V.I.P. Keynote at the 2018 Women and the Environment Symposium

February 16, 2018

by Kim Buchholz

Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, will be our keynote speaker for the 2018 Women and the Environment Symposium on Tuesday, February 27th, 2018! We could not be more proud to welcome Ms. Shepard to West Michigan to discuss community-based advocacy and grassroots efforts that create healthier, more equitable neighborhoods and communities.

In her many years of grassroots organizing, leading community-based participatory research, and advancing environmental policy to ensure clean and healthy environments within urban communities, Peggy Shepard has received the Jane Jacobs Medal from the Rockefeller Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 10th Annual Heinz Award for the Environment, the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, in addition to an Honorary Sc.D. from Smith College.

Her work through WE ACT has also resulted in the following campaigns: Coalition for Asthma Free Homes, Corbin Hill Farm Food Share, Dirty Facts: How EPA Budget Cuts Impact Vulnerable Communities, EJ Leadership Forum on Climate Change, Healthy and Sustainable Public Housing, Northern Manhattan Climate Action (NMCA) Plan, Solar Uptown Now!, as well as Unequal Air and Care: Asthma Disparities.

Peggy Shepard’s keynote message will echo the core mission of WE ACT, as well as the guiding force behind WMEAC’s central vision for the Women and the Environment Symposium: Empowering Communities to Power Change. The keynote delivery will also deliver a call to action for West Michigan environmental justice efforts to continue broadening advocacy outreach and focus attention on significant, local environmental issues happening in the heart of our local communities.

Shepard will deliver the following important messages in her symposium keynote:


  • Inform and engage citizens to join in decision-making on key initiatives for the improvement of the health of the community
  • Advocate for resilient and fair environmental protections in all neighborhoods
  • How community-based, participatory, grassroots action can make a substantial difference in West Michigan

In addition to key messages, Peggy Shepard will also provide evocative insights through the inclusive lens of low-income residents and communities of color. Peggy Shepard’s keynote will highlight the importance of socially-based, environmental actions, an important element for WMEAC, and Women and the Environment Symposium especially, as WMEAC supports equitable and inclusionary environmental justice efforts throughout West Michigan. Peggy Shepard’s keynote will also raise awareness of climate justice, clean air, good jobs, and healthy homes initiatives, as well as sustainable and equitable land use.

Are you adding ‘go see Peggy Shepard’ on your 2018 must-do list?

About WE ACT for Environmental Justice:
It is widely recognized that many of the places where people of color live, work, play, and pray in America are also the most polluted environments in the country. In 1988, a small group of community leaders from the Harlem neighborhood of New York City banded together to found WE ACT, a nonprofit environmental justice organization focused on bringing together people of color and low income residents to become meaningfully involved in the facilitation of sound and fair policies and practices, specifically for environmental health and protections. Today, WE ACT has expanded to two locations – NYC and Washington, D.C. – with 16 staff members, and regarded as an extremely active and esteemed participant in the national Environmental Justice Movement. (