NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program

Environmental and Climate Justice Program Goals

Environmental injustices, including climate change, have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low income communities in the United States and around the world.

The NAACP ECJ Program was created to provide resources and support community leadership in addressing this human and civil rights issue by advocating for these three objectives:

  1. Reduce Harmful Emissions, Particularly Greenhouse Gases

    We combine action on shutting down coal plants and other toxic facilities at the local level, as well as building of new toxic facilities, with advocacy to strengthen development, monitoring, and enforcement of regulations at federal, state, and local levels. Also includes a focus on corporate responsibility and accountability.

  2. Advance Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy

    We work at the state level on campaigns to pass renewable energy and energy efficiency standards while simultaneously working at the local level with small businesses, unions, and others on developing demonstration projects to ensure that communities of color are accessing revenue generation opportunities in the new energy economy, while providing safer, more sustainable mechanisms for managing energy needs for our communities and beyond.

  3. ECJBlogStrengthen Community Resilience and Livability

    We work to ensure that communities are equipped to engage in sustainability/climate action planning that integrates policies and practices on advancing food justice, advocating for transportation equity, upholding civil and human rights in emergency management, and facilitate participatory democracy.

Watch our ECJP 101 Introductory Video


Tell Us What’s Happening in Your Community

Please take a moment to fill out our environmental and climate justice survey today to share the concerns of your community.


Contact Us

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Meet the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program Team

Jacqui Patterson, ECJP Senior Director
jacqui-patterson Jacqui Patterson, MSW, MPH, has worked with Peace Corps, IMA World Health, and ActionAid International, co-founded Women of Color United, and serves on the Boards of Directors for the Institute of the Black World, the National Black Workers Center, American Society of Adaptation Professionals, Greenprint Partners, and Center for Story Based Strategy and the Steering Committees for Interfaith Moral Action on Climate Change and Center for Earth Ethics.



Jane English, MidAtlantic/Northeast States (Regions II and VII) Organizer and Team Lead
jane-englishJane is an experienced human rights and social justice organizer/activist. From her early activism in the struggle for desegregation, membership in the Glass Bottle Blowers Association-AFL-CIO, Local 155-156, to landlord-tenant organizing, anti-apartheid protest, voting rights advocacy and GOTV, to picket lines and marches in support of workplace justice issues, Jane has remained vigilant. She has accomplished work in civil rights enforcement that consists of her work with the Fairfax County, Virginia’s Human Rights Commission. Jane served as a member of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ Board of Social Action, and served as its chair 2002 – 2010. This faith-based social justice work includes support for reparations for African Americans, fair trade product education, anti-war, labor solidarity and Haitian support work. She is a graduate of Marshall University and she completed two years of law school at the West Virginia University College of Law.


Denise Abdul Rahman, Regional Field Organizer for Midwest/Plains States (Regions III and IV)
denise-abdul-rahmanAbdul-Rahman has a MBA in Healthcare Management and Health Informatics and a wealth of environmental climate justice experience. She has facilitated and led successful coalitional efforts to halt coal-fired power plants and to bring transformation and liberation of communities into fruition. As part of a comprehensive Just Energy Campaign, Abdul-Rahman mobilized members in efforts to ensure equity in the access to solar energy. A strong believer in bottom-up community organizing and empowerment, Abdul-Rahman has brought many other NAACP national projects and campaigns to life with powerful results. Abdul-Rahman is the recipient of the NAACP Indiana Hazel B. Hunter award 2019, Faith leaders Rev. Mozel Sanders Drum Major for Justice Humanities award 2020 and Indiana University Robert McKinney School of Law Environmental Protector award 2018.


Dawnyell Harris, Administrative Manager
dawnyell-harrisDawnyell has 19-years of tenure with the NAACP and over 25-years as an Administrator. Prior to joining the ECJ Team, she devoted the immediately prior 10-years as the Executive Assistant in the NAACP Finance Department. In her current role, she serves as the Administrative Manager for the Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Her primary role is to manage the department’s grants as it relates to budget and contracts. She is to ensure that all expenses meet the grants deliverable and are coded properly. In this role, she also manages the day to day functions of the department. Most importantly, she is a very proud mother of three simply wonderful and amazing children. She really enjoys traveling.






Samantha “Mandy” Lee, Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector (CESBS) Manager
mandy-leeMandy is deeply passionate about community-driven climate, food, and environmental justice initiatives and the infrastructure and policy that allows them to thrive. In her prior role at the U.S. Green Building Council, she supported the improvement of the LEED rating system for sustainable buildings, with a focus on social equity and international applicability. She has also studied and worked on climate change resilience and equity initiatives from the local to national scale in the U.S. and East Africa.





Cynthia Herrera, Systems and Evaluation Manager
cynthia-herreraCynthia brings her experience strengthening community, social and economic resilience from the urban streets of South Los Angeles as a school educator to sustainable development in the subtropics of Central America as a Peace Corps Volunteer to community-driven climate resilience planning and policy advocacy in Harlem. Cynthia is a first-generation college graduate, holding an M.S. in Sustainability Management from Columbia University and a certificate in Climate and Health from the Yale School of Public Health.





Lorah Stelchen, Research/Writing Consultant
Lorah is a research and writing consultant for the NAACP ECJ Program, based out of Seattle, Washington. She first became involved with the ECJ Program in 2016 as the Western Regional Field Fellow. Lorah is a graduate of Whitman College, where she organized in the Student Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement and studied politics and environmental studies. A commitment to social justice paired with an innate love for the natural world inform Lorah’s contributions to the environmental justice movement.

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