront Park. Tonya studied biology and sociology at The University of Texas at San Antonio, Fayetteville State University, University of Maryland, College Park and University of Maryland, University College. She is currently working on a Master’s of Science in Environmental Management at UMUC.
Tonya is the recipient of the 2008 Prince George’s County Award for Best Youth Volunteer Group, the 2010 Governor’s Service Award for managing the best volunteer youth group in the State of Maryland, and the 2016 Governor’s Service Award for the American Indian Village Creation Project, a project that can contribute its success to the 300 teenagers who help build the village from the ground up.
As a young boy growing up in east Baltimore, Vincent Leggett was introduced to the Chesapeake Bay by weekend fishing trips with his father. "I caught the spirit of the Chesapeake," he recalls. "There was a freedom that came with being on the water, away from the asphalt and concrete." For more than thirty years, Leggett has roamed the expanses of the Chesapeake waterfront, tirelessly interviewing people, "hanging out and mixing up" with waterside residents.
In 1984, Leggett began the “Blacks of the Chesapeake Project” documenting the contributions of Black Watermen on the Chesapeake Bay. In 1999 the organization established the Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation which was dedicated to sharing the legacy of African American achievements in the seafood and maritime industries, preserving and conserving the environment and promoting the success of the seafood industry in the mid-Atlantic region.
In 2000, working in conjunction with U.S. Congressman, Wayne Gilchrest, and Mr. Leggett spearheaded the effort to have the Blacks of the Chesapeake recognized as a local legacy project. The centerpiece of the submittal to the Library of Congress was Mr. Leggett’s two publications, Blacks of the Chesapeake: An Integral Part of Maritime History (1998) and The Chesapeake Bay Through Ebony Eyes (1999).
Leggett’s seminal research project, “Chesapeake Underground: Charting the Course to Freedom”, (2000) began examining the extent to which the Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries were used to spirit bondsmen to the freedom utilizing the secretive trail which became known as the Underground Railroad.
In 2002, he was appointed and commissioned an “Admiral of the Chesapeake Bay” by former Governor Parris N. Glendenning, “for bringing to the light the many contributions of African Americans to the seafood and maritime industries in the Maryland.”
Leggett served as the historical consultant for the “Black Captains of the Chesapeake Documentary Film” (Steve Berry) which aired on Maryland Public TV, The “Black Watermen’s Documentary Quilt “(Dr. Joan Gaither) and the Captain Eldridge Meredith: A Quintessential African American Waterman film and project.
He has served on the Advisory Committee for the John Smith Trail, and the Star Bangled Banner Bi-Centennial Celebration. During 2014, served as a Maryland Humanities Scholar, Leggett depicted the character Charles Ball, watermen, and run-away-bondsmen, who bravely fought in the War of 1812 at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. In addition, he served an expert in the national broadcasted PBS Documentary film, The War of 1812.
Mr. Leggett served on the Advisory Committee for the Harriet Tubman, National Park and Maryland Visitors Center scheduled to open in Dorchester County in 2017 and also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center in Annapolis.
He earned a B.S. Degree in Urban Planning and Community Development at Morgan State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Central Michigan University.
Mr. Leggett currently is the President and CEO of The Leggett Group USA, an Annapolis-based Government Relations and Lobbying Firm.
Chanceé Lundy is a community conscious engineer. The Selma, Alabama native uses her passion for eradicating inequities as fuel to provide technical competence and adept communication on environmental and transportation projects. As Co-owner and Principal of Nspiregreen, she is responsible for the management of environmental projects such as stormwater, energy, environmental policy, solid waste, air quality, and sustainability planning.
"I have always been interested in helping communities become better," Chanceé explains. "I understood that from the policy perspective but wanted to provide the technical expertise to communities. Growing up, I didn’t know what an engineer was but my love of politics, math, and science opened this world of innovative problem solving to me."
Chanceé earned her Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Science at Alabama A&M University, and her Master's of Science in Civil Engineering at Florida A&M – Florida State College of Engineering.
Chanceé has been recognized as one of Ebony Magazine’s 30 Leaders of the Future and one of the Top 100 Most Important Blacks in Technology by US Black Engineer. Chanceé is a former National Chairperson of the National Society of Black Engineers. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Chesapeake Bay Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee.
Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Esq.
Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Esq. is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Black Belt Justice Center (BBJC), a legal and advocacy nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and regeneration of African American farmlands and land-based livelihoods through effective legal representation, advocacy, and community education. For more than a decade, McCurty has served as a legal advocate on a range of issues disparately impacting the African Diaspora community; however, her most cherished work has been in service of multigenerational farm families living on the land in the rural South. In addition to serving farm families and cooperatives, McCurty has provided legal representation to numerous community-based farm organizations that serve diverse farmers and rural communities, including the Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project, the National Immigrant Farming Initiative, and the Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON).
Before launching the Black Belt Justice Center, McCurty served as the Policy Advisor for the Rural Coalition, a national coalition of 70 community-based organizations representing diverse farmers and farmworkers. In that role, she led coalition efforts to ensure complete implementation of the equity provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill. To ensure maximum participation of African American claimants in the In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation (“Pigford II”), she drafted and submitted legal memoranda to assist the federal court in its deliberations regarding the coordination and implementation of the Pigford II settlement agreement.
McCurty has demonstrated leadership in her field of work through her participation in several national farm and food equity conferences and symposiums including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Community Gathering, the Professional Agricultural Workers Conference (Tuskegee University), the Critical Race Studies Symposium (UCLA School of Law), and the International Food Sovereignty Forum (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). Additionally, she is the co-coordinator and co-author of the Black Agrarianism chapters featured in the 2017 Food First publication, Land Justice: Re-imagining Land, Food, and the Commons.
McCurty earned her Bachelor's of Science at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill School of Law. She is licensed to practice in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Georgia, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Conference of Black Lawyers.
William J. Roberts, Esq.
As the Legislative Director for Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Will Roberts brings nearly a decade of experience in public policy, progressive advocacy, and coalition building to the table. As the former Legislative Director of a national advocacy organization, he helped to craft and gain support for various legislaitve proposals at the local, state, and national level – culminating in passage of several of those proposals at the ballot and through local legislatures.
In his role with Rep. Raskin, Will manages the Congressman’s legislative team and the implementation of his policy agenda. In addition to overseeing the Congressman’s work on the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Will has a wide-ranging legislative portfolio including issues pertaining to Housing, Financial Services, Education, Transportation and the Environment.
William holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with honors from Howard University and received his Juris Doctor from the Howard University School of Law. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Maryland.
Randy Kenyatta Rowel
RR & ASSOCIATES
Areas of Expertise:
Diversity and Inclusion
Randy Rowel is an environmental sustainability professional who works with under-resourced communities, public/private sectors, and non-government agencies to help bridge the gaps and build networks to opportunities.
Randy believes his life purpose is to provide his skills and expertise to promote and be an advocate for communities who need it most in preserving and restoring our natural environment.
Mr. Rowel has worked at federal and state government agencies, educational institutions, and internationally having spent a residency in India. Randy’s most compelling experiences thus far have come from being featured at speaking engagements and motivating and encouraging youth to get engaged with the natural environment. Randy also is a direct descendant of Harriet Tubman through his 6th great grandfather Reverend Samuel Green Sr. who was Harriet’s first cousin, their parents being siblings. Rev. Green was also a conductor of the Underground Railroad, and was one of the founders of Morgan State University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Randy Rowel is recipient of an Executive Citation from the Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh for his outstanding commitment to the health of our watersheds through education, outreach, and restoration. He also was a board member at the Banneker-Douglass Museum in the arts district of historic downtown Annapolis.
Mr. Rowel Jr. holds an Executive Masters of Natural Resources Degree (XMNR) from Virginia Tech. He also holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in African/African American Studies from University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
As an independent consultant both within the private sector and with non-profits, Kristina (Tina) Smith has effectively worked at improving performance for individuals and teams. She generates and saves money through diversity and inclusion focused on meeting strategic goals. Her skills are centered around managing change in organizations, building relationships within and between departments, and facilitating large and small groups.
Tina has successfully worked with organizations on developing employee engagement strategies. She has used her facilitation and negotiation skills to have participants engage in designing their ideal work environment and ways they can bring all their strengths to work.
Tina has coached C-Suite leaders, managers, supervisors, and individual contributors. Her coaching strategies center around improving performance related to sales, customer service, working more effectively within a team, delivering performance reviews, leading a team as a leader vs a manager, emotional intelligence, and individual contributors as “change agents.” Her coaching and training have also centered on how to hire, retain, and manage a diverse workforce.
Tina has successfully worked with organizations on developing employee engagement strategies. She has shared best practices with organizations that are leveraging talents and skills from various generations. She has used her facilitation and negotiation skills to have participants engage in designing their ideal work environment.
Her ability to partner with senior leadership positions her to help leaders enhance their leadership skills. The end result is that organizational leaders are able to build upon the work Tina started and continue to move their organizations toward their goals. Additionally, Tina has designed and delivered change management initiatives as organizations have launched new strategic directions.
Tina most recently was president of a local non-profit organization that serves people with disabilities. She continues to serve on the organization's board and she serves as a member of the Alumni Board of Directors of Emerson College (Boston, MA).
Joanne Throwe was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in October 2015. In this role, she manages the day-to-day operations and executes the direction and vision of the department.
Joanne brings 25 years of environmental and natural resources experience at the state and federal level. Most recently, she served as the director of the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center, where she provided technical assistance on financing issues related to environmental protection activities.
Prior to her work at the Environmental Finance Center, Joanne held leadership roles at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cooperative Research and Extension Services, and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. She also served 2 years in the Peace Corps, stationed in the South Pacific.
Joanne lives in Anne Arundel County.
RIVERKEEPER & CEO
Areas of Expertise:
Environmental Law and Policy
Media and Mass Communications
Fred Tutman is a grassroots community advocate for clean water in Maryland’s longest and deepest intrastate waterway. He holds the title of Patuxent Riverkeeper, an organization that he founded in 2004. He is among the longest-serving riverkeepers in the Chesapeake region and the only African-American riverkeeper in the United States.
Fred also lives and works on an active farm located near the Patuxent that has been his family’s ancestral home for nearly a century. Prior to riverkeeping, he spent nearly three decades as a media producer and consultant on telecommunications assignments across the globe, including a long stint working with and advising traditional healers in West Africa and covering the Falklands conflict in Argentina for the BBC.
After a late-life sojourn into law school, Fred now teaches an adjunct course in Environmental Law and Policy at historic St. Mary’s College of MD. When not exploring the Patuxent River by kayak, he performs trail maintenance on the Appalachian TraiI, farms and blacksmiths in his spare time.
Fred also serves on a variety of Boards, Task Forces and Commissions related to the work of protecting the Patuxent and the natural environment. Among them, Fred serves on the Board of the Environmental Integrity Project, as a Governor appointed Commissioner on the State’s Patuxent River Commission and on the Board of Waterkeeper Alliance, the international group that licenses Waterkeepers. He is the recipient of numerous regional and state awards for his various environmental works on behalf of communities.
Beattra Wilson is a National Urban and Community Forestry Program Manager at the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, DC. She provides program guidance, budget coordination, grants management and strategic planning leadership for national, regional and state urban and community forestry programs.
As a diversity strategist, Beattra co-chairs the Executive Committee of the USDA 1890 Task Force-- convening USDA Senior Officials and 1890 Land Grant HBCU Presidents and Agriculture Deans to advance the partnership and vision for historically black land grant institutions and the communities they serve. Beattra served three years on the Forest Service Environmental Justice Board, promoting outreach and advocacy in underserved communities and designed inclusive initiatives for State and Private Forestry programs. These initiatives targeted improved access and awareness of federal programs to minority communities and stakeholders, and generated a pipeline of new minority and millennial students pursuing forestry and natural resources careers.
Beattra has built a solid career administering conservation cooperative assistance programs at regional and national offices. In 2016, Beattra served as Deputy Associate Director of Forests and Public Lands at the White House Council on Environmental Quality where she was responsible for forest management policy, wildfire suppression budgets, and federal agricultural an environmental workforce diversity.
Beattra holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Forestry from Southern University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Kennesaw State University.
Sacoby Wilson, PhD
MARYLAND INSTITUTE FOR APPLIED ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND-COLLEGE PARK
17 FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
DC/MARYLAND/VIRGINIA (DMV) ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE COALITION
Areas of Expertise:
Environmental Health (and Health Disparities)
Sacoby Wilson, PhD is an Associate Professor with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Maryland-College Park. Dr. Wilson has more than 15 years of experience as an environmental health scientist in the areas of exposure science, environmental justice, environmental health disparities, community-based participatory research, water quality analysis, air pollution studies, built environment, industrial animal production, climate change, community resiliency, and sustainability. He works primarily in partnership with community-based organizations to study and address environmental justice and health issues and translate research to action.
Dr. Wilson is Director of the Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health (CEEJH) Initiative. CEEJH is focused on providing technical assistance to communities fighting against environmental injustice and environmental health disparities in the DMV region and across the nation. Through CEEJH, Dr. Wilson is engaging communities in the Washington, DC region on environmental health issues including exposure and health risks for individuals who fish and recreate on the Anacostia River; use of best management practices to reduce stormwater inputs in the Chesapeake Bay; built environment, environmental injustice, and vectors in West Baltimore; cumulative impacts of environmental hazards on air quality in Brandywine, MD; goods movement, industrial pollution, and environmental injustice in South Baltimore, MD; environmental justice and health issues in Buzzard Point area of Washington, DC; industrial chicken farming on Maryland's Eastern Shore; health impact of assessment in the Sheriff Road community; and other topics. In addition, he is working with schools in the region on pipeline development efforts in the STEM+H disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Health).
He has worked on environmental justice issues including environmental racism with community-based organizations through long-term community-university environmental health and justice partnerships in South Carolina and North Carolina including the Low Country Alliance for Model Communities (LAMC), in North Charleston, South Carolina; the West End Revitalization Association (WERA) in Mebane, NC; and the Graniteville Community Coalition (GCC) in Graniteville, SC. He has provided technical assistance to REACH in Duplin County, NC; RENA in Orange County, NC; and the NC Environmental Justice Network.
Dr. Wilson has been very active professionally as an environmental justice advocate. He is Founder of 17 for Peace and Justice and a Co-Founder of the DC/Maryland/Virginia (DMV) Environmental Justice Coalition. He is a member of the USEPA's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), a past Chair of the APHA Environment Section, on the Board of Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, a former member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the CDC NCEH/ATSDR, and former Chair of the Alpha Goes Green Initiative, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He is also a senior fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program.
Dr. Wilson has received many awards for his contributions and achievements as an environmental justice researcher and advocate. He received the APHA Environment Section Damu Smith Environmental Justice Award in 2015. From the University of Maryland School of Public Health, he received the George F. Kramer Practitioner of the Year Award (2014-2015) and the Muriel R. Sloan Communitarian Award (2012-2013). He also received the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award from the University of South Carolina in 2011. He received a USEPA Environmental Justice Achievement Award given to Low Country Alliance for Model Communities, North Charleston, SC and Mitigation Agreement Committee. Additionally, Dr. Wilson received the Steve Wing International Environmental Justice Award in 2008.
Dr. Wilson, a two-time EPA STAR fellow, EPA MAI fellow, Udall Scholar, NASA Space Scholar, and Thurgood Marshall Scholar, received his BS degree in Biology/Ecotoxicology with a minor in Environmental Science from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in 1998. He received training in environmental health in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Wilson earned his MS degree in 2000 from UNC-Chapel Hill and his PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2005.
Dr. Karen Wilson-Ama’Echefu
SCHOLAR, SINGER, STORYTELLER, TEACHING ARTIST, HISTORIAN
Areas of Expertise:
Culture and History
American scholar Dr. Karen Wilson-Ama’Echefu is a Harlem native who engages in public speaking. Hmmm. Public speaking? More like public humming, singing, skipping, dancing, tripping, questioning, challenging, inspiring, inciting, chuckling, telling, quelling, woofing, hoofing, winkling, twinkling, traveling, messin' 'round, tweeting, elucidating, howling, equivocating, trilling, thrilling, pontificating, poetry-making, risk-taking, reporting, cavorting, and telling the truth as she understands it to be.
Dr. Karen Wilson-Ama’Echefu also sings music across the historical spectrum of the African Diaspora in the United States including spirituals, calls, jazz, blues, and rhythm and blues. She curated, wrote and premiered, “A Tribute to Blueswomen: Beauty and the Blues” with her group, Blue Wave – New York. In collaboration with her musical director Stephen Vaughan, she developed a new genre called Story Cabaret for Blue Wave West, presenting original, traditional and contemporary stories all wrapped up in jazz, blues and singable tunes. Dr. Wilson-Ama’ Echefu has traveled and performed with Pete Seeger and her performance of Paul Laurence Dunbar's "The Party" was broadcast on PBS as part of their "Favorite Poem Project."
Dr. Wilson-Ama’Echefu was a featured presenter at the 2010 Blues and Spirit Symposium alongside legendary Hip Hop Artist Chuck D, and other notable music and history giants, and has spoken and presented on the intellectual and cultural life in the African American Slave Quarter Community on college campuses across the United States. Her research interests include African cultural and religious history, eighteenth and nineteenth-century enslavement in the United States, leadership and strategy in slave quarter communities, and the philosophies and theologies of Africans and their descendants in the Western Hemisphere as identified through their song, story and dance. Her scholarship identifies African intellectual and cultural presence in North America as providing evidence for continuities, discontinuities and transformations of African Diasporic culture in the United States and considers the West African Diasporic Blues Complex as a marker for African cultural presence in the Western Hemisphere. She also writes on histori-cultural presence of African American women, which includes their beautiful blues.