Queen Zakia Shabazz
Queen Zakia Shabazz is an author, educator, lecturer, and environmental justice advocate. Her work began in 1996 when she discovered that her young son had been poisoned by lead, prompting her to establish United Parents Against Lead (UPAL). UPAL is a national networking organization of and for parents of children poisoned by lead that works to end the threat of lead poisoning and other environmental hazards through education and awareness, advocacy, intervention, and resource referral.
In addition to serving as executive director of UPAL, Shabazz is a local Stand for Children Organizer, a position she's held since 1996. She currently serves as Coordinator of the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative (VEJC) and is a member of the Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative. Shabazz is an inaugural Community Partners in Residence Fellow at the University of Richmond, and a former elementary school teacher. As an advocate for Adult Literacy she has served as a READ Center Board member and on the advisory board of the Senate Joint Subcommittee Studying Lead Poisoning Prevention. Shabazz continues to provide valuable insight, time and dedication towards the eradication of lead poisoning.
Queen Shabazz holds a bachelor's in business administration and a paralegal certificate specializing in real estate and civil litigation. She is also a notary public and a 2019 graduate of the EPA's Environmental Justice Academy.
VEJC Board of Directors
Gustavo Angeles is a Peruvian who moved to the United States in 1999. He worked as an attorney in Peru and earned a Master’s and Ph.D. in Education from the University of Arizona. He has worked with immigrant communities, seeking ways to improve their living conditions, linguistic and cultural maintenance, and rights. Gustavo brings personal, scholarly, and legal perspectives to his current position He serves as the Environmental Justice Program Coordinator in the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter where he brings a diverse combination of personal, scholarly, and legal perspectives to the role.
Kendyl Crawley Crawford has been at the forefront of congregational organizing efforts taking place in Virginia around the issue of climate change as the Director of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light. Kendyl received a bachelor’s degree in Marine and Environmental Science from Hampton University in 2012 and has a Master’s of Science in Environment, Science and Society from University College London where she conducted research on social movement organizations mobilizing around air pollution in London on a Marshall Scholarship. Kendyl is also a member of the NAACP and has received a Creating a Climate for Change Certificate of Recognition, National Hampton Alumni Association Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, a Proclamation from the City of Hampton, VA and also was declared a Young Futurist by The Root.
Dr. Mary Finley-Brook
Dr. Mary Finley-Brook is currently an Associate Professor of Geography and the Environment at the University of Richmond. Dr. Finley-Brook's research focuses and expertise include a diverse range of topics including: climate change policy and carbon trade, transnational forest management and extraction, multi-ethnic/indigenous peoples' resource rights in Latin America and sustainability within institutions of higher education. Mary has years of experience within her topical research areas and her work has been published and cited in dozens of academic journals and books. Dr. Finley-Brook is also very active within the environmental justice sphere in the state and formerly served on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice. Mary holds a BA in Environmental Studies, Concentration in Latin American Studies from the University of Vermont, a MA in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and a PhD in Geography from the University of Texas-Austin.
Garry A. Harris currently serves as the President of the Center for Sustainable Communities and holds the role of President of Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG), a consulting firm that provides diverse sustainability, energy engineering and power generation technical services. Garry holds a BS in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Virginia, a MS in Technology Management and a MS in Quality Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Garry has more than three decades of experience in the energy, environmental and sustainability fields and has performed extensive project management, design, construction, quality assurance, field engineering, plant operations, training, research and regulatory activities at locations nationally and internationally. Garry has received numerous awards and holds positions on several boards and civic associations including 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light and Emory University School of Theology (CREATE program (Culture, Religion, Ethics, and the Environment).
Dr. Erica L. Holloman
Dr. Erica L. Holloman currently serves dual roles as the Coalition Coordinator for the Southeast CARE Coalition and the CEO of Ayika Solutions, LLC, an environmental consulting firm specializing in community based solutions to environmental issues. Erica holds a BS in Marine and Environmental Science and an MS in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Science, both from Hampton University. Dr. Holloman received her PhD in Marine Sciences from The College of William & Mary, where her primary research centered around human/ecological risk assessment and toxicology. Erica has over 20 years of experience in environmental science and consulting and is passionate about grassroots advocacy, media communications, and eco-consulting.
Lara Mack is the Virginia Field Coordinator at Appalachian Voices, a grassroots advocacy organization focused on healthy communities and environmental protection throughout the central and southern Appalachia region. Lara graduated from James Madison University with a BS in ecology and environmental biology and has been working out of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley area since then. With a passion for group facilitation and community organizing, Lara has worked on environmental and social justice issues for a decade and considers herself and this work a part of the legacy to build power in our communities and fight oppression in our culture.
Tram Nguyen is the co-executive director of New Virginia Majority, a force for change in Virginia through mass organizing, leadership development, and strategic communications. Tram has long been an organizer and supporter of communities and groups of workers. As a project coordinator for Mount Sinai Medical Center, she helped fight for federal funding for a health treatment program to address the unmet physical and mental needs of rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero following the September 11th World Trade Center attacks. As an emergency preparedness/response director for Boat People SOS, she organized more than 30,000 Vietnamese immigrants whose lives had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Nguyen holds a BA in economics and Spanish from Barnard College, Columbia University and was a 2010 Lead the Way Fellow at the New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
BeKura Shabazz is the Founder and Mediator of First Alliance Consulting, LLC, a consulting group that uses a community-based business solutions model to develop strategies geared towards resolving specific community issues. BeKura has over two decades of experience in the field of community organizing and political education on the democratic processes that seek to empower citizens to take action in their neighborhoods. She is also active with the organization, the Southeast CARE Coalition and has worked in the past for CASA of Central Virginia, the Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) and the International Women's Lib Coalition.
Harrison Wallace is Chesapeake Climate Action Network's (CCAN) Virginia Director, advocating for strong climate policy and managing CCAN’s grassroots campaigns throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. He also serves on CCAN’s Executive Campaign Committee, helping to plan the future of CCAN’s campaigns region-wide. Most recently, he was CCAN’s Policy Coordinator & Coastal Campaigns Manager, where he led CCAN’s policy team and coastal grassroots campaigns. Harrison also serves on the boards of the Virginia Civic Engagement Table and the Virginia Progressive Leadership Project. Harrison holds a BA in English Language and Literature/Letters from James Madison University.