March 23, 2021

2021 Environmental Justice Symposium: “Environmental Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Environment”

Event Details

Date & Time

Tuesday, Mar 23, 2021 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
This event runs until March 24th

Event Link



Presented by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Gonzaga University School of Law and the Environmental Studies Department 



About This Event

Exploring environmental justice issues impacting Washington State communities and possible solutions.

Includes four panels of academics, scientists, community members, and legal professionals addressing topics related to inclusion, air, water, and land.

About the Environmental Justice Initiative

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in April 2020, Attorney General Bob Ferguson launched an Environmental Justice Initiative for his office, including plans to convene an Environmental Justice Symposium with Gonzaga University School of Law and Department of Environmental Studies to discuss the environmental justice issues affecting various communities around our state, and the work being done to address them.

In addition to bringing together academics, scientists, legislators, and legal professionals, the Symposium will aim to give a platform to communities that have been disproportionately impacted by structural racism and to shine a light on the hard work these communities across our state are doing to pursue environmental justice.


Symposium Agenda

(Subject to change)

March 23, 2021 (Day 1) | 1-4 PM

1:00 PM  Opening Prayer: Spokane Tribe

1:05 PM  Introductory Remarks & Welcome with Attorney General Bob Ferguson

1:30 PM  Panel : "Air"  moderated by Linn Gould, Executive Director, Just Health Action  

  • Paulina López, Exec. Director, Duwamish River CleanUp Coalition
  • Todd Mitchell, Environmental Director, Swinomish Department of Environmental Protection
  • Tania Park, Equity & Community Engagement Manager, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
  • Edmund Seto, Assoc. Professor, UW Dept. of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences

2:45 PM  Panel : "Water" moderated by Rick Eichstaedt, J.D., Board Member, Washington Growth Management Hearings Board

  • Dan Rey-Bear, Attorney
  • Clarita Lefthand-Begay, Ph.D., Director, Tribal Water Security Project
  • Ted Knight, Attorney
  • Amelia Marchand, Program Director, Colville Confederated Tribes Environmental Trust Dept.

3:45 PM  Keynote Address: Jacqueline Patterson, Environmental and Climate Justice Program Director, NAACP

March 24, 2021 (Day 2) | 1-4 PM

1:00 PM  Panel: "Land/Built Environment" moderated by Mariel Thuraisingham, Clean Energy Policy Lead, Front and Centered

  • Lylianna Allala, Climate Justice Director, City of Seattle
  • Ubaldo Hernandez, Senior Organizer, Columbia Riverkeeper
  • Ivy Jaguzny, Youth Organizer
  • David Mendoza, Director of Advocacy & Engagement, The Nature Conservancy
  • Jonalee Squeochs, Environmental Coordinator, Yakama Nation Fisheries

 2:05 PM  Keynote: Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Indian Nation & President of the National Congress of American Indians

2:45 PM  Panel: "Racism & Inclusion" moderated by Steve Hamai, Senior Racial Equity Advisor, Seattle Public Utilities

  • Susan Balbas, Executive Director, Naahill'ahee Fund
  • Olgy Diaz, Government Affairs Director, Forterra
  • Aurora Janke, Assistant Attorney General, AGO - Environmental Protection Division
  • Katelyn Kinn, Staff Attorney, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance

3:45 PM  Closing Remarks by Dean Jacob H. Rooksby, J.D., Ph.D.,Gonzaga University School of Law

3:55 PM  Closing Prayer: Spokane Tribe


About our Keynote Speakers

Jacqueline Patterson

Jacqueline Patterson is the Senior Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Since 2007 Patterson has served as coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United. Jacqui Patterson has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Patterson served as a Senior Women’s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid where she integrated a women’s rights lens for the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change as well as the intersection of violence against women and HIV&AIDS.  Previously, she served as Assistant Vice-President of HIV/AIDS Programs for IMA World Health providing management and technical assistance to medical facilities and programs in 23 countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Patterson served as the Outreach Project Associate for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Research Coordinator for Johns Hopkins University. She also served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica, West Indies.

Fawn Sharp 

Fawn Sharp of the Quinault Indian Nation is serving her fifth term as President and CEO of the Quinault Indian Nation. A human rights attorney by training, she left home to get her education, ultimately receiving degrees and advanced certificates from the University of Washington, Gonzaga University, the University of Nevada, and Oxford University. In 2014, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee appointed President Sharp to the Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce (CERT) to consider measures to offset costs to consumers and businesses, and to design strategies to help energy-intensive industries transition from carbon-based energy sources. In 2018, she was recognized by the United Nations as one of the foremost experts on the human rights of indigenous people globally. President Sharp resides on the Quinault Indian Reservation at Lake Quinault with her three sons, Daniel, Alijah, Jonas, and daughter, Chiara.


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