Widening the 'Circle': Growing Youth Environmental Justice Leadership in Chester with Zulene Mayfield and Giovanna Di Chiro, Working Wednesdays
Widening the 'Circle': Growing Youth Environmental Justice Leadership in Chester
Zulene Mayfield and Giovanna Di Chiro will share how Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL, aka “Circle”) fights to shut down the facilities polluting the city’s air, water, and environment, and how the organization joins with allies to build sustainable economic development opportunities for the city’s young people. This “fight and build” approach reflects CRCQL’s long-time commitment to environmental justice: as long as the community is burdened with the negative and cumulative impacts of living next to a host of toxic facilities, CRCQL continues “fighting the bad” to protect residents’ health and quality of life. However, the organization is also committed to intergenerational justice and to “building” new pathways towards a healthier future. The goal of “building the new” focuses on youth environmental and climate justice leadership that includes generating green jobs opportunities in new industries such as solar installation, zero waste technology, ecological agriculture, and climate resilient infrastructure.
Zulene Mayfield is the Chairperson of Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL). Through her dedicated leadership over the years, CRCQL has become a nationally and internationally recognized community organization fighting for the rights of the predominantly Black, brown, and low-income residents of the city of Chester, and for all marginalized communities. Mayfield is a highly sought-after public speaker and lecturer at colleges and universities across the country and consults with numerous non-profit organizations. Mayfield served as a member of NEJAC (National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee) from 1995-1997, and is the recipient of several awards including the NAACP’s Sojourner Truth Award and the city of Chester’s Civic Leaders Award for her work addressing childhood lead poisoning.
Affiliated Researcher: Giovanna Di Chiro is Professor of Environmental Studies at Swarthmore College where she teaches courses on environmental justice theory, ecofeminism(s), and community sustainability, and coordinates the program on Environmental Justice and Climate Resilience. Di Chiro has published widely on the issues of human rights, food security, and environmental and climate justice. She is completing a book titled Worldmaking from the Ground Up: The Praxis of Environmental Justice.
PPEH offers a lunch series, Working Wednesdays, designed to showcase in-progress Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) straddling theoretical and practical environmental concerns. These sessions take place on Wednesdays, 12:30-1:30 sharp.
All sessions are open to the Penn community but require RSVP. Grab a lunch and join us in person or on Zoom!