Toxic Poisoning in Our Schools, Black Communities and the Green Economy, Climate Change and Gender Equity, Among Key Topics at NAACP’s 108th National Convention

July 18, 2017 / By Katherine Taylor, NAACP's Environmental & Climate Justice Communcations Manager

This year‘s NAACP 108 National Convention will include many opportunities for participants, media, and the public to learn more about environmental and climate justice and its impact on the African American community.

BALTIMORE, MD (July 18, 2017) – Often overlooked in communities of color is the impact of environmental policies. This year during the NAACP’s 108th National Convention, the association is bringing environmental and climate issues to the forefront in through a series of workshops and programs.

“Communities of color may not be the face of the traditional environmental movement, yet our communities bear the brunt of environmental injustices conveyed by the unholy alliance between corporate greed and environmental policymaking and/or lack thereof,“ said Jacqui Patterson, director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice program (ECJ).

The NAACP will host discussions and workshops ranging from unseen environmental dangers faced by children in our schools, to strategies for ensuring equity and justice in the green economy. Participants will also discuss recently proposed funding cuts by the current administration to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which present a growing threats to low-income communities and communities of color, whether urban or rural.

Created to mitigate the impact of bad enviromental policies and pratices on communities of color, the NAACP’s ECJ Program works to reduce harmful emissions, particularly greenhouse gases, advance energy efficiency, promote clean energy; and strengthen community resilience and livability. During this year’s 108th National Convention the NAACP will convene frontline communities, field experts and advocates to discuss solutions for the issues of environmental and climate justice facing communities of color around the nation.

The Environmental and Climate Justice Programming at the convention includes:

Panel: Stop Poisoning Our Children! Environmental Justice in Our Schools Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
July 24th, 9:00am – 10:00a.m.

This panel will discuss the on-going struggle to protect our children from environmental harms, particularly in the school setting. Panelists will discuss what steps can be taken to eliminate poisonous sources inside the buildings and to prevent cities from building schools in close proximity to environmental hazards.
Moderator: Khyla D. Craine, Esq. Assistant General Counsel, NAACP, Baltimore, MD
Panelists: Chandra Taylor, Esq. Senior Attorney; Jasmine Crockett, Esq.; Mustafa Ali, Esq

Panel: Bridging the Gap: Connecting Black Communities to the Green Economy
July 25th, 2:30pm – 4:30pm
Through this workshop, we will contribute to the effort of advancing transformative analysis and action around the “green economy” and to bring new leadership to bear on directing policies and resources towards a progressive vision for building local economies, resilient communities, and a just society. Panelists will share practical avenues for engagement in the new energy economy for consumers, job seekers, and entrepreneurs, as well as sharing the policy pathways to support expansive opportunities in the new economy for communities of color and low income communities.
Presiding: Kathy Egland, ECJ Sub-Committee Chair and Gary Bledsoe, ECJ Sub-Committee Vice Chair
Speakers: Robert Wallace, BithGroup Technologies; Djuan Coleon, PURE Cities; Alyssa Young, FEMA; Melanie Mosier Santiago, Vote Solar; Trenton Allen, Sustainable Capital Advisors

July 25th 4:30-5:30pm
A nationwide panel of environmental and climate justice experts who will answer questions about how racial justice and environmental justice intersect, and how people from across generations can get involved.
Guests: Portland Branch President JoAnn Hardesty, Rocky Mountain Area President-Rosemary Lytle, Board Member Da’Quan Love and Board Member Julie Jones.

Join the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program Team for speakers and information at their exhibit table, featuring daily topics: emergency management, climate and gender justice, water and energy resources, and environment and education careers. Attendees will have the opportunity to win prizes and learn about how they can work on environmental and climate justice initiatives.

More about the NAACP’s 108th Annual Convention
Other highlights will include the NAACP ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technical and Scientific Olympics) final competition and awards, the highly anticipated Freedom Fund Banquet, plus a health pavilion, retail expo, veterans’ luncheon and a diversity career fair. The full schedule (which will continue to be updated) can be found here.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting

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