“Our People, Our Communities, Our Environment”: Reflection on the April 11-13 EJ Conference


Madeline Stano is the inaugural Luke Cole Memorial Fellow. Through her fellowship she works on CRPE’s National Campaign in the areas of Civil Rights and on behalf of the Native Village of Kivalina, Alaska. This blog was intiated in order to create a space to share national environmental justice struggles and stories that may be excluded from the mainstream dialogue. Madeline can be reached at mstano@crpe-ej.org.

Expanding the Conversation on Climate Change and Environmental Justice
April 30, 2013

“I am here to speak for my people. My community. It’s inspiring and feels good to be around people that identify and feel the same hurt of our people, our communities and our environment.” Donna Branham, Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, West Virginia.

I continue to reflect on the power and wisdom in Donna’s words that I recently heard at the Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change (EJLFCC) meeting in Washington, D.C.. Donna shared the devastation mountaintop removal continues to wreak on the health and well-being of her home and communities neighboring operations. Rooted in her own experiences in West Virginia, Donna offered her vision of a healthier more equitable future where communities and not corporations control natural resources to representatives of environmental justice organizations from across the country.

After being inspired by national leaders like Donna at the EJLFCC, I knew I wanted to create a space for communities doing incredible work to speak, uplift the successes of our allies, highlight various environmental justice issues largely ignored by more mainstream media sources and share my own reflections on my work through my fellowship. I decided to start this blog that will hopefully serve as an accessible spot to share information.

As the Luke Cole Memorial Fellow it is my tremendous honor and privilege to continue the work of Luke—a pioneer fighting for environmental justice at the national level. Luke’s work as an advocate always reflected his complex understanding of the many social, political, racial and economic dimensions of environmental injustices and in his tradition my blog’s focus will go beyond individual legal campaigns reaching for the more nuanced truth.

It is my hope that this project will further Luke’s legacy and legacies of all the sisters and brothers like Donna working for environmental justice.


EJ CJ Forum