President Biden recently announced members of a new White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, naming New Orleanian Dr. Beverly Wright, founder and executive director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, as one of several renowned environmental justice leaders appointed to the WHEJAC to support his whole-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis.
The WHEJAC was established by President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad to fulfill his and Vice President Harris’s commitment to confronting long-standing environmental injustices and to ensuring that historically marginalized and overburdened communities have greater input on federal policies and decisions.
Dr. Wright is an environmental justice scholar and advocate, author, civic leader and professor of sociology, who has conducted groundbreaking and significant research in the area of environmental justice and developed a curriculum for use at the elementary school level that has been used by the New Orleans Public Schools.
Dr. Wright received the 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award from the State University of New York, Buffalo, the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Award in 2006, the 2008 EPA Environmental Justice Achievement Award, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition 2008 Community Award, the Ford Motor Company’s Freedom’s Sisters Award in July of 2009, the prestigious 2009 Heinz Award as well as the 2010 Beta Kappa Chi Humanitarian Assistance Award bestowed by the National Institute of Science and the Conrad Arensberg Award given by the Society for the Anthropology of Work in 2010. Additionally, she was also recognized by the Grios as one of its 100 History Makers in the Making in 2010.
She has also received the Urban Affairs Association’s SAGE Activist Scholar Award in May of 2011. She is the author of numerous scholarly books and articles. She co-authored Race, Place & the Environment After Hurricane Katrina from Westview Press, and The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How The Government Response Endangers African-American Communities. She earned a BA from Grambling College and masters and doctoral degrees from State University of New York at Buffalo.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected as a member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council,” said Wright. “The elevation of this body to the Office of the President demonstrates the importance of environmental justice to this Administration. I pledge to do all that is within my power to raise issues of concern to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region and to work tirelessly through WHEJAC to improve the health and wellness, including economic conditions, in communities disproportionately exposed to toxic pollution and climate-induced disasters.”