Bill Gallegos was Executive Director of Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) one of the leading environmental justice organizations in the country from 2006-2014. Bill first became active in the 1960’s with the Crusade for Justice, an outstanding Chicano civil rights organization. Bill has also been a labor, campus, and community organizer. While executive director at CBE, the organization achieved landmark regulation of oil refinery flaring (the highly toxic practice of burning off excess gases into the air), and in leading local campaigns that could have a significant impact in reducing greenhouse gases and co-pollutants, improving public health, and advancing the transformation to clean alternative energy. Bill is currently active with Building Equity and Alignment for Impact (BEAI) a national initiative to build stronger partnership between grassroots environmental justice organizations, green groups, and the philanthropic community. One of the primary goals of the BEAI is to address the funding disparity between green groups and grassroots organizations. Bill has recently authored a case study entitled “The Perfect Storm That is Taking Down Chevron” a study of an African American, Latino, and Laotian social movement in Richmond, California that successfully challenged a Chevron Oil Company project to refiner dirtier grades of crude oil.
Kate Sinding Daly
Kate Sinding Daly, Esq., is the executive director of NorthLight Foundation, which is the family foundation of Dan and Sheryl Tishman, and focuses on advancing equitable and enduring solutions for environmental and human health. Prior to her current role, she was senior advisor to the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and, before that, a senior attorney and deputy director of NRDC’s New York program. Before she joined NRDC in 2006, she was a partner in the specialty environmental law firm of Sive, Paget & Riesel, P.C. She has taught environmental law at Columbia University and Fordham University. She is a graduate of New York University School of Law, the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs at Princeton University, and Barnard College.
Lena Jones is political science faculty member at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), where she has been teaching since 2002. In addition to teaching, she coordinates the Community Development A.S. Degree Program at MCTC and serves as the Minnesota and Mississippi Site Coordinator of Community Learning Partnership (CLP), a national network that aims to create pathways into community change careers. Since 2006, she has been the Director of Race in America, Then and Now, a summer field study course of the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA). She has participated in research projects exploring racism, immigration, and social movements in Western Europe and South Africa. In 2004, Lena received a fellowship from the University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Center to support a residency with the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) where she participated in IDASA’s efforts to institute civic engagement projects in the Gauteng province. Lena has a Master of Arts degree in Political Science with a focus on International Relations and Comparative Politics from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a Master of Science in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University- Mankato.
Dr. Nicky Sheats
Dr. Nicky Sheats is currently the director of the Center for the Urban Environment at the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy of Thomas Edison Sate College. The Center provides support for New Jersey’s environmental justice community. He is also a member of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, the state’s only statewide environmental organization that focuses solely on environmental justice issues. Dr. Sheats works on particulate matter air pollution, climate change, cumulative risk and impacts, the siting of schools on contaminated land, and environmental justice law. Dr. Sheats received his Ph.D. from the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. His field of study was biological oceanography and his specialty was stable isotope biogeochemistry. After graduating he worked for Environmental Defense as a science and law fellow, at the College of New Jersey as a visiting scholar and at the Earth Institute of Columbia University as a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Sheats also attended Harvard Law School and worked as a public interest attorney for almost eight years. He served as a law clerk for the Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, a landlord-tenant and housing attorney at Camden Regional Legal Services, a public defender in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and a legal instructor at a community legal education and college preparatory program in Harlem.
Dr. Subramanya Sastry
Dr. Subbu Sastry currently works at the Wikimedia Foundation. He is originally from India and has been active on both domestic and international social justice issues. He volunteered and co-ordinated the Madison Chapter of Asha for education, was a member of Friends of River Narmada, and worked for the Environmental Support Group, Bangalore, India. He provided research, campaign, and technical support to these and other organizations. Subbu has a PhD in computer science from UW-Madison.
Yadira Hernandez Herrera
Yadira Hernandez Herrera has over 15 years of nonprofit management, finance, operations experience. She attended UC Davis, receiving a BA with a double-major in Economic and International Relations. She also received a certificate of Accounting from UCLA extension. She’s currently the Finance and Administration Director, at California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) where she is responsible for overseeing the fiscal management and administration of CEJA’s infrastructure. Yadira brings a broad range of experience in accounting, finance, and human resources. Serving in a wide range of leadership and management positions, she has worked in various nonprofit fields including immigrant rights, fiscal sponsorship, affordable housing and environmental justice. She brings experience in to ensure long-term sustainability, operating efficiency, and build capacity. Yadira is constantly challenging herself to find ways to translate, narrate and socialize finance as an organizing tool. She searches for opportunities to advance organizational culture through innovation, with a passion for building successful and motivated teams that collaborate and contribute to a culture of interconnection. In addition to her finance career she has served on multiple boards of directors for various nonprofits organizations.