Climate Change: Who Will Be Hit First and Worst if We Don’t Act?

Climate Change: Who Will Be Hit First and Worst if We Don’t Act?

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Thursday, Aug. 10 10:30 AM (Eastern)

Ends: Thursday, Aug. 10 11:45 AM (Eastern)

So you’ve heard about Flint and Standing Rock, right? For every frontline community that makes the news, hundreds more don’t. People are speaking out about the poison and pollution they’ve lived with for decades. Hear community leaders share their stories about what it’s like to live in some of the worst pollution in America and solutions they are innovating to fight back. Walk away with toolkits and resources for how you can act on climate with solutions that put the frontlines first. Let’s build a stronger climate movement. Will you join us?


Michelle Romero

Michelle Romero is Deputy Director of Green For All, where she works to end environmental segregation in America by prioritizing communities of color in climate policy.

In March, Michelle coordinated a bus tour of Flint, MI with Van Jones, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Steyer, and Vien Truong, to expose the environmental racism that is the #FlintWaterCrisis and uplift community solutions to #FixFlint.
Michelle also coordinated national partners to co-create and publish a series of toolkits – the Clean Power for All Solutions Series – to give states needed policy guidance to ensure the Clean Power Plan’s benefits reach frontline communities.

Immediately prior, Michelle worked in issues management and policy analysis for the University of California system, and spent five years at Greenlining Institute, a California-based nonprofit, where she did extensive work to shape the state’s 2011 Citizen Redistricting Process and expand opportunities for people of color in the electoral process.

Other sessions: Forging a State-led Path to Climate Justice in the Era of Trump

my website



Rey Leon

Mayor REY LEÓN was born in Fresno and raised in the Huron area. Mr. León is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where he obtained a BA in Chicano Studies with an emphasis in public health. He is the founder and Executive Director of the San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement & Policy Project (Valley LEAP), a Latino Valley based environmental non-profit organization. Mr. León is based in Fresno for the Valley
and focuses on environmental & transportation justice, air quality, climate change, energy, green jobs and community development.

Mr. Leon has been working to ensure that environmental justice principles are advanced in the regions institutions and culture. Rey is founder of the San Joaquin Valley Regional Green Jobs Coalition which counts on 300+ members and co-founder of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition. As Co-chair of CVAQ, Leon helped advance some of the greatest victories for air quality in the Valley including the ending of agriculture industry’s exemption from the clean air act and the placement of two public members, a doctor and a scientist, onto the region’s air pollution control district. Mr. León sits on various boards and committees including the Center on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT) and member of the California Air Resources Board Environmental Justice AB 32 Advisory Committee.

Mr. León has been organizing in the Valley for the past twenty years and for the past eleven years has been advocating and successfully building coalitions, community capacity, advancing public policy; placement of the first PM 2.5 air quality monitor on the West Side of the Valley, systems change; developing the first ever environmental justice strategy and committees for both the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and the Fresno County Council of Governments. In 2014, Valley LEAP completed an Environmental Justice Planning Project and Report for the farmworker community of Huron where over 30 projects to improve mobility, access and safety were identified. Through Valley LEAP, Rey continues to organize with the grassroots, grasstops, agencies and other partners to promote sustainable development, clean energy alternatives, green jobs and reduction of pollution; GHG’s in concentrated clusters of poverty in the central San Joaquin Valley. Mr. León, through Valley LEAP, successfully works with Valley communities to achieve environmental and climate justice.

Most recently, Mr. León was voted into the Mayorship of his hometown of Huron, Ca in a landslide 76% of the vote. As Mayor of Huron he is working diligently to improve quality of life for the residents who mostly are composed of hardworking low-income farmworker families. In general, the following are projects he is pursuing, supporting and leading; Clean energy, youth opportunities, community volunteer policing, restorative justice, pedestrian and bicyclists safety, economic empowerment for families and small business, improved street lighting (LED), trees, EV plug-in infrastructure, mural district beautification and an empowered civil society.

GREEN Raiteros:

Huron GREEN:

California’s Coast Doesn’t Have a Sustainability Monopoly

Fighting Garbage:


Fighting for SR269 Bridge:

Huron Unified for Quality Education:

Huron Report and Plan:


Mustafa Santiago Ali

Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali is the Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate & Community Revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Interim Chief of Programs at the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Founder and CEO of Revitalization Strategies. Before joining the NWF, Mustafa was the Senior Vice President for the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC), a national nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that connects the Hip Hop community to the civic process. Prior to joining the HHC, Mustafa worked 22 years at the EPA and 2 years on Capitol Hill working for Congressman John Conyers chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Mustafa began working on Social Justice issues at 16 and joined the EPA as a student, becoming a founding member of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ). He most recently served as Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization and Assistant Associate Administrator. He led the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (IWG) which brought together 17 Federal Agencies & Departments and various White House offices to strategically leverage resources to uplift vulnerable communities across the country.

In 2019 Mustafa co-designed and co-moderated the first Presidential forum on Environmental Justice with Amy Goodman. He has interviewed some of America’s most influential leaders in Politics, Hip Hop, Civil Rights, Climate and Social Justice.

Other sessions: Standing Up for Science: Lessons Learned from Science Organizing in the Trump Era, Opening Plenary

Rev. Leo Woodberry

Leo Woodberry was born and raised in New York City. There he became involved with community organizing at an early age, as a student organizer. Reverend Leo M. Woodberry oversees and operates the Strategic Planning Division of Woodberry & Associates. With over 20 years’ experience managing non-profit and for profit organizations, Reverend. Woodberry has accumulated a wealth of knowledge, partnerships, alliances and expertise in the environmental justice movement.
He became involved in environmental work in the 1990s with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, around there issue of mercury emissions and advisories. He joined the newly formed African American Environmental Justice Action Network (AAEJAN) in 1994. AAEJAN was instrumental in uniting people of color across America, and in influencing the Ford Foundation and other philanthropic entities to support people of color communities disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards. Reverend Woodberry has also worked with a host of other organizations such as the; Southern Organizing Committee (SOC), The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Xavier University of Louisiana, The Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University, The Environmental Protection Agency NEJAC (Region Four), SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, The National Wildlife Federation, SC Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Coastal Carolina League, South East Climate Network, Green Faith, Clemson Education and Research Center, Francis Marion University, WEACT, Advancing Equity and Opportunities, Agricultural Missions, Inc. and a host of other organizations. He has and continues to work in the areas of; water, air, as well as renewable and sustainable energy issues with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and the US Environmental Protection Agency.
In August 2001, Leo Woodberry attended the United Nations Conference on Racism and Xenophobia in Durban South Africa. There he presented a paper on the HIV AIDS epidemic entitled “The New Trade Triangle” and was a contributor to the resultant environmental statement added and adopted to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and subsequently signed by 161 countries. Reverend Woodberry works with NGOs certified with the United Nations Civil Society Organization. Woodberry & Associates has offices located in Florence, SC.
Reverend Woodberry attended Francis Marion University and The University of South Carolina. He retired from AT&T after 20 years of service and received three Vice Presidential Corporate awards. The SC State Senate also presented him with an award in recognition of his community service.
Reverend Woodberry is the pastor of Kingdom Living Temple, Executive Director of New Alpha Community Development Corporation in Florence, SC, and a member of the SC Environmental Justice Network.