• drrobertbullard@gmail.com

HBCUs and Frontline Gulf Coast Communities to Hold “Teach-In” at NYC Climate Convergence

September 08, 2014


The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Climate Initiative, a consortium of black colleges and community based organizations in the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic states, will hold a teach-in at the Global Climate Convergence at 10:45am – 12:15pm, September 20 (Empire State College, 325 Hudson Street, Room 544, New York, NY). The theme of the teach-in, Building a Strong U.S. “Southern Initiative” to Address Climate Change and Community Resilience, emphasizes educating and training leaders from low-wealth and people of color communities in the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic statesabout the causes, impacts and consequences of climate change, mitigation and adaptation strategies, and effective models for building and enhancing community resilience to disasters.

A growing body of evidence singled out the south as one of the most climate-vulnerable regions of the United States. Several recent blogs detailed why HBCUs must lead the development of strong partnerships with vulnerable climate-impacted communities and why a “southern initiative”on climate justice is needed to address climate vulnerability and the unique brand of environmental racism that is deeply imbedded in southern customs and culture. To view a slideshow presentation on “Climate Change and Vulnerability: Why a U.S. Southern Climate Change Initiative is Neededclick HERE

The HBCU Climate Initiative is led by a team of faculty and students from Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University and the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University and frontline community leaders who survived Hurricane Katrina, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and frontline residents who are currently faced with the Keystone XL Pipeline and related oil and gas projects slated for their communities.

The teach-in seeks to create innovative and interdisciplinary regional partnerships; assess current climate change knowledge in communities where HBCUs are located; increase climate knowledge at HBCUs and in low-wealth and vulnerable communities; develop a regional model for climate education and training, civic engagement, and climate-resilience in vulnerable populations (which will likely have national implications); and impact public policy efforts to address climate change so that outcomes are equitable for low-wealth and vulnerable communities. Participants are keenly aware of research over the past eight decades that documents government response to natural and human-made disasters have not been fair and that some communities have the “wrong complexion for protection.” Participants have firsthand knowledge of  funding and resource inequality, where frontline communities face the most climate-related challenges but have the least resources to address them.  This must change.

Dozens of climate justice leaders (educators, researchers, policy analysts, urban planners, health professionals, students, civil rights and human rights, climate and environmental justice, and community leaders) have been meeting via conference calls over the past several months conceptualizing this southern collaborative and hope to have an action plan after the People’s Climate March on September 21 that will lead into the upcoming April 2015 Third National HBCU Student Climate Change Conference at Dillard University in New Orleans.  A partial list of “teach-in” participants is listed below:


Dr. Robert D. Bullard, Dean, Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, Texas Southern University, Houston, TX

Dr. Beverly Wright, Director, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Dillard University, New Orleans, LA


Dr. Gregory S. Jenkins, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Howard University, Washington, DC

Dr. Richard D Gragg, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy Chair, Florida A&M University Environment and Sustainability Council, Tallahassee, FL

Dr. David A. Padgett, Associate Professor of Geography, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN

Ms. Monique Harden, Esq., Advocate for Environmental Human Rights, New Orleans, LA

Mr. Derrick Evans, Turkey Creek Community Initiatives, featured in Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek, Gulfport, MS

Mr. Hilton Kelley, Founder and Executive Director, Community In-Power and Development Association, Inc. (CIDA), Port Arthur, TX

Ms. Jacqui Patterson, Director, National Environmental and Climate Justice Program NAACP, Baltimore, MD

For additional informtion on the “teach-in”or how to join the HBCU Climate Change Initiative please contact Ms. Mary Williams, Dillard University, (504) 816-4005, mivorywill2@aol.com or  Dr. Glenn S. Johnson, Texas Southern University, (713) 813-4845, johnsongs@tsu.edu.

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