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African Americans and the Environment

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Date and time
Thursday, April 19, 2007

WABE-Atlanta radio talk show host Valerie Jackson moderates a town hall-style panel discussion on Global Warming and other environmental challenges, featuring national environmental leaders. The event includes a video message from Congressman John Lewis, a letter read from Senator Barack Obama, and a spoken word performance by Doria Roberts. This National African American Earth Day Summit is sponsored by The Keeping It Wild program, which is a series of events to raise public awareness about the importance of Southeastern wild lands. This event honors the contributions of African American conservationists, re-energizes and builds partnerships among diverse communities engaged in natural lands protection in Georgia and the Southeast. Keeping it Wild is a program of The Wilderness Society, a national member group of Earth Share. Keeping it Wild connects people to the land and to each other in order to protect and conserve our wildlands.

Jerome Ringo is a dedicated champion of environmental justice and vocal advocate of clean energy. He has firsthand experience with environmental challenges we are facing, after having worked for more than 20 years in Louisiana's petrochemical industry. Jerome spent most of his career as an active union member working with his fellow members to secure a safe work environment and quality jobs. Jerome's experience organizing environmental and labor communities and his drive to further diversify the environmental movement bridges many partners creating a broad based coalition that provides real solutions for our energy crisis. *Ebony* magazine named Jerome Ringo one of the most influential African Americans for 2006 in its April issue. Jerome Ringo was also highlighted in the May issue of *Urban Influence Magazine* as one of the Top Ten African American Influences in the country. Jerome is now the Immediate Past Chairman for the National Wildlife Federation. Jerome Ringo was the United States only black delegate at the 1998 Global Warming Treaty Negotiations in Kyoto, Japan. In addition to being present during Kyoto Treaty Negotiations, Ringo represented the National Wildlife Federation at the United Nations' conference on sustainable development in 1999.
Charles R. Jordan received the Pugsley Medal in 1995. He is perhaps the leading evangelist in the parks and recreation field of his time. He is an articulate, passionate visionary who has inspired thousands of professionals in the field and citizens in his home community of Portland, to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of those around him. He was born in Texas, but as a young person moved to Palm Springs, California. At six-foot-seven he thought he might have a future in basketball and aspired to be a coach. After college he went on to work as a recreation leader for the city of Palm Springs in 1961, his home town, and that launched his influential career in the field. Jordan received his BS from Gonzaga University in education, sociology and philosophy, undertaking graduate work in education at Loma Linda University, and in public administration at the University of Southern California. In 2001, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by the University of Vermont. Mayor Neil Goldschmidt supported his appointment to a city council vacancy in 1974, making Jordan the city's first African American commissioner. After his appointment, he was elected in 1976 and re-elected in 1980 and 1984. During his ten years as an elected official, Jordan was fire commissioner for two years, police commissioner for five years and parks commissioner for three years. Through experiences that ranged from responsibilities for senior and youth programs, job training, educational research, and human relations, to the duties of an urban police commissioner, Jordan brought a perspective to parks that has been described as insightful, refreshing, bold and visionary.
Nia Robinson, an inaugural Climate Justice Corps Fellow in 2003, brings to the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC) her skill in, commitment to, and passion for organizing. Her transition from concerned citizen to the helm of EJCC demonstrates her commitment to EJCC's core work. Before joining EJCC, she was an organizer and labor relations representative with Service Employees International Union and a program organizer with the Earth Tomorrow Program of the National Wildlife Federation.
Dr. Durley is an enthusiastic, spirit-filled, energetic man of God. Dr. Durley has revitalized Bible studies, youth programs, health committees, feeding and clothing outreaches, boy/girl scouting and other missionary efforts.
A regular on the national singer/songwriter circuit, Doria Roberts creates songs that have been described as "a delicious, bohemian blend of folk, jazz and pop". Doria's versatility as a songwriter and entertainer is never lost whether she is performing solo or with her band. The Atlanta based Singer/Songwriter has released her fifth recording project, a new 26 track, live disc entitled *Alive & Well*. The album is a culmination of solo, band, spoken word and storytelling performances from shows captured live at Eddie's Attic (Decatur, GA) and the Red Light Cafe (Atlanta) in June & August 2001 and January 2002.