The Center for Health, Environment & Justice is committed to healthy neighborhoods and ensuring that under-represented communities no longer become the dumping ground for toxic wastes and life-threatening pollution.
Diversity and democracy make us stronger. To that end, we are asking you to send along this message to your friends and contacts who have the experience organizing in diverse communities and the passion to continue the momentum forward as the next Executive Director of CHEJ. Here’s a message from Board Chair Emeritus Alonzo Spencer:
“I was at the helm of CHEJ as chair of the board for eight years. I’m looking for the next generation to take over and assist communities to speak up, step up, lead and create the change our country needs to win environmental health and economic justice for all.
People of color, young people and women together comprise what many call the ‘emerging American electorate,’ and it is they who will both determine environmental and economic policy, and live with the consequences of the decisions.”
Think about it . . . It’s your turn now.
The Board of Directors of CHEJ is pleased to announce that Lois Gibbs, our founder and Executive Director, has accepted the opportunity to shift the focus of her work to our newly created Leadership Training Academy program.
To maintain our momentum in supporting community-based environmental health and justice work, we have begun the formal search for the next grassroots leader with excellent training and management skills and a vision of powerful action – our successor Executive Director. To support the Board in the search process, CHEJ has engaged Democracy Partners. Our process of outreach and selection begins very soon. The job description can be found on our website and questions or suggestions should be directed to Cheri Whiteman by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. In keeping with CHEJ’s mission of justice, we want to ensure that communities of color and all minorities in the “emerging American electorate’ have the opportunity to apply. Please act quickly, as we would like to have all candidates in within the next few weeks. Here is a link to the job post http://democracypartners.com/jobs
Lois Gibbs will shift her full-time attention away from her current day-to-day administrative responsibilities with the engagement of our next Executive Director, which is expected to occur this summer. “I’m excited to spend more time in the field to build the advocacy base for change!” said Lois, “and it’s a great opportunity for one of the emerging community leaders out there to take CHEJ to the next level!”
CHEJ has launched the Leadership Training Academy program to strengthen and sustain the infrastructure of fledgling environmental health and justice organizations in the United States.
CHEJ recently completed a strategic review and refocus of our work. We were aided as a Board in this process by a group of allies and advisors, and our retreat was facilitated by Jim Abernathy. In examining our work, the following important findings led CHEJ’s Board to take those steps to reshape the organization to meet the increasing demand from the field for Leadership Training Academy program services:
- There are more local, state and regional groups emerging than in the past. This is due primarily to energy-related proposals and activities such as pipelines, extraction wells, export terminals and associated waste disposal.
- Established groups are growing and looking for advice on long-term organizing, establishing collaborative efforts, Board development and establishing a three-year strategic organizational plan.
Lois describes the Academy program this way: “The Leadership Training Academy is a training center ‘without walls.’ It provides a distinctive brand of leadership skills-building training and mentoring of local group leaders around the country to build the base of the environmental health and justice movement. This program is based on
a proven, time-tested methodological framework that is grounded in CHEJ’s 34 years of grassroots leadership and coaching experience, campaign strategy knowledge and the tactics of successful grassroots victories. A special focus of the training activities is with thousands of women leading grassroots groups on a range of environmental health and economic justice issues. People of color, young people and women together comprise what many call the ‘emerging American electorate,’ and it is they who will both determine environmental and economic policy, and live with the consequences of the decisions.”
I personally am excited to “free Lois” to spend more of her energy in the field, and the Board of Directors looks forward to working with new leadership. We’ve always known that success comes when we learn from the past and step boldly into the future. With a new CHEJ Executive Director and our legendary friend and teacher, Lois Gibbs, we will have the best of both worlds!
Peter B. Sessa
CHEJ Board Chair