I am the Director of the African American Environmentalist Association New York Office (AAEA-New York). AAEA-New York, founded in 2001, is an environmental organization dedicated to protecting the environment, promoting the efficient use of natural resources, enhancing human, animal and plant ecologies, promoting ownership of energy infrastructure and resources and increasing African American participation in the environmental movement in New York.
I was raised in Brooklyn, New York. My mother and father, a nurse’s aide and maintenance worker, raised me and my five siblings in the Marcy Public Housing Projects. I am a seasoned environmental justice advocate with over 25 years of experience in the area.
I attended the State University of New York at Binghamton, earning a BS degree in history. I earned my MS degree in history from Clark Atlanta University in 1973. I went on to complete a graduate degree at Emory University in 1976. As a student at Emory, I became interested in the environmental field because of my work in historic preservation and urban environmental issues.
From 1995-1998, I worked with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and while there, I established a department of Environmental Education Programs. I worked as the director of the Minority Programs Office for the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) and was responsible for outreach at minority serving institutions. I worked with the science departments on campus, assisting the students in understanding the range of federal programs that can help them.
I mentor aspiring youth. I established several environmental programs while at UNCF. The first program, Environmental Justice Education and Research (PEJER) was started in 1995. This involved college students from UNCF member institutions. The second program, Strategy for Ecology Education Development and Sustainability (SEEDS), was started in 1996 and was formed in collaboration with the Ecological Society of America. The third program, started in 1997, was a partnership with the Texas Consortium for Water Quality Research. This program involved students at four Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Texas doing water quality research in minority areas.
My experience has given me national and international exposure. In 2003, I was the recipient of the Second Annual Norman A. Berg Award, a national award presented by the Soil and Water Conservation Society. I am the president of the board of the council for U.S. Land Care Initiative; I am the first person of color to hold such a position in a national organization of this type.
The biggest highlight of my career was meeting Nelson Mandela at the presidential palace in 1998 in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was there to present a paper on environmental issues and policy at an international conference, at the African and African-American Summit.