Grist, Mother Jones and The New School to Host April 23 Public Discussion About Ensuring ‘Green’ Infrastructure Benefits Communities of Color

Speakers Include Dr. Robert Bullard, ‘Father’ of Environmental Justice Movement in U.S.

NEW YORK, April 2, 2024 – In light of the federal government’s enormous investment in clean energy during the last three years, the public is invited to a discussion on Tues. April 23 at 7:30 pm about how to ensure ‘green’ infrastructure and jobs benefit communities of color. The event, titled “U.S. Climate Leadership: Equity and Justice in the Green Transition,” will be held at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium, 63 Fifth Avenue, in New York, and is produced by the nonprofit news organizations Grist and Mother Jones, as well as the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School.

Cities across the U.S. are improving their infrastructure to reduce emissions and make urban life safer and healthier for everyone, and equity advocates want to make sure that “greening” America’s infrastructure prioritizes those who climate change and pollution impact most. From updating electrical systems in dense residential areas, to ensuring that communities of color are trained for the surge in climate-related careers, advocates are working toward building cities where everyone can thrive. 

“The country has been talking for decades about how we need to reduce pollution through better electrical, water, and transportation systems, but far less emphasis has been placed on how to do so in a way that benefits everyone, specifically communities of color and low-income communities in some of our largest cities,” said Nikhil Swaminathan, who is the event’s moderator, and the CEO of Grist. “This event is designed to move those discussions so they rightly focus on creating opportunities for communities who are otherwise too often ignored in national debates.”

The event will have Spanish and ASL interpretation available, and admission is based on what attendees can afford: accessible ($5); standard ($10); and pay-it-forward ($15). For those who are not affiliated with The New School and are not able to pay, a limited number of free tickets are available by contacting Grist’s senior events manager, Rachel Bouton, at [email protected]. Those who are paying may register at

Event speakers include: 

  • Dr. Robert Bullard, a distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy and founding director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University. Dr. Bullard is also co-founder of the HBCU Climate Change Consortium and the National Black Environmental Justice Network. He is often called the “father” of the environmental justice movement, and is the author of 18 books;
  • Jade Begay, who is Tesuque Pueblo and Diné and works at the intersection of Indigenous rights and climate and environmental justice, shaping national and international policy. Jade has worked with Indigenous-led organizations and tribes from the Amazon to the Arctic to advance Indigenous-led solutions and self-determination through advocacy campaigns, research, and narrative strategies. In 2021, Jade was appointed by President Biden to serve on the first White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, and is a research fellow developing climate data on Native communities in the U.S.; and
  • Leah Thomas, an activist known as Green Girl Leah with 258,000 followers on Instagram. Leah educates on the intersection of environmental issues and social injustice. She is the author of The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet, and is one of this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30, which recognizes influential young professionals. She is founder and board chair of Intersectional Environmentalist, a nonprofit organization that is a leading resource for diverse and accessible climate education materials. 

Grist is a nonprofit, independent media organization dedicated to highlighting climate solutions and uncovering environmental injustices. Since 1999, it has used the power of journalism to engage the public about the perils of the most existential threat we face. Learn more at

Mother Jones is a nonprofit, reader-supported news magazine founded in 1976. It reaches millions of people each month via its website, social media, videos, newsletters, and print magazine. It is produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting, which also produces Reveal, the weekly investigative radio show and podcast. Learn more at or  

The Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School is a collaborative community of practice that leverages research, policy, and design in accordance with the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing. Our Center brings together research and action to tackle the root causes of climate and environmental injustice and commit to changing higher education practices within and beyond The New School. Learn more at

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.


79 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003


Media Contacts:

Merrie Snead,
The New School
[email protected]

Sean Wherley,
Mother Jones
(858) 357-1609
[email protected]

Angelica Salazar,
Tishman Environment and Design Center
(415) 259-9594
[email protected] 

Follow @TheNewSchool 

Bookmark and Share