July 9 Webinar: Who Do You Call? Responding to Climate Disasters in Environmental Justice Communities



As the rate and intensity of climate disasters increase across the nation, how are we ensuring the health and safety of our communities?

All too often the same inequities that plague our economic system are apparent in disaster preparation and response. Lower-resourced communities – while often on the frontlines of disaster – have less access to federal programs and are not adequately served by the local and state systems in place. For the fifth webinar in our Climate and Health Equity series, environmental justice leaders Hilton Kelley and Jacqueline Patterson will join us for a discussion on disaster response needs in low wealth communities and communities of color. Drawing from decades of experience as dedicated advocates, the speakers will explore the emergency response system’s failure to adequately support these communities and what can be done to make the response more just and equitable. Kelley will speak from his experience as Executive Director & Founder of the Community In-Power and Development Association Inc, where he witnessed the stark disparities in response during Hurricane Harvey. Patterson recently founded a new project to support Black frontline climate justice leadership after years of leadership as Senior Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. She has spent her career advocating for equity and community ownership in disaster response and preparedness, including serving as an advisor on a disaster response board for the Red Cross. Patterson will discuss how the emergency response systems can be designed to better serve low-income communities and communities of color.

Health professionals have a key role to play in advocating for policies that prioritize the health and well-being of the most vulnerable when disaster strikes. Register here and please share widely!


Hilton Kelley – Executive Director & Founder, Community In-Power and Development Association Inc. Community Organizer, Activist, Author and Artist. Mr. Hilton Kelley is a United States Navy Veteran. He served his country with great honor and pride for 6 years. He was honorably discharged in 1986. After being released from the military, Mr. Kelley pursued his life’s passion of working in the film and television industry. He was inducted into the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) in 1991. After more than a decade in the acting business, Mr. Kelley took a trip back home to Port Arthur, Texas. What he found there inspired him to take action to rebuild and revitalize his hometown community. Mr. Kelley founded CIDA Inc. and began to challenge the environmental violations of the plants that loom over the community he calls home. CIDA collects scientific data from the emission sources and educates residents of Port Arthur about the toxic burden they shoulder. While fighting locally, Mr. Kelley also arranged for CIDA to join the international Shell Global Accountability Campaign and spoke at three Shell Annual Meetings in London and The Hague, The Netherlands. In 2002 Mr. Kelley testified before the US. Senate on behalf of impoverished communities across the nation. Mr. Kelley is the 2011 Goldman Environmental Prize winner and received Presidential recognition for his achievements.

Jacqueline Patterson – Before leaving to found The Chisholm Legacy Project: A Resource Hub for Black Frontline Climate Justice Leadership, Jacqueline was the Senior Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Since 2007 Patterson has served as coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United. Jacqui Patterson has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Patterson served as a Senior Women’s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid where she integrated a women’s rights lens for the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change as well as the intersection of violence against women and HIV&AIDS.  Previously, she served as Assistant Vice-President of HIV/AIDS Programs for IMA World Health providing management and technical assistance to medical facilities and programs in 23 countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Patterson served as the Outreach Project Associate for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Research Coordinator for Johns Hopkins University. She also served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica, West Indies.