Crystal Lameman (Keynote, Panel) is a Beaver Lake Cree First Nation activist, a Sierra Club Prairie activist and the Peace River tar sands campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network in Alberta, Canada – and a mother of two. With infectious dedication and passion, Crystal is committed to restoring Native treaty rights and stopping the expansion of the tar sands. Crystal is involved in the work of her nation to take the Canadian government to court over 17,000 treaty violations. In May 2008, the Beaver Lake Cree Nation filed a Statement of Claim in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench taking the Government of Canada to court. In March 2012, they were granted a trial. This trial stands as a precedent for other oil sands rights violations.
Aura Bogado (Keynote) writes about racial justice, Native rights, and immigration for The Nation. Her work has been published in Mother Jones, Newsweek Argentina, AlterNet, and The Huffington Post. She worked as a national host and producer for the Pacifica Radio network. While there, she also coordinated a media literacy and training program for youth of color in Los Angeles with a grant from the California Technology Foundation. She was a founding member of 33+1/3 Books Collective, an independent bookstore and gallery in Los Angeles. In 2006, City Lights Books published The Other Campaign, which featured her exclusive interview with Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in Mexico–his first in five years. She earned her B.A. from Yale University, majoring in American Studies. An immigrant from South America of indigenous (Guarani) descent, she is currently based in New York.
Ellen Dorsey (Keynote) has 25 years experience promoting international human rights, particularly economic and social rights, and advocating for environmental sustainability. Dorsey is the Executive Director of the Wallace Global Fund, a private foundation located in Washington, DC, that focuses on environmental sustainability, corporate accountability, women’s human rights, criminal justice, media reform and civic participation. Dorsey came to the Fund from The Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, serving as senior program officer for the Environment Program. Dorsey has served on the board of numerous non-profit organizations promoting human rights and sustainable development, including serving as chair of the board of Amnesty International USA..
Yudith Nieto (Panel) was born in Mexico and grew up in the fence-line refining community of Manchester in Houston, TX. Living in a community that is being exploited by industry inspired Yudith to become involved in the environmental justice movement. Yudith has worked with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services and has been organizing with the Tar Sands Blockade for the past 3 months to organize direct actions and advocate for her community. Yudith works with 3rd and 4th graders in the Southwest side of Houston coordinating a Healthy Living program and teaching children about environmental issues that affect their communities. Yudith is dedicated to confronting the petrochemical industries that perpetuate environmental racism and classism in marginalized communities of color.
“I am committed to amplifying the voices of communities of color that are systematically silenced, like mine, that are being affected by environmentally destructive industries, and experience environmental racism and classism. I am participating in this action because I believe it will help me to advocate for my community and further my ability to help make their voices a part of this movement to empower people to build a community of resistance to confront these injustices.”
Erika Guadalupe Núñez is a queer undocumented artist and activist from Mexico. Núñez is an active member of the immigrant youth movement and a core member of DreamActivist Pennsylvania. In the summer of 2012, Núñez participated in a civil disobedience action outside of a local jail for their role in honoring ICE detainers. In jail, Nunez learned firsthand the difficulties of being visibly queer while in detention. Núñez believes that publicly coming out about both your sexual orientation and legal status is the first step to empowerment.
Junior Walk (Panel) works with Coal River Mountain Watch, Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, and RAMPS to end mountaintop removal mining, and travels the country with the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation educating people about the long-term environmental, health and community degradation caused by coal mining. He was a keynote speaker at the 2011 PowerShift conference in Washington, DC, and recipient of the prestigious Brower Youth Awards in 2011. The late renowned environmentalist and climber David Brower, the namesake of the award that honored Junior, famously said, “Tough mountains build bold leaders.” Junior Walk is one of the many courageous and bold leaders whom the Appalachian Mountains have built.
Deirdre (Panel) lives and organizes in rural northeastern/central Pennsylvania on her family’s farm, which was leased to the gas industry in 2007 for hydraulic fracturing. Since then, she has been involved in a wide range of organizing against fracking, including direct action campaigns which have included blockades, tree sits and occupations; and many community projects. Recent examples include the Save Riverdale campaign and blockades against the forced evictions of 32 families from their community along the Susquehanna River to make way for a frack water withdrawal site, and most recently an urban-rural solidarity project. She is also currently organizing with her community against compressor stations being planned for her town as part of the Marc-1 and Transco pipeline projects.
Desire Grover (Panel) was born in Bronx NY, raised as a toddler in Topeka Kansas, reared up as a preteen in Decatur Georgia, toughened as a teenager in West Philadelphia and softened as an adult in Chester PA. She studied at the University of the Arts where she received her BFA in Digital Illustration and Design. She would go on to have her illustration works published by Scholastic Inc., Rutgers University, Joy and Praise Magazine and many other publications. In time she independently published her first children’s book called for The Love of Peanut Butter and would continue her writing through many other venues. In 2005 she would join the Energy Justice Network in fighting for clean air in Chester as an EJN community organizer. She currently enjoys working as a general reporter at the Chester Spirit Newspaper while painting graffiti pop art at night. She believes that a journalist’s role is to be a watchman for the community at large. It is an honorable service to society despite how little it pays.
Michael Bagdes-Canning (Panel) a retired teacher, is Vice President of the Cherry Valley Borough Council and an organizer with Marcellus Outreach Butler. He was a participant in the March on Blair Mountain and the Tar Sands Action (Mike along with his wife and fellow climate activist Karen Bagdes-Canning were arrested in front of the White House); he was also an organizer of Tour de FRACK, a 400 mile bicycle ride from Butler, PA to Washington, DC. He was recently a participant and risked arrest at a blockade of a Shell drill pad near Maggie’s Farm. The Bagdes-Cannings live in northern Butler County where they raise vegetables, pastured poultry and grass fed beef.
ALL OTHER TRAINERS (alphabetical)
Kristen Cox works for Self-Help, one of the country’s leading community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that raises deposits from individuals and institutional members to make commercial, consumer, and home loans to (primarily) rural, women, and communities of color. Working in Development and Communications, Kristen is an advocate for the larger CDFI movement, economic justice and talking openly about conscious consumerism and class. She founded and led the Fire This Time Fund (FTTF), a giving circle that supported creative social change projects in Chicago, for five years. She graduated from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in community development. She is part owner of her family’s former tobacco-turned cattle farm in Central Kentucky and an alumni organizer with Resource Generation. Contact her at email@example.com.
Giovanna Di Chiro is the Lang Professor for Issues of Social Change at Swarthmore College, and Environmental Justice Policy Advisor at Nuestras Raíces, Inc. in Holyoke, Mass. She has published widely on the intersections of race, gender, and environmental justice with a focus on women’s activism and policy change addressing environmental health disparities in lower income communities. She is co-editor of the volume Appropriating Technology: Vernacular Science and Social Power and is completing a book titled Embodied Ecologies: Science, Politics, and Environmental Justice. Di Chiro collaborates with environmental justice organizations to conduct community-based research on environmental health concerns and on developing culturally relevant sustainability initiatives.
Farhad Ebrahimi is an activist, philanthropist, musician, lover of film and literature, hipster, and bicycle snob who is often found in either New York City or Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Farhad is the founder and trustee chair of the Chorus Foundation, whose mission is to end the extraction, export, and use of fossil fuels in the United States. This mission recognizes that the issues of climate, health, inequality, and democracy are intimately connected. The Chorus Foundation focuses its support on grassroots organizing in communities directly impacted by the fossil fuel industry and prioritizes work that builds power — especially political power — from the bottom up. Outside of his role at the Chorus Foundation, Farhad is an active movement organizer and a member of a Boston-based affinity group that focuses on climate and economic justice. Farhad graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with Computer Science. He’s probably wearing some kind of a hat.
Guido Girgenti is an organizer with 99Rise, a campaign waging nonviolent struggle to get big money out of politics. Before living and working full-time at the Center for the Working Poor in Los Angeles, Guido coordinated a civil disobedience campaign against JP Morgan Chase, demanding the bank fully disclose all secret political spending. He trains student leaders in relational organizing, movement strategy, and strategic nonviolent conflict.
Adam Hall is a U.S. Army veteran who has lived in the Mountain State his entire life. Upon coming back home from working up North, he discovered the irreversible and devastating effects of mountaintop removal. Since learning what this destructive coal mining practice has done to his family and neighbors in the past, Hall has dedicated his life to combat surface mining and fights for what he calls: “The God-given right to drink clean water.” He is a speaker with the Keepers of the Mountains Foundation.
Chris Hicks Currently serving as the Student Debt Campaign Organizer, Chris Hicks joined the Jobs with Justice staff as the National Student Labor Action Project Coordinator. A graduate of Wichita State University, Chris was active in campus organizing through multiple student organizations and became a national Grass Roots Organizing Weekend (GROW) trainer with the US Student Association and Midwest Academy, providing weekend long trainings for students organizing on their own campuses. Immediately following his graduation, Chris began working with SEIU Local 513 as an organizer with public school district custodians.
Kat grew up in the Fingers Lake region of NY. They are a radical social and environmental justice advocate and activist working with grass roots organizations to confront industry with tactically diverse forms of direct action. They have organized actions in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions of New York against the hydraulic fracturing industry and worked on several community based outreach campaigns. Kat has spent the past 5 months organizing direct actions with the Tar Sands Blockade and the past 3 months community organizing in Houston’s toxic East End with fence-line refining communities who, alongside indigenous communities at the point of extraction, are impacted the most by tar sands exploitation. Kat is the newest board member of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services. They are committed to the principle of solidarity and work to amplify the voices of and empower marginalized communities of color. Most recently they worked to organize a direct action with indigenous leaders of the Shuar and Achuar tribes of the Amazon rainforest through Amazon Watch.
Katey Lauer is a Coordinator with The Alliance for Appalachia, a coalition of Appalachian organizations working against mountaintop removal and other destructive coal technologies and for a just and sustainable Appalachia. She has worked as an organizer, coordinator, and volunteer for grassroots environmental justice organizations for seven years, in and outside of central Appalachia. Prior to her time with The Alliance, she co-coodinated Appalachia Rising, Voices From the Mountains, a three day event attended by 3,000 people that created a space for cross-tactic strategizing amongst the growing network of communities and individuals fighting against mountaintop removal strip mining, as well as an unprecedented day of action. Katey’s coordination was also key to the recent March on Blair Mountain. Prior to these mobilization efforts, she worked on initiatives in the coalfields with other regional bodies, such as Mountain Justice, as well as local organizations, such as the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Katey holds degrees in Ethics in Environmental Public Policy and Creative Writing.
Libby Mahaffy is a seasoned mediator, facilitator, and conflict resolution trainer. Libby is a panel member of Mediation Works, Inc. in the Boston court system and the Community Dispute Settlement Center in Cambridge, mediating small claims and summary process cases. She has received additional training in elder and adult family mediation and has worked with Elder Decisions, LLC. With an academic background in Spanish, social science, and urban and environmental policy and planning, she brings a social- and environmental-justice perspective to her communications work. A Toastmasters mentor and natural extrovert (not to mention native Midwesterner), she is a confident and engaging public speaker. She has provided her communications trainings to the private and non-profit sectors, and has a particular interest in inter-cultural competency and communication.
EmmaKate and Nick Martin are siblings from Lancaster County, PA. They became community organizers against the war in Iraq in high school, and have spent much of the last three years of their lives supporting and organizing with frontline anti-extraction groups in WV and PA. They believe in the power of grassroots basebuilding campaigns, led by frontline groups, as a successful strategy to win social movements.
Lilian Molina A Mestiza Environmental Justice Advocate, youth development expert and community organizer born in Honduras and raised in Chicago, Lilian Molina weaves climate justice and social justice into the tapestry of the progressive movement. With over 13 years experience as a community organizer and youth worker, she has worked with young people across class and race to organize around the issues they face at the community level. Her work is deeply rooted in the Principles of Environmental Justice and the work of member-based Community Environmental Justice organizations across the nation leading the trans-local fight for Climate and Environmental Justice. Recently, Ms. Molina served to inaugurate the Environmental Justice Director position at Energy Action Coalition, the Hub of the Youth Climate Movement, where she supported the development of a shared leadership model between the sons and daughters of the Environmental Justice Movement and the sons and daughters of the Main-Stream Environmental Movement as they work to build a strong, diverse and inclusive Climate Movement. During her 3.5 year tenure at EAC, Ms. Molina wove social justice and equity into the programmatic and campaign work of the coalition, organized the Frontline Community Leadership training at Power Shift 2011 with more than 350 young people from directly impacted communities, coordinated the launch of the Frontline Environmental Justice Fellowship and worked closely with the EPA to develop opportunities for more youth engagement in the federal decision making process.
Chad Montrie grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and earned his Ph.D. in 2001 from Ohio State University, focusing on U.S. labor and environmental history. He is currently a Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he teaches courses on American social history, environmental history, the 1960s, the history of documentary film, and documentary filmmaking. During the past decade, Chad has published three books, including A People’s History of Environmentalism in the United States. He has also been deeply engaged with the craft of documentary film. He is the director, cinematographer, and co-editor of Tough Love: A Meditation on Dominance and Dogs, a documentary feature tracing the history of the “alpha dog” concept. Additionally, he produced and directed a short historical documentary about the Concord River. Chad is now working on several new documentary projects, including one about racial exclusion in American towns and suburbs. He lives in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and is a partner in Tower Hill Films, also located in Lawrence.
Angel Pabon is 21 years old, local Artist/Youth Activist who worked as a community organizer, informing his lower income community of Environmental Racism/ Social Justice issues. Angel started the Chester Green Collective with a few other youth leaders, to inform the Chester youth about major issues on Environmental Racism and incinerators within the community. He currently resides in Upland, Brookhaven.
Tricia Shapiro is coordinator for Mountainhugger.com, an online marketplace, showcase, and resource hub for small, sustainable businesses based in Appalachia. A longtime author, her books include Mountain Justice, about coalfield-based efforts to end MTR coal mining. She lives on a remote mountain homestead in North Carolina, near the Tennessee border, where she makes and sells Hap Mountain Herbal handmade herbal remedies.
Joe Solomon is the former social media coordinator for 350.org, and currently lives in the Coal River Valley in southern West Virginia, where he is volunteering with Coal River Mountain Watch in the struggle to end mountaintop removal. Over the last few months, Joe co-led social media efforts for the 99% Power campaign, New Yorkers Against Fracking, as well as the Climate Silence Coalition. Before visiting Appalachia and throughout all the online organizing, Joe lived in VT and was involved with boots-on-the-ground community organizing with 350 Vermont. Joe is the recent co-founder of GreenMemes.org.
Philadelphia’s Spiral Q lives at the intersection of arts and social justice. Established in 1996, Spiral Q uses popular arts (parades, print, pageantry, puppets) to build an urban arts democracy rooted in principles of accessibility, inclusion, self-determination, collaboration, sustainability, and life long learning. Spiral Q works with reclaimed and recycled materials, teaches in schools and community organizations throughout the city, leads collaborative planning of giant public art projects, and supports creative community organizing. Spiral Q’s work is nationally recognized for its originality, its capacity to inspire individuals of all ages and backgrounds, and its ability to creatively revitalize communities throughout Philadelphia.