Exploring the Intersections between Environmental Justice and Equitable Development in Infrastructure Investments

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Because the Justice 40 initiative sets “a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution,” it is very important to understand how the federal government and states are defining disadvantaged communities (or other similar terms like disproportionately impacted or overburdened).

In addition, communities have an important role to play to help secure investment, design new infrastructure projects, and shape accompanying anti-displacement policies and practices so that community members can remain in place once restoration and other kinds of improvement projects have been completed.

The Urban Waters Learning Network Equitable Development and Anti-Displacement Collaborative hosted a live session on Thursday, Dec 8 from 1 pm to 2:30 pm eastern time to engage in further conversation on the intersections of environmental justice policy and equitable development / anti-displacement practices.

Watch a pre-recorded video as an introduction to the conversation HERE. Watch the recorded webinar below.

Meet the Panel of Experts:

Cheyenne Holiday (she/her), Water Justice Coordinator, Verde

Cheyenne Holliday is a born and raised Oregonian who grew up on a small farm outside of Portland where her family rescues and rehabilitates horses. She has a background in Conflict and Dispute Resolution and has worked as a conflict resolution specialist, facilitator, and mediator. At Verde, she works as the Water Justice Coordinator and will focus on economic, environmental, and racial justice issues around water at both the statewide and national level. In 2020 Cheyenne collaborated on and co-authored the Oregon Water Futures Report which facilitated a series of conversations with Native, Latinx, Black, and various migrant communities across the state. In her spare time she also coaches competitive cheerleading to Oregon and Washington youth.


Lubna Ahmed (she/her/ella), Environmental Justice Boards Manager, State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Lubna Ahmed serves as the Environmental Justice (EJ) Boards Manager within the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) EJ Program. She is passionate about working at the community level to build capacity and advance the sustainable well-being of under-resourced and disproportionately impacted populations. Lubna holds a BA in Psychology from Miami University and a Master’s in Public Health from George Washington University. After working at a variety of environmental conservation nonprofits in DC, Lubna served as an Environmental Educator with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua, returned to the states to work as the Director of Environmental Health at WE ACT for Environmental Justice in Harlem, NY, and then served as the Director of Water Program at Groundwork Denver prior to joining CDPHE.

Sonia Kikeri (they/she), National Director of Policy and Civic Engagement, Emerald Cities Collaborative 

Originally from Atlanta, Sonia is the daughter of South Asian immigrants and currently lives in Harrisburg, PA, land of the Susquehannock. Sonia has experiences ranging from working with refugees on the Turkish-Syrian border to serving as a Legislative Director for a Pennsylvanian State Senator. Throughoutall of Sonia’s experiences, Sonia has dedicated energy to naming, confronting and dismantling systems of oppression, colonization and white supremacy. Sonia is honored to work with inspirational innovators who can see and are actively building a reality of equity, reparations and liberation. Sonia expressed their excitement to continue this growth and learning with the ECC community.


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