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Social and environmental issues are deeply intertwined. Many of the biggest impacts of climate change, pollution, resource scarcity, and food insecurity are felt by those that are most marginalized. Meanwhile, many environmental movements and organizations continue to be led by those who hold the most resources, wealth and opportunity in society. Join Chatham University and friends in a social justice webinar focused on the intersections between soil, air and water pollution, and gender and sexual orientation justice. For this event, intergenerational leaders from across the region will come together to share their work and the ways they think about systems change. This event is open for all ages to attend.
Can’t attend the live event but want to submit a question for the panelists and then watch the recording? Submit your question here: https://forms.gle/8RLcH8s22EvUHcaD8.
More information on the whole social justice and sustainability series: https://chatham.edu/edenhall/k12/socialjustice.cfm.
Panelists and Guests:
Lily Jarosz (moderator)
GirlGov Environmental Committee, Women and Girls Foundation
Alliance for Climate Education
Intern, Protect PT
Norwin High School, 12th grader
Lily Jarosz, Moderator
Lily Jarosz is a local high school senior at Norwin that is passionate about climate justice. She first became interested in climate justice due to her Puerto Rican heritage, and thus, her connection to the victims of Hurricane Maria. Lily is currently involved in a series of organizations fighting for climate justice including GirlGov, where she is one of the leaders of the Environmental Committee, and the Alliance for Climate Education. Lily also is interning this year with Protect PT, a local environmental protection organization based in Penn Trafford that channels the voice of the public when it comes to environmental issues. Lily is currently in the college application process, but is looking forward in the future to studying sustainability, joining the Peace Corps, and hopefully securing a career that encompasses environmental justice.
Leandra Mira is a climate organizer who has mobilized hundreds of people for climate strikes around the city of Pittsburgh. She began striking at the age of seventeen, sitting on the steps of the City County Building for four hours every friday alone. In a couple of weeks, she had fellow climate strikers joining her, and with that she began what would become a 10 month period where she striked every week. In those 10 months, she organized two large climate strikes with the help of many others, one in September totalling to over 1,000 strikers.
With endless possibilities for organizing now in front of her, she wants to focus on generating actions that have a lasting impact. Leandra’s original call to action was becoming aware of the link between Western Pennsylvania’s public health crisis and the fossil fuel extraction in our region. It continues to drive her involvement in the movement more than anything else. One idea can be a catalyst for someone, changing their life’s trajectory. Leandra’s idea was simple: No one’s zipcode should determine their life expectancy or their likelihood of developing asthma, heart disease, or rare, aggressive forms of cancer.
Community Activist, Organizer for Operation Better Block’s Cluster 8 & 9 Group, Spearheaded Rosedale-Hill Rain Garden project
Zinna Scott is a lifelong resident of Homewood and a community activist. She worked for Giant Eagle for 38 years, including 15 years supervising the bakeries in multiple stores. Now retired, Zinna is busier than ever. She serves on the Boards of Directors of Operation Better Block, the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. She is the organizer of OBB’s Cluster 8 & 9 group, and has spearheaded one of this group’s key projects, the Rosedale-Hill Rain Garden, which has turned a weedy, trash strewn vacant lot into an inviting and attractive gateway to Homewood. Zinna has been actively involved in the City of Pittsburgh’s Homewood Comprehensive Plan, the Homewood Concerned Citizens Council, the Phipps Homegrown Project, the Love my Neighbor program, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Community Engagement Center in Homewood. She also still finds time to stay active in two pinochle clubs and the Lemington Book Club, as well as the Woodchoppers Bowling League. When she’s not busy with all of these commitments, she also enjoys walking, reading, and gardening.
Director of Programming, Center of Life
Joy Cannon is Director of Programming at Center of Life, a Hazelwood-based community empowerment non-profit. Since joining the organization in 2013, Cannon has most enjoyed providing creative learning opportunities for K-12 students, supporting staff in their ongoing professional development, and advocating for Hazelwood families. Cannon is a graduate of Duquesne University where she studied Sociology as well as Social Justice and Policy. Most recently, she has participated in CORO Pittsburgh’s Women in Leadership and the PA Education Policy Fellowship Program.
State Representative Summer Lee
Summer Lee was elected to the House in 2018. She grew up in the North Braddock and Rankin neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, and currently lives in Swissvale.
A graduate of Woodland Hills High School, she went on to study and graduate from the Pennsylvania State University and Howard University School of Law, where she specialized in civil rights and constitutional law. While at Howard, Lee was an intern with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and a student attorney in the Howard University School of Law Civil Rights Clinic, representing and assisting indigent clients with civil rights complaints. After graduating law school, Lee was a dedicated organizer, activist and advocate for social justice in her local community. Her legislative priorities include criminal justice reform; education, health care and energy policy reforms; a progressive tax structure for Pennsylvania and a $15 minimum wage for all workers. She is the first black woman elected to the state House of Representatives from western Pennsylvania. In her new position, she serves on several committees including Children & Youth, Judiciary, and Local Government. She is a part of the Allegheny County Delegation and serves as the treasurer of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.
Environmental Justice Exchange Coordinator, New Voices for Reproductive Justice
Matt Dean has worked for New Voices for Reproductive Justice since 2018. He leads the Environmental Justice Exchange, a program that teaches environmental organizations how to center the voices, experiences, and leadership of Black women in the struggle to uproot environmental racism and build healthy communities. Matt also serves on the Board of Directors of The Thomas Merton Center and earned his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary studying social ethics and liberation theology.