Katherine T. “Kathy” Egland was elected to the National Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1998 and has served as chair of the Board’s Environmental and Climate Justice (ECJ) Committee since the ECJ Program was established in 2010.
The National Board NAACP ECJ Committee is charged with guidance of policy positions, governance, and oversight of NAACP ECJ Programs. She strives to advance the NAACP’s ECJ strategic objectives from a moral, human rights, social justice, and racial and gender equity perspective.
Born and raised in the Jim Crow segregated Deep South of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, she has a lifetime of advocacy involvement in civil and human rights since the turbulent 60s. As a residence of Gulfport, Mississippi, she is a survivor of one of the worst climate disasters in American history, Hurricane Katrina; as well as one of the world’s worst man-made environmental disasters, the BP oil spill, which contaminated the Mississippi Gulf Coast waters located a few blocks of her home. She lost two of her dearest family friends to drowning deaths during Hurricane Katrina.
Motivated by the highly acclaimed NAACP research report, Coal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People, that cited a failing coal plant located less than five miles from her home; she immediately went into action organizing trainings and town hall meetings through her local Gulfport NAACP Branch. The campaign efforts resulted were successful and led to the cessation of the coal-burning operation at Plant Watson in April 2015.
These prolific events changed the trajectory of her social justice, civil and human rights advocacy. She was instrumental in the Gulf restoration efforts after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as well as the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill in 2010. She has represented the NAACP at global climate conferences in over 26 countries on 5 continents, advocating an end to the use of fossil fuel.
Kathy was honored with a special invitation from former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to attend the High Level Discussion and High Level signing of the historic Paris Climate Agreement in New York, N.Y. on April 22, 2015.
Other NAACP committee assignments have included: Vice Chair of the Image Awards, Chair of the Personnel, Chair of the Thalheimer Awards, Resolutions, Convention Planning, Criminal Justice, Advocacy and Policy and Executive.
Her other organizational affiliations include: Co-founder of the Education, Economics, Environmental, Climate and Health Organization (EEECHO), 2005-present; Board on Gulf Education and Engagement (BGEE), one of the seven major program areas of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2020-2022; life member of the National Council of Negro Women
Katherine is a wife, mother, grandmother, retired educator and business owner. She is a member of St. James Catholic Church in Gulfport.