Grist, Mother Jones and The New School to Host April 23 Public Discussion About Ensuring ‘Green’ Infrastructure Benefits Communities of Color

Grist, Mother Jones and The New School to Host April 23 Public Discussion About Ensuring ‘Green’ Infrastructure Benefits Communities of Color

Speakers Include Dr. Robert Bullard, ‘Father’ of Environmental Justice Movement in U.S.

In light of the federal government’s enormous investment in clean energy during the last three years, the public is invited to a discussion on Tues. April 23 at 7:30 pm about how to ensure ‘green’ infrastructure and jobs benefit communities of color. The event, titled “U.S. Climate Leadership: Equity and Justice in the Green Transition,” will be held at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium, 63 Fifth Avenue, in New York, and is produced by the nonprofit news organizations Grist and Mother Jones, as well as the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School.

Cities across the U.S. are improving their infrastructure to reduce emissions and make urban life safer and healthier for everyone, and equity advocates want to make sure that “greening” America’s infrastructure prioritizes those who climate change and pollution impact most. From updating electrical systems in dense residential areas, to ensuring that communities of color are trained for the surge in climate-related careers, advocates are working toward building cities where everyone can thrive.

“The country has been talking for decades about how we need to reduce pollution through better electrical, water, and transportation systems, but far less emphasis has been placed on how to do so in a way that benefits everyone, specifically communities of color and low-income communities in some of our largest cities,” said Nikhil Swaminathan, who is the event’s moderator, and the CEO of Grist. “This event is designed to move those discussions so they rightly focus on creating opportunities for communities who are otherwise too often ignored in national debates.”

The event will have Spanish and ASL interpretation available, and admission is based on what attendees can afford: accessible ($5); standard ($10); and pay-it-forward ($15). For those who are not affiliated with The New School and are not able to pay, a limited number of free tickets are available by contacting Grist’s senior events manager, Rachel Bouton, at Those who are paying may register at

Event speakers include:

Dr. Robert Bullard, a distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy and founding director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University. Dr. Bullard is also co-founder of the HBCU Climate Change Consortium and the National Black Environmental Justice Network. He is often called the “father” of the environmental justice movement, and is the author of 18 books;

Jade Begay, who is Tesuque Pueblo and Diné and works at the intersection of Indigenous rights and climate and environmental justice, shaping national and international policy. Jade has worked with Indigenous-led organizations and tribes from the Amazon to the Arctic to advance Indigenous-led solutions and self-determination through advocacy campaigns, research, and narrative strategies. In 2021, Jade was appointed by President Biden to serve on the first White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, and is a research fellow developing climate data on Native communities in the U.S.; and

Leah Thomas, an activist known as Green Girl Leah with 258,000 followers on Instagram. Leah educates on the intersection of environmental issues and social injustice. She is the author of The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet, and is one of this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30, which recognizes influential young professionals. She is founder and board chair of Intersectional Environmentalist, a nonprofit organization that is a leading resource for diverse and accessible climate education materials.