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January 15, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm




Houston, TX (December 17, 2019) – Rothko Chapel and the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University (TSU) will partner for a program to explore the influence of Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement on environmental justice. The program, “Actions of Change: From the Civil Rights Movement to the Struggle for Environmental Justice,” is set for Wednesday, January 15, 2020, at 6 p.m. on what would have been Dr. King’s 91st birthday. Dr. Robert Bullard, distinguished professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at TSU, also known to many as the “father of environmental justice,” will give a keynote address then join in conversation with Yvette Arellano, senior staff, Policy Research & Grassroots Advocate for Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s), and Bridgette Murray, founder of Achieving Community Tasks Successfully (ACTS). Dr. Richard McKinley Mizelle, Jr., associate professor of History at University of Houston, will moderate the discussion exploring the evolution of the environmental justice movement, continued environmental challenges and inequities faced by vulnerable and frontline communities, and actions being taken to improve the health of the region.

“Actions of Change: From the Civil Rights Movement to the Struggle for Environmental Justice,” is being presented as part of the Rothko Chapel’s two-year programmatic initiative exploring the impact climate change is having on individuals around the world, culminating with the biennial Rothko Chapel Oscar Romero Award for Human Rights.

The free program will be held in the McCoy Auditorium, Room 105, in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs on the campus of Texas Southern University, 3401 Cleburne Street, Houston, 77004, and will be followed by a reception beginning at 7:30 p.m. Parking is available for $5 and registration is required through Rothko Chapel’s website at www.rothkochapel.org.



About the Speakers: 

Dr. Robert D. Bullard

Dr. Robert D. Bullard is distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University in Houston. He is often called the “father of environmental justice.”  Dr. Bullard is co-founder of the HBCU Climate Change Consortium and author of eighteen books that address environmental racism, urban land use, housing, transportation, sustainability, smart growth, climate justice, and community resilience.  His latest books include Race, Place and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina (2009), Environmental Health and Racial Equity in the United States (2011), and The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities (2012). In 1990, he received the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award in Science for Dumping in Dixie.  In 2008, Newsweek named him one of “13 Environmental Leaders of the Century.” In 2013, Sierra Club honored him with the John Muir Award and in 2014 named its new Environmental Justice Award after Dr. Bullard.  In 2015, the American Bar Association presented him with its Environmental, Energy, and Resources Stewardship Award.  In 2017, the Children Environmental Health Network presented him with the Child Health Advocate Award. In 2018, the Global Climate Action Summit named Dr. Bullard one of 22 Climate Trailblazers.  And in 2019, Apolitical named him one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy, Washington State University honored him with the William Julius Wilson Award for the Advancement of Justice and Climate One named him the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication.

Yvette Arellano

Yvette Arellano serves as a policy research and grassroots advocate with Tejas. In 2015, they led the campaign against H.R. 702, which opened the floodgates to U.S. crude oil exports. Yvette represented the Gulf South at COP25. Yvette was instrumental in the publication Double Jeopardy in Houston, Air Toxics and Health in the Houston Community of Manchester and most recently Plastic and Health: The Hidden Cost of a Plastic Planet. They strive to emphasize that the Rights of Nature are fundamental to overall existence. Currently, Yvette is leading efforts in Houston to help stop petrochemical expansion fueled by plastic production.

Bridgette Murray

Bridgette Murray is the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization Achieving Community Tasks Successfully (ACTS). She is a long time resident of the Pleasantville community having served as the President of both the Pleasantville Civic League (PCL) and Pleasantville Area Super Neighborhood Council #57. In 2013, Murray established ACTS to support community activities in the areas of social and environmental justice. Murray recognizes Pleasantville’s vulnerabilities and strives to strengthen community resiliency for all generations. She holds a BS in Nursing from Baylor University and an MBA from the University of Houston, and is retired from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.


About the Moderator:

Richard McKinley Mizelle, Jr.

Richard McKinley Mizelle, Jr. is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Houston and also serves as the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of History.  His research focuses on historical understandings of health and healthcare politics, medical citizenship, environmentalism and health, medical technology, race, gender, and ethnicity in medicine, and the transformation of disease identity.  He is the author of Backwater Blues: The Mississippi Flood of 1927 in the African American Imagination and co-author of Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita. His research has been quoted in The New York Times and the New Yorker magazine.

About Rothko Chapel

The Rothko Chapel is closed through June 2020 for major renovations.  As part of its Opening Spaces campaign, the first phase of the project will realize a Welcome House and a new energy center; enhancements to the lighting and entryway in the Chapel; and new greenspaces for reflection will be added to the existing grounds. This event is one in a series of offsite programs presented by Chapel during the renovation.  For more visit: http://www.rothkochapel.org/experience/events/

About Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University

The mission of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs is to serve as an urban focused community of learning dedicated to educating professionals who will plan and administer environmentally healthy and sustainable communities at the local, state, national and international levels of society.



January 15, 2020
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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