Too often, decisions are made and actions are taken about pollution, natural resources management, and climate change that end up disproportionately impacting communities of color and low-income communities. How do we determine who must live near environmental hazards and who gets access to environmental benefits? The goal of this conference is to explore the various legal and policy tools available to achieve environmental and climate justice for vulnerable and marginalized communities.

Conference Schedule

Please join us in person in Jeffries Hall or via Zoom webinar.

4 p.m.
Plenary 1: The History of the Movement
Jeffries Hall 1225

Moderator: Rachel Rothschild, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan Law School

  • Jamesa Johnson-Greer, Executive Director, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition
  • Arielle King, Environmental Justice Staff Attorney, Environmental Law Institute
  • Clifford Villa, Senior Advisor, U.S. EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management; Professor of Law, University of New Mexico School of Law (on leave 2022-24)

Watch the Recorded Panel

Immediately after Panel 1
Reception will follow the first panel
Jeffries Hall 1225, Jeffries Lounge
Day title
Thursday, September 29
Continental Breakfast
Jeffries Hall 1225
9 a.m.
Jeffries Hall 1225
9:15-10:15 a.m.
Keynote Address
Jeffries Hall 1225

Vernice Miller-Travis, Executive Vice President and Social Justice Lead, Metropolitan Group

Watch the Recorded Keynote Address

10:30 a.m.
Plenary 2: Civil Rights Laws
Jeffries Hall 1225

Moderator: Luis CdeBaca, Professor from Practice, University of Michigan Law School

  • Rebecca Bratspies, Professor, City University of New York School of Law
  • Marianne Engelman Lado, Deputy General Counsel for Environmental Initiatives, United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Megan Haberle, Senior Director of Policy, National Community Reinvestment Coalition
  • Alice Jennings, Partner, Edwards & Jennings PC

Watch the Recorded Panel

Noon–1:15 p.m.
Lunch Breakouts
See Breakouts for Room Number

Food Justice

Jeffries Hall 1060

Moderator: Jessica Kenyatta Walker, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan Department of American Culture

  • Laurie Beyranevand, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, University of Vermont Law School
  • Sarah Matsumoto, Assistant Professor of Clinical Education, Willamette University College of Law
  • Erin Preston-Johnson Bevel, Co-founder, Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund; Lecturer, Howard University

Watch the Food Justice Breakout

Water Justice

Jeffries Hall 1225

Moderator: Andrew Buchsbaum, Vice President for Conservation Action, National Wildlife Federation; Lecturer, University of Michigan Law School

  • Mark Fancher, Racial Justice Project Staff Attorney, ACLU – Michigan
  • V.V. Harris, Resident of Centreville, Illinois
  • Nicole Nelson, Attorney, Equity Legal Services Inc.
  • Jeremy Orr, ECJ Chairperson, Michigan NAACP; Professor of Law, Michigan State University College of Law

Watch the Water Justice Breakout

Tribal Laws

Jeffries Hall 1025

Moderator: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Harry Burns Hutchins Collegiate Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Watch the Tribal Laws Breakout


1:30–2:45 p.m.
Plenary 3: Administrative and Environmental Laws
Jeffries Hall 1225

Moderator: Nina Mendelson, Joseph L. Sax Collegiate Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Watch the Recorded Panel

3–4:15 p.m.
Plenary 4: Toxic Torts and Class Actions
Jeffries Hall 1225

Moderator: Kyle Logue, Associate Dean for Faculty and Research and Douglas A. Kahn Collegiate Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

  • Chris Bowers, Senior Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Daniel Mensher, Attorney, Keller Rohrback Law Offices LLP
  • Suzanne Novak, Senior Attorney, Earthjustice
  • Kathy Seward Northern, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and Robert M. Duncan/Jones Day Designated Associate Professor of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Watch the Recorded Panel

4:15–4:30 p.m.
Wrap up
Jeffries Hall 1225
Day title
Friday, September 30