At the third session of our Washington Leadership Program, Environmental Justice, we will address the disparate impact of climate change and environmental hazards on communities of color and low-income communities. We will identify inequities in which communities have a say in the creation of environmental laws and regulations as well as broaden perspectives on environmental policy by connecting climate change with racial justice, inequality, and diversity. Lastly, this session will act as an opportunity for attendees to interact with leaders working in the the field of environmental justice in different ways.
Charles Lee is currently the Deputy Associate Assistant Administrator for Environmental Justice at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In this capacity, he leads the development and implementation of EPA’s agency-wide environmental justice strategic plans, i.e., Plan EJ 2014 and now EJ 2020.
Mr. Lee is widely recognized as a true pioneer in the arena of environmental justice. He was the principal author of the landmark report, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States. He helped to spearhead the emergence of a national environmental justice movement and federal action including the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, Executive Order 12898, EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), and the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice. In recognition of his efforts, Mr. Lee was invited to President Clinton’s signing of Executive Order 12898 in the Oval Office.
Mr. Lee has served in multiple capacities, ranging from creating the United Church of Christ’s environmental justice program to directing EPA’s environmental justice office. He was a charter member of the NEJAC, where he chaired its Waste and Facility Siting committee, as well as serving on Institute of Medicine Committee on Environmental Justice and other panels. In these capacities, he led efforts to incorporate environmental justice into EPA’s rulemaking process, develop models for collaborative problem-solving, transform brownfields redevelopment into a community revitalization paradigm, advance approaches to address cumulative risks and impacts, and lay a strong science foundation for integrating environmental justice into decision-making.
Mr. Lee has authored numerous papers, reports, journals and articles. His recent article on “AAPI Environmental Leadership for 2040” appeared in the UCLA AAPI Nexus Journal this month. He is the recipient of many awards for his work, including the EJ Pioneer Award from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12898.
Ann Li is currently a program manager at clean energy nonprofit Groundswell, where she works with local businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities to make the switch to 100% clean energy. Before moving to DC, she was a field organizer on the 2013 Los Angeles mayoral race and a community educator in financial/tech literacy. Ann studied Business and International Relations at the University of Southern California.
Piyachat Terrell has over 25 years of experience in the federal government with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. She is in charge of the student program at the US EPA. Piyachat is committed to building effective partnerships with AAPI serving institutions to support students. Piyachat works closely with the AAPIs to address environmental challenges in their communities.
During the Katrina aftermath, while serving as the Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on AAPIs, Piyachat was instrumental in mediating meetings between the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Vietnamese community in New Orleans East regarding the controversial Chef Menteur Landfill. As a result of the meetings, the State of Louisiana agreed to close down the Landfill, bringing the victory to the Vietnamese community. During the BP Oil Spill, Piyachat helped organized the first public meeting for the fisher folks and the EPA Deputy Administrator ensuring full community participation.
Piyachat is also an art advocate who believes in the power of social and environmental change through art. At the 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Piyachat presented photographs taken by children of the fisher folks on the Talkstory stage. Piyachat shared personal stories of fisher folk youths ensuring that their voices were heard. Piyachat’s current work focuses on women and children issues, a selection of her work is devoted to raising visibility of targeted and victimized hill tribe children in Thailand. As an environmental artist, Piyachat works with recycled materials.
Tiffany Hsieh serves as the Development and Office Coordinator for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators and works to empower environmentally progressive state lawmakers. Tiffany previously worked at the State Climate Hub as the Program Coordinator where she assisted environmental groups and state governments with the implementation and compliance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. She has interned at the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the United Nations Environment Programme. Tiffany graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Management and a minor in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning.
Mai Ichihara is currently a Program Assistant for the Government Affairs team at the Natural Resources Defense Council where she supports the legislative advocates in their implementation of governmental strategies and helps coordinate interactions with Congress, the administration, and policy experts to defend and expand U.S. environmental laws. Previously, she worked as an Associate Producer for the D.C. Bureau of TV Asahi, a Japanese broadcast network, where she covered news on foreign affairs and U.S. politics. Prior to that, she held various public service positions including at the State Department, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Congress. Mai holds a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University, and her most memorable school experience was studying abroad in Shanghai and Beijing in 2011. As a student, she was active in the AAPI community as a board member of the Japanese American Student Alliance and Vice President of an Asian interest sorority, and she hopes to continue promoting cultural diversity and service wherever she goes.
Support for the Environmental Justice session is sponsored by the National Resources Defense Council
More About The Washington Leadership Program
The Washington Leadership Program (WLP) provides a space for young AAPI students interning in Washington, D.C. to come together, build community, and explore their heritage within the context of public service. Through eight weekly sessions over the summer, WLP introduces students to AAPI public service leaders who can inform and inspire students’ own civic engagement. The overarching theme for WLP 2016 is Redefining Public Service, and each session will challenge the conventional image of public service through its content, its speakers, or its activities.
2016 Washington Leadership Program Planning Committee Soo Koo • Amy Wantanabe • Krystal Ka’Ai • Irene Lin • Rebecca Lee • Gita Ram • Daniel Jung • YLan Nguyen • Shiv Rawal • Justin Trinidad • Mai Ichihara • Tiffany Hsieh • Sam Cho • Carrie Kagawa • Christian Edlagan • Alton Wang • Elizabeth Thompson
Pre-registration for this event is now closed. However door registrations for this event will open at 5:30 pm the day of the event.
By registering for CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program, you give permission to be recorded or photographed during the session.