Say Yang (Ntxhais Yaj), Program Coordinator
Say Yang has a background in community outreach and administrative coordination related to community and economic development that contributes to her role as Program Coordinator at CEED. She has worked with residents, neighborhood organizations and government agencies supporting community development and civic participation in the Twin Cities. Her professional experiences include serving the Hennepin County Community Works programs and she was a past community advisory board member of KFAI, an independent radio station in Minneapolis. Say studied Community Development at Minneapolis Community & Technical College and a current student at Metropolitan State University in the Individualized Degree Program focusing on Social and Cultural Analysis. She is devoted to addressing barriers, making connection and inspiring change.
Dr. Cecilia Martinez, Director of Research Programs
Dr. Cecilia Martinez is the co-founder and Director of Research Programs at the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED). Dr. Martinez previously held positions as Associate Research Professor in the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment at the University of Delaware, Associate Professor at Metropolitan State University and Research Director at the American Indian Policy Center. She has led a variety of projects to address sustainable development at the local and international levels. Her research is focused on the development of energy and environmental strategies that promote equitable and sustainable policies. Dr. Martinez has also worked with a range of organizations from local grassroots groups to international organizations engaging in the promotion of sound environmental policy and environmental justice. She served on the Climate Action Planning Steering Committee for the City of Minneapolis, and has been appointed to several national advisory boards. She is also on the leadership team for the national EJ and Science Initiative, and is leading the effort on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on environmental harms. Most recently she co-authored a chapter on environmental justice and climate resiliency with Dr. Nicky Sheats. She is working on a manuscript on environmental justice and climate change and among her other publications is the co-edited volume Environmental Justice: Discourses in International Political Economy which includes some of her work on North American Indigenous peoples and the challenge of forging a common agenda of indigenous rights, justice and sustainability. She received her B.A. from Stanford University and her Ph.D. from the University of Delaware’s College of Urban Affairs and Public Policy.
Shalini Gupta, Executive Director
Shalini Gupta is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED). Her work is focused on forging solutions to our environmental crises that are grounded in economic and social history. Shalini has worked with a range of organizations from local grassroots groups to international organizations engaging in the promotion of sound environmental policy and environmental justice. She was a governor appointee to the Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Board, with prior positions at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and as the senior energy associate at the IWLA Midwest office. She currently is on the leadership bodies of the national Climate Justice Alliance and the Midwest Environmental Justice Network, working to promote equitable and sustainable policies at the community level and across the country. Shalini is a former Bush Leadership Fellow, holds a B.S. in the geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago and a Masters degree in environmental management from Yale University. She loves spending time with her two boys, going for walks, and cooking.
Marisol Becerra, Research Analyst
Marisol Becerra is an environmental justice scholar. Her lived experiences growing up with the environmental justice movement in Chicago motivate her research at the intersection of environmental policy, sociology, and public health. Her passion for community-based GIS (geographic information systems) stems from her engagement as a community mapper with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization where she co-created OurMap of Environmental Justice, an interactive google map generated by high school students with digital photos and videos highlighting the stories of community resident experiences living in close proximity to Chicago’s coal power plants and other industrial facilities. Marisol obtained a B.A. in Public Policy Studies from DePaul University where she minored in Community Service Studies and completed a Certification in Geographic Information Systems. She earned a Master’s of Science in Natural Resources and Environment at University of Michigan. While there, she wrote her thesis on brownfield redevelopment and gentrification in Chicago. She is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Environmental Social Science at the Ohio State University with a specialization in Environmental Sociology and Spatial Demography.
Deb Feeny, Director of Finance
Deb Feeny has a wide range of accounting, finance, leadership, support services, and administrative expertise. She earned her C.P.A. license after graduating from St. Cloud State University and has worked in public accounting/audit and numerous corporate managerial positions. After being the owner of a bookstore and teaching as an adjunct professor, Deb returned to accounting/finance and for the past 15 years has concentrated on supporting nonprofits with critical missions; including the nonprofits AMICUS (inmates and ex-offender support), HearthConnection (homelessness), Living Justice Press (social justice book publisher), and the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys.