ABOUT THE SESSION

(Link will go live on 04/22/2021)

Join us for a panel discussion featuring 4 environmental activists who each have a unique connection to what we now call Earth Day. This conversation will include science, advocacy, social justice and community development. Moderator: Marie Nahikian: Veteran community organizer Marie Nahikian hosts The Usable Past, where activists share their stories of past and present organizing for better housing, food, banks, jobs, environmental and social justice. A Philadelphia resident, Marie worked with U.S. Housing & Urban Development under President Obama and has participated in building 5,000 affordable homes in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York. Marie has been a neighborhood, civil rights, housing and labor organizer, a community journalist, and in 1977 was a founder of WPFW-FM Pacifica radio in Washington, DC. Shilynn Black: Member of Sankofa Community Farm, Bartram's Garden. Sankofa Farm works to learn, teach, and promote self-reliance using the tools of the deep African Diaspora culture of Southwest Philadelphia. They work on 2 acres of crop field, an urban orchard and a 60 bed community garden. Sankofa Community Farm is committed to the practice of natural agriculture; grounded in spiritual awareness; They provide space for people to build relationships with food, the land, and each other. Steve Greenspan: Steve Greenspan is a lead member of the Climate Justice and Jobs team of POWER (Pennsylvanians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild), an advocacy organization that represents over 125 faith-based and ethical congregations throughout southeastern and central Pennsylvania. Its goal is racial and economic justice on a livable planet. Dr. Greenspan is a social scientist and former vice president of a Fortune 500 information technology software company, where he led research projects in user experience, cyber security and privacy, visualization and collaboration, emerging business and technology trends. He recently co-authored the book, Automation and Collaborative Robotics: A Guide to the Future of Work.  He is co-author on over 50 peer-reviewed publications and is co-inventor on over 75 US issued patents, including the first patent to describe 2-factor and 2-device authentication and authorization.  In addition to his environmental justice work, Steve advises two startups in the IT industry and is working with an economist modeling food and nutrition security. Russell Hicks: Russell A. Hicks is a Social Entrepreneur and Business Owner of Ebony Suns Enterprises, LLC. - a sustainable consulting company that provides project management, training and business coaching for non-profit organizations that serve youth and for-profit businesses that hire youth in the green economy. He is currently Co-Chair of the Climate Justice and Jobs Team with POWER. Mr. Hicks was named one of Philadelphia’s Most Innovative Entrepreneurs in 2014, and has been featured in Black Enterprise magazine. His experience and background has created positive impact for over 1,000 youth and families locally and internationally through his brand of social entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and green workforce development. Russell Zerbo: Russell Zerbo has been an advocate with the Clean Air Council since August 2012. He designed and conducted a door-to-door survey of Philadelphia’s River Wards neighborhoods in association with Drexel University, titled Mapping Perceptions of Environmental Health Risks: A Comparison of Three Philadelphia Communities. He currently works within the Philadelphia Health and Environment Ethnography Lab based out of Drexel University and was a participating member of the Climate Change and Health Advisory Group organized by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. He is also a current member of the Academy of Natural Sciences' Philadelphia Environmental Justice Roundtable as well as the Penn Water Center's Water Justice Advisory Board. Russell also currently serves on the advisory committee for the Landscape Architecture Foundation grant -- Greenscapes to Brownscapes: A Study on Impacts to Contaminant Levels in Landscapes Adjacent to Highways. Russell works with community groups across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware to protect public health and respond to local concerns. He was the SustainPHL 2017 Activist of the Year.
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