Thank you to our sponsors, without whom this event would not have been possible:
Jaime Lawson – Community Outreach & Events Chair for Houston Climate Movement
Jaime is a local climate, environment, and social justice activist, with 12 years combined working in the Houston environmental community, green building industry, and local social justice communities.
Huey German Wilson – Trinity Gardens Super Neighborhood 48
Huey is the mother of four fantastic children and member of Trinity Gardens Church of Christ, where she works faithfully with the Joseph’s Storehouse Pantry, Community Liaison, and the Nursery Ministry.
She is also very active in her community. She spent the spring of 2013 rallying the community to build an awesome KABOOM community playground and garden in the Trinity Gardens community. Huey works with several community organizations including being the current president of Super Neighborhood 48-Trinty/Houston Gardens, Kashmere Feeder Pattern Community Council, Co-founder/Director of Northeast Houston Redevelopment Council and Precinct Chair in Harris County.
Keith Downey – Kashmere Gardens Super Neighborhood 52
Keith Downey is a native Houstonian who grew up in 5th Ward, Kashmere and Trinity Gardens. Mr. Downey has worked as an architectural designer to design affordable housing for low income families in Harlem, Spanish Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn New York. Mr. Downey received the New York City Parks and Recreation Capital Team of the Year Award in New York City in 2011-12 for helping to rebuild over 20 parks around the city in Brooklyn and Queens New York.
Mr. Downey is the Kashmere Gardens Super Neighborhood Council #52 President. He believes community stakeholders should take part in the decision making that helps all residents. He advocates for the needs of residents be it drainage, crime, food insecurity, economic development and environmental justice issues. He is on the board of Bayou City Initiative.
During Harvey he aided in the rescue of hundreds of residents around Harris County that was stuck in their communities by bringing attention to their need for rescue. He is a Director of Partnerships with Northeast Houston Redevelopment Council
He was selected as a 2017 Houston Hero by the Houston Chronicle. 2018 Ford Motor Company Harvey Hero recipient and a 2018 Shell Hero of Houston. The City of Houston named July 23rd 2020 Keith Downey Day. He has been selected to receive the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award fall of 2022.
He contributes his achievements to his lovely wife Roshida Downey to whom he has been married for 26 years.
Dolores Rodgers – Houston Coalition for Equitable Development Without Displacement, Community Supporter, Historian
Wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, family/community historian, fifth generation Houstonian. Community connections: EEDC, HCED, Operation Love, Faith in Action, ETAG, JYNAA, Super Neighborhood 67, Third Ward Civic Club, various historical groups. I attribute any minor success in my life to a spiritual life that focuses on loving God and loving people.
Assata – Nicole Richards – Houston Community Land Trust; The Emancipation Economic Development Council; Project Row Houses
Assata is the founding director of the Sankofa Research Institute (SRI), a nonprofit with a mission to “create knowledge to build community” that employs Community-Based Participatory Research to work collaboratively with academic researchers, community organizations, and funders to generate empirical evidence to inform social change. Some of SRI’s current and past project partners include Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Southeast Houston Transformation Alliance of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Dance Source Houston, Project Row Houses, St. Anne Catholic Church, and CHRISTUS Health Foundation.
She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and earned a master’s and a doctoral degree from Pennsylvania State University. After serving on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh, she returned to Houston, Texas, to work with Project Row Houses (PRH), a nationally and internationally recognized public arts organization that utilizes art as a transformative mechanism for revitalizing economically-depressed urban communities. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Houston, teaching courses in the sociology department and the arts leadership program.
As a public sociologist, Assata serves as the Board President of the newly formed Houston Community Land Trust, the Third Ward Cooperative Community Builders, and the Emancipation Economic Development Council, a people-focus and place-based effort to revitalize, preserve, and protect a historic African-American community in Houston, Texas. Most recently, she was elected as the founding board president of the Community Care Cooperative, the second worker-owned home care agency in Texas and the first entity incorporated in the United States owned and operated by community health workers.
Perri “PK” McCary – United Colors Learning Institute
P. K. McCary, Houston artist, educator, and social activist who works tirelessly to address issues of societal ills. Mama PK, as she is affectionately called, is a certified mediator, an anti-racism facilitator, and a mentor to artists and activists whose desire it is to make the world a better place in which to live.
John “Bunchy” Crear -Black Panther Party
Born 1952 in Houston, Texas, Crear joined BLACK PANTHER PARTY, in Houston in 1971. Later Crear transferred to Central Headquarters in Oakland 1972, especially a chapter in Las Vegas in 1977. Was member till 1981. Currently lives in Houston.
Carol Burrus – First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston Climate Action Team
Carol Hendrix Burrus is the Director of Religious Community at First Unitarian Universalist Church, where she’s been serving families in progressive, holistic spiritual education most of the past 28 years. She is a singer-songwriter who loves playing and teaching ukulele. She dabbles at gardening and cooking tasty, colorful vegan food. Environmental health and the well-being of future generations are her dearest passions.
Dr. Helen Shih – Flow of Light Natural Health & Houston Climate Movement
Dr. Helen Shih is a leadership coach specializing in healing, life purpose and vision-mission development. She is here to assist personal and organization transformation needed to cope with climate stress and transition to new ways of holistic living.
Doris Brown – West Street Recovery
Doris is West Street Recovery’s Co-Director of Community Research, Organizing, and Special Events. She is also a co-founder of the NORTHEAST ACTION COLLECTIVE (NAC). She graduated from HCC with a degree in Human Service Technology and Certification in Mental Health. In 2016 she graduated from University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. She joined staff at West Street in June of 2020.
Aaron Ambroso – Co-founder, Houston Climate Justice Museum & Cultural Center
Aaron Ambroso is a museum professional, educator, writer, activist, and artist. He received his Masters in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has worked at the Nasher Museum of Art, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Dr. Sylvia Dee – Professor, Rice University Climate & Water Lab
Dr. Sylvia Dee, an Assistant Professor in the department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Science, is a climate scientist specializing in climate change and the hydrological cycle in the past, present, and future. Her research focuses on how Earth’s modes of natural variability, like El Niño and La Niña events, compound with climate change to alter the characteristics of weather and climate extremes, such as flooding hazard on the Mississippi River.
Sylvia received her Bachelor’s degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering at Princeton University, with minors in Environmental Studies and Geological Engineering. She received her Ph.D. in climate dynamics at the University of Southern California, and subsequently completed postdoctoral fellowships at Brown University and the UT Austin Institute for Geophysics before arriving at Rice in 2018. She was named a National Academies of Science and Engineering Gulf Research Program Early-Career Research Fellow in 2021 for her work on climate change impacts on the Gulf of Mexico.
Outside of Rice, Sylvia regularly leads environmental science programming for the Girl Scouts of the USA, work for which she was recently honored with the “Global Leadership Award,” by the Girl Scouts of New England. She is a regular contributor to media coverage on climate change including via NPR, AccuWeather, and the Houston Chronicle. Finally, Sylvia is a college associate and the Divisional Advisor for Natural Sciences in Duncan College, and loves working with Rice undergraduates to find solutions to environmental problems.
Carmen Cavezza – Climate Justice Community Organizer, Coalition for Environment, Equity, & Resilience
Carmen Cavezza is a foreign medical graduate with experience working with underserved communities. She has been extremely fortunate to live in several states and have met many different people involved in the environment and sustainability, which has exposed her to the impact humans and industry are having on our natural ecosystems. She relocated to Houston just before Hurricane Harvey and was confronted with Houston’s many environmental justice challenges and industry’s lax regulation. This ignited her desire to be active and to advocate for policy solutions and to shift the power dynamics. Carmen works to bring the voices of the most impacted community members by the climate crisis to the decision-making table and to empower communities in the frontlines to advocate for themselves.
Mike Lewis – Clean Air & Water Advocate, Environment Texas
Michael Lewis is the Clean Air and Water Advocate for Environment Texas. Before moving into advocacy, he was a project manager for various technology companies. After getting his Master’s in Environmental Science from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, he was a biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife where he worked on restoration and remediation projects.
John Beard – Founder, Chairman, CEO of Port Arthur Community Action Network.
After working in the oil industry for 38 years, Beard turned to holding the industry accountable and became a community advocate in his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas. He founded the Port Arthur Community Action Network to fight for health and safety protections in an area teeming with refineries, export terminals, petrochemical plants — and cancer. In the past year Beard has emerged as an environmental justice leader on the national and world stage. He was one of the frontline leaders of October’s historic People Vs. Fossil Fuels week of action in Washington, which saw thousands demanding that President Biden stop approvals of fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency.
Adrian Shelley – Texas Director, Public Citizen
Adrian Shelley is a native Texan from the City of Houston. He is the Director of Public Citizen’s Texas office, which works on issues including clean energy, environmental enforcement, and ethics reform. Adrian has a law degree from the University of Texas and previously served as the Executive Director for Air Alliance Houston. He enjoys spending time with his family, reading, playing music, growing food and other plants, and the outdoors.
Anika Shethia – Houston Youth Climate Strike
Anika Shethia is a high school student at St. Agnes Academy and a grassroots community activist. She co-leads Houston Youth Climate Strike, a youth-led nonprofit dedicated to promoting environmental justice. Anika also spearheads the Office of Resilience and Sustainability’s Youth Engagement Working Group for the implementation of the Houston Climate Action Plan.
Gargi Rakhade – Houston Youth Climate Strike
Gargi Rakhade (she/her) is a senior at Bellaire High school and one of the general coordinators for Houston Youth Climate Strike. She started climate organizing in 2020, and has worked on educational campaigns, political lobbying, and has spoke and hosted rallies and events for climate justice!
Varun Manickam – Houston Youth Climate Strike
Varun Manickam is a junior at Bellaire High School and is the Political and Research Lead of the Houston Youth Climate Strike. He has been involved in debate and political campaigning events since 2017 and created Drain the Hurricane in 2021, a student-based project that hand-manufactures hurricane kits for distribution as well as teaching hurricane preparedness tips to numerous schools in the local Houston area. He can’t wait to spread his climate advocacy as well as learn from a diverse set of individuals and their climate stories from all across the Houston area!