Environmental Justice Advocate to Speak May 11

Jacqueline Patterson discuss impacts of pollution and climate change on communities whose residents are poor or people of color

jacqueline patterson

Environmental justice activist Jacqueline Patterson will speak on May 11.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – NAACP environmental justice activist Jacqueline Patterson will discuss the impacts of polluting industries and climate change on communities of color and low-income communities at UC Riverside on Wednesday, May 11.

The event, which is part of the Jane Block Lecturer Series in the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSST), will be held from 2:10 to 3:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public, and will be located in Genomics 1102A. Parking permits may be obtained at the kiosk on West Campus Drive near the University Avenue entrance to the campus.

Patterson, whose lecture is titled “Resistance, Resilience, Reclamation, Revolution – Racial Justice, Human Rights, and Climate Change,” is the director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program.

The impacts of environmental and climate injustice are far reaching, including compromis¬ing health, economic well-being, and educational outcomes, as well as displacement, cultural erosion, criminalization, and political disenfranchisement, Patterson says. She will present ideas for ef¬fecting a radical transformation from extracting, polluting, and dominating policies and practices to regenerative, cooper¬ative systems that uplift all rights for all people while preserv¬ing the environment.

“Jacqui Patterson’s work directing the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice portfolio highlights the inequitable distribution of environmental burdens and benefits at local, national, and global scales,” said Jade Sasser, assistant professor of gender and sexuality studies. “Her focus on race, class, and social marginalization provides a necessary – but often overlooked – way of understanding how communities experience environmental problems differently. This work is particularly relevant for the Inland Empire, where issues like air pollution and toxic waste disproportionately impact low income communities of color.”

Patterson has served as coordinator and co-founder of Women of Color United since 2007.
A former Peace Corps volunteer in Jamaica, she has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘s rights, violence against women, HIV and AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. She served as a senior women’s rights policy analyst for ActionAid, and previously was assistant vice president of HIV/AIDS programs for the Washington, D.C.-based IMA World Health.

She has published numerous articles on civil rights issues related to the impacts of pollution and climate change on women and people of color, and energy policies that pit job creation against the health of communities whose residents are poor or from underrepresented ethnic or racial groups.

Patterson holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University. She currently serves on the International Committee of the U.S. Social Forum, the steering committee for Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, advisory board for the Center for Earth Ethics, and the boards of directors for the Institute of the Black World, Center for Story Based Strategy, GRID Alternatives, and the U.S. Climate Action Network.

Her lecture is part of the ongoing Sustainability Studies speaker series in the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, which has included a range of scholars and activists addressing issues as diverse as population growth, forest conservation, global climate change activism, and the biodiversity of the Salton Sea.

The Jane Block Distinguished Lecture in Women’s Studies Endowed Fund was established by Block and her husband, Richard. A longtime Riverside resident and community leader, Jane Block founded Alternatives to Domestic Violence and chaired the Riverside County Commission on the Status of Women. She was on the committee that led to the founding of the UCR’s Women’s Resource Center and has also served on the board of the Riverside County Child Care Consortium. She is past president of the Riverside Land Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust that facilitates the transfer of land from willing private landowners to public ownership. In 1973, she led opposition to the development of Box Springs Canyon, an effort that resulted in the establishment of the Box Springs Mountain Reserve. Block has also spearheaded the preservation of the Santa Rosa Plateau Preserve, the North San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Sycamore Canyon and San Timoteo Canyon.

She is a member of the board of directors of the UCR Center for Sustainable Suburban Development. In addition to the GSST lecture series the Blocks created the Jane Block Distinguished Lecture in Conservation Biology and the Richard E. Block Distinguished Lecture in Mathematics.

Patterson’s lecture is sponsored by the Jane Block Distinguished Lecture in Women’s Studies Endowed Fund, the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the UCR Center for Sustainable Suburban Development.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Jade Sasser
E-mail: jade.sasser@ucr.edu

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