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NBLSA Builds Environmental Justice Coalition with National Latino/a Law Students Association and Others

Washington, DC--(January 26, 2012) In conjunction with its 2012 Hill and Government Days, the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) is building an Environmental Justice Coalition to address environmental hazards that have a disproportionate health impact on ethnic minorities. Current environmental justice issues include "food deserts", the location of toxic wastes sites in relation to urban communities and the disproportionate number of migrant farmer workers who are exposed to pesticides. The Environmental Justice Coalition will help to educate Congressional members and create a long-standing forum for discussion within legislative mediums. The goal of the Coalition is to eventually help to establish an Environmental Justice Caucus in Congress.

NBLSA will host its annual Hill and Government Days on February 8-9, 2012 and will focus on Environmental Justice in light of the growing coalition. The Hill Days agenda includes a kickoff reception at the Washington, DC office of Reed Smith on February 8, 2012. Chair of the Council for Environmental Quality with the White House, Nancy Sutley, will serve as the Keynote Speaker at the reception.

NBLSA chose to focus on the topic of Environmental Justice as this year's advocacy initiative. As part of the initiative, NBLSA hosted a Town Hall on the topic in September and a series of webinars in the fall, one of which included Rep. Keith Ellison (D. Minn.), leader of Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota (EJAM) discussing current issues in Environmental Justice.

Abre' Conner, NBLSA Attorney General, shared her thoughts on why she believes Environmental Justice is so important, stating, "Environmental Justice is important to people regardless of race or color; unfortunately, it has been under the radar for important issues many times. We want to change this practice through our coalition, work with the Administration and agencies, and lobby efforts to Congress."

"The Congressional Progressive Caucus sparked the idea over a year ago; however,
staffing and turnover was not conducive to starting the initiative. The Coalition would not only help to create the Caucus, but would also facilitate the selection of members to chair the Caucus. Organizations and advocates would be key to the continuation of this project and keeping the Caucus informed of goals pertinent to the Environmental Justice community," said Conner.

The Coalition is a nonpartisan group that already includes the following members:

  • American University Washington College of Law Environmental Law Society
  • Student Environmental Action Coalition
  • Energy Justice Network
  • Hip Hop Caucus
  • National Latino/a Law Students Association
  • Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice
  • Leslie Fields, Director of Environmental Justice Sierra Club
  • Stephanie Maddin, Congressional Black Caucus Fellow
  • Black Youth Vote!
  • Mitchell Environmental Health Associates
  • Village Creek Human and Environmental Justice Society
  • CUNY School of Law Green Coalition/ Food Fighters
  • Vernice Miller-Travis Vice President, Maryland Coalition on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities

Information and registration for the 2012 Hill and Government Day programming is now available on the NBLSA website at http://www.nblsa.org/hillandgovdays/.

Press Contact:
T. Isadora Huntley, 678-361-2867
National Director of Public Relations, The National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA)
publicrelations@nblsa.org

About The National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA):

Founded in 1968, the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) is a national, non-profit organization created and designed to articulate and promote the professional needs and goals of Black law students; foster and encourage professional competence; focus upon the relationship of the Black attorney to the American legal system; instill in the Black attorney and law student a greater awareness of and commitment to the needs of the Black community; utilize member expertise to initiate a change within the legal system that will make it more responsive to the needs and concerns of the Black community; and do any and all things necessary and lawful in order to accomplish these goals.

NBLSA is the largest student-run organization in America and has approximately 200 chapters at law schools throughout the country. This represents almost every ABA accredited law school, plus several non-accredited law schools. These chapters represent nearly 6,000 Black law students in six regions that encompass 48 states including Hawaii and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Recently, NBLSA has established an international connection with Black law students in Canada, England, South Africa, and the Bahamas who have decided to model their student organizations after NBLSA.

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