February is Black History Month in the U.S., and despite major social justice wins over the last few decades, systemic racial and class injustices unfortunately continue to impact the lives of historically underserved groups. The serious consequences are clear: In the U.S., low-income, rural, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are disproportionately subject to and harmed by polluted air, waters, and soils from industrial infrastructure and activities.
Join us on February 15 for our webinar From the Frontline: Petrochemicals, Plastics, and Cancer Alley. During this event, hear from frontline activists from communities of color across America’s industrial plastic and petrochemical corridors, who will discuss how they are taking action to protect themselves and their neighbors from pollution and injustice—and how you can, too.
Our panelists for this important conversation include “The Father of Environmental Justice” Dr. Robert Bullard; RISE St. James Louisiana Executive Assistant Shamyra Lavigne; and Founder & CEO of Hip Hop Caucus, Reverend Lennox Yearwood. The conversation will be moderated by Plastic Pollution Coalition Communications Manager, Erica Cirino, author of Thicker Than Water: The Quest for Solutions to the Plastic Crisis.
Date: Thurs., February 15
Time: 2-3 pm PT | 5-6 pm ET
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Robert D. Bullard (he/him) is the founding director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice and a distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University. Dr. Bullard is often called the “father of environmental justice.” He is also co-founder of the HBCU Climate Change Consortium, and co-chair of the National Black Environmental Justice Network. Bullard is the author of eighteen books that address environmental racism, urban land use, housing, transportation, sustainability, smart growth, climate justice, and community resilience. In 2019, Apolitical named him one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy. In 2020, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) honored him with its Champions of the Earth Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2021, President Biden appointed him to serve on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) and in 2023 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Shamyra Lavigne (she/her) is a native of St. James, Louisiana. Shamyra is a 3rd generation human rights activist. In 2020, Shamyra returned to her hometown to fight for environmental justice at RISE St. James Louisiana, a faith-based, grassroots nonprofit organization fighting for the eradication of petrochemical emissions impacting disenfranchised Black communities in St. James Parish and surrounding areas. Shamyra currently serves as an Advisor on the Conceptual Committee for the Frontline Resource Institute (FRI). Prior to her work at RISE St. James, Shamyra, an HBCU-graduate, lived out her passion for helping others by working with children and adults diagnosed with mental health disorders for 7 years. It is the privilege of Shamyra’s life to work for human rights on behalf of the people of St. James Parish and Louisiana.
Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. (he/him) is the President and CEO of Hip Hop Caucus, a minister, community activist, U.S. Air Force veteran, and one of the most influential people in Hip Hop political life. He entered the world of Hip Hop Politics as the Political & Grassroots Director for the Hip Hop Summit Action Network in 2003 and 2004, and as a key architect of P. Diddy’s “Vote Or Die!” campaign in 2004. As a national leader and pacemaker within the Green Movement, he works to bridge the gap between communities of color and environmental advocacy. He is a leader in campaigns calling for divestment from fossil fuels causing climate change, increasing diversity in the climate movement, ensuring everyone has clean water and air, and international efforts to address climate change.
Erica Cirino (she/her) is the Communications Manager of Plastic Pollution Coalition. She has spent the last decade working as a writer, artist, and author who explores the intersection of the human and more-than-human worlds. Erica is best known for her widely published photojournalistic works that cut through plastic industry misinformation to deliver the often shocking and difficult truths about plastic—the most ubiquitous and insidious manmade material on Earth. This includes her award-winning book, Thicker Than Water: The Quest for Solutions to the Plastic Crisis (Island Press, 2021). Erica holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a Minor in Environmental Humanities and a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Stony Brook University.