48217: What One of the Country’s Most Polluted Zip Codes Can Teach Us about Environmental and Digital Justice

48217: What One of the Country’s Most Polluted Zip Codes Can Teach Us about Environmental and Digital Justice

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Saturday, Jul. 19 11:00 AM (Eastern)

Ends: Saturday, Jul. 19 12:15 PM (Eastern)

With only 8,200 residents, southeast Michigan’s 48217 zip code is sandwiched between I-75 and giant industrial polluters. Smokestacks billow above schoolyards in River Rouge, MI, where more than 1.6 million pounds of hazardous chemicals are released into the community every year. The zip is part of Wayne County, which has the highest number of pediatric asthma cases in the state, combined with the highest state population of those living in poverty. Clean air and water violations abound the physical space, coupled with barriers to affordable cyberspace, threatening many residents’ ability to survive in a digital age. Learn about the interplay between environmental and digital justice in one community, from fighting for equal access to the internet, launching community media labs, and improving air quality.


Dr. M. K. Dorsey

Dr. M. K. Dorsey

Dr. Michael Dorsey is a recognized expert on global governance and sustainability. For more than two decades Dr. Dorsey has provided strategic guidance and advice to governments, foundations, firms and many others on the interplay of multilateral environment policy, finance and economic development. In 1992, he was a member of the U.S. State Department Delegation to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, “The Earth Summit.”

In 2010 Lisa Jackson, the US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, appointed Dr. Dorsey to the EPA’s National Advisory Committee (NAC). Administrator Jackson reappointed Dr. Dorsey in 2012. In 2013 the National Journal named Dr. Dorsey one of 200 national “energy and environment expert insiders”.

Dr. Dorsey, a member of the Club of Rome and a Director on the Sierra Club national board, is also presently the interim Director of the energy and environment program at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

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Jenny Lee


Jenny is the Executive Director of Allied Media Projects. She was instrumental in relocating The Allied Media Conference from Bowling Green, OH to Detroit in 2007 and has since facilitated the annual gathering’s growth and evolution to a national organization with deep roots in her hometown of Detroit. Her community organizing in Detroit started in 2002, as a 19-year-old participant in the youth leadership program, Detroit Summer. In 2009 she led the process of founding the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition and securing $1.8 million in federal funding for Detroit through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This funding led to the creation of the Detroit Future programs, which have trained several thousand Detroiters to use media and technology for creative community transformation efforts in schools and neighborhoods across the city.

Michelle Martinez


Michelle Martinez is a graduate of Stony Brook University, Class of 2014. Psychology and Sociology Double Major and Women and Gender Studies Minor. Throughout her college career she has been very involved on her campus with Planned Parenthood. She help found the first VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood Chapter at Stony Brook University. She has attended The Youth Organizing Policy Institute Conference in Albany, NY in September 2012 and The Youth Organizing and Policy Conference, in Washington, D.C. in July 2013 to represent her campus and Planned Parenthood. As well as the Advocates for Youth, Urban Retreat in September 2013, as part of the 1 in 3 Campaign to become a Campus Organizer. She also participated in ElectHer on her campus.

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