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Environmental and Racial Justice Series: Disrupting Environmental Racism
A Call to Action and Partnership
Environmental racism is a lived experience for many communities of color, every day, in the U.S. and globally. Pollution, land loss, food and water insecurity, weather extremes connected to climate change, and other environmental problems unfairly and disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and other racially minoritized communities. In this 3-part series—co-sponsored with the Grand Challenge to Create Social Responses to a Changing Environment—we explore community practice and partnership, social work education, and policy changes needed at the nexus of environmental and racial justice, in pursuit of a healthy and thriving world for all.

Part 1: Disrupting Environmental Racism
This first panel in the series brings together community leaders, students, and scholars to discuss their own community-engaged experiences, the joys and challenges of partnerships in this work, and how we can mobilize action to disrupt environmental racism and create environmental and racial justice.

Panel includes:
Lizeth Chacón, Executive Director, Colorado People’s Alliance
Ajulo Othow, Founder and CEO, EnerWealth Solutions
Smitha Rao, PhD Candidate, Boston College School of Social Work

Hosted by Dr Lisa Reyes Mason.

This webinar is free and open to all.

May 19, 2021 10:00 AM in Mountain Time (US and Canada)

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Lizeth Chacón
Executive Director, Colorado People’s Alliance
Lizeth Chacon came to the US at the age of 12 from Mexico. During her first years of school, Lizeth noticed the injustices and difficulties many immigrants face; from that moment she began volunteering at her school and got involved in the movement for social justice. In 2014 she became a founding board member of the Aurora Welcome Center, now called Village Exchange Center. In 2014, she became the Executive Director of Rights for All People and in 2015 she led the union of Rights for All People and Colorado Progressive Coalition to create and become the founding Executive Director of Colorado People’s Alliance. In 2016, Lizeth co-chaired the statewide ballot measure that successfully increased Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, and co-created the Statewide Immigration Resistance Table. She co-founded the Transformative Leadership for Change Fellowship for leaders of color in Colorado. Lizeth currently serves as the Board President of People’s Action.
Smitha Rao
PhD Candidate, Boston College School of Social Work
Smitha Rao is a PhD candidate at Boston College School of Social Work with over a decade of post-MSW practice experience at the intersection of environment, development, and social policy. She has an MA in Social Work (specializing in Urban and Rural Community Development) from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India, and an MSc in Environment & Development from Kings College, London, United Kingdom. Her current work encompasses social vulnerability in the context of natural disasters, climate change implications for vulnerable communities, energy poverty, and environmental justice.