Chatham University Eden Hall Campus

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, youth 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:

More information on the whole social justice and sustainability series: 


Natalie Leslie
Blackhawk High School

Natalie is a senior at Blackhawk High School and has been involved in local and national politics since 2018. She is the Youth Feminist Chair of the Southwest PA National Organization for Women and have been involved with multiple Democrat and environmental groups. Over the past few years, Natalie has organized numerous rallies and protests with both social and environmental focuses. As somebody who lives near the Shell plant, the environment is very important to her. In addition, Natalie has spoken at rallies about a plethora of issues. She currently plans on attending Penn State University and majoring in Journalism and minoring in Political Science. Natalie is also hoping to be as involved as possible with volunteer work among more groups in the coming months to gain additional experience and learn more from those around her.

Layla O’Neil
Oil City Middle School Online

Layla O’Neil is an 8th grader from Venango County. She spends most of her freetime organizing for a local group called Oil Region Youth League of Socialists. The group has a primary focus on mutual aid and social issues. Within the group, she works with others to organize events and keep the group active and running. She is passionate about women’s and LGBT+ rights. When she’s not organizing, she is reading theory, holding discourse, photographing the place around her, and spending time with family and friends. Her primary goal is to foster a liveable and peaceful environment for future generations.

Maya Beckley
Woodland Hills High School

Maya Beckley is a senior at Woodland Hills High School. Between staying on top of her academics and working, she spends her time participating in numerous extracurricular activities: President of the Woodland Hills Black Student Union, 4-H County Council Vice President, National Honor Society Member, Future Business Leaders of America Member, and Student Connector of This Generation Connect. Additionally, Maya enjoys staying active within her community in all aspects whether socially, educationally, or civically. Currently, The Woodland Hills Black Student Union (BSU) and partnering representatives are planning and preparing to launch a youth-directed summit that will focus on social and educational inequalities that we believe must be discussed amongst other student representatives in the relative Allegheny County schools. Apart from this, Maya’s dreams and goals for the future consist of obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and working for a tech company, all while gaining experience to launch her very own LLC to perform B2B services such as; website design, website maintenance, and e-commerce management.

Elise Silvestri
Obama Academy

Elise Silvestri is a leader at Sunrise Pittsburgh who fights for a Green New Deal. In organizing, she has planned and led a rally against the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, helped lead internal priorities for her hub, and has emphatically delved into education as a first step to making lasting change. As an 11th grader, she maintains hope for the future and channels her frustration into making a difference. She dabbles in art and music outside of school and wishes for a world where the government works for everyone.

Dylan Lu
Cranberry Area High School

Dylan Lu is a high school senior from Venango County with a very heavy course load. He’s a big advocate of and local educator on social, environmental, and economic justice. Dylan works to show people the merit of revolutionary goals, such as eliminating fossil fuels and fighting pollution. While doing so, he also educates others on the nuanced ideas surrounding gender and sexuality. Dylan and Layla O’Neil (another panelist) worked with some local students to build a local youth group called ORYLS. They hope to use ORYLS as a vehicle for mutual aid, education, and activism in their rural communities. They hope to also provide a model for students elsewhere to be able to shake off the stereotype of rural backwardness. This fall, they campaigned for Michael Bagdes-Canning, a local ecosocialist green new deal candidate. This experience brought in new members and new connections for future goals. When Dylan is not busy with school or organizing, he’s usually learning something new, spending time with friends, or working on some kind of personal passion project.

Ilyas Khan
Winchester Thurston

Ilyas is a 16-year-old climate activist, with pronouns he/him/his. He has been working as an organizer in Buffalo, New York, for the past two years and recently moved to Pittsburgh. Ilyas is now a junior at Winchester Thurston. He loves drawing, playing music, a good run, a disco party and a solid protest. Currently Ilyas is working on a lot of projects, some in New York, some that are national, and looking forward to a few upcoming ones with Sunrise PGH. Right now Ilyas is really focusing on a national Youth Climate Theater project he’s working to create with an artist from Western New York. His biggest hope right now is that we can put this nation back on track towards a just transition!