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New York environmental justice advocate to speak Oct. 24

October 16, 2007 By Tom Sinclair

Peggy Shepard, a prominent environmental and health advocate for minority groups in New York City, will give a free public lecture Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Her topic will be "Environmental Justice, Health, and Sustainability: An Urban View" at 7:30 p.m. in room 180 Science Hall, 550 N. Park St.

Shepard is executive director and co-founder of West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT), the first organization created in New York to improve environmental health and quality of life in communities of color.

Established in 1988, WE ACT works for environmental and social justice on issues of land use, waterfront development, brownfield redevelopment, transportation and air pollution, open space, and environmental health. It is active in research, public education, advocacy, organizing, government accountability, litigation, legislative affairs, and sustainable economic development.

WE ACT is nationally recognized in the field of community-based participatory research in partnership with the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

Shepard, a recipient of the prestigious Heinz Award for the Environment, has been influential in the environmental justice movement at all levels, from local to national. A former newspaper and magazine journalist, Shepard also has worked in city and state government in New York.

Her UW–Madison talk, part of the Gaylord Nelson Lecture Series, honoring the late Wisconsin governor and U.S. senator, is sponsored by the Nelson Institute with support from the Holstrom-Kineke Environmental Studies Fund and the Ho Chunk Nation. Environmental justice is the theme of this year’s Nelson lecture series.