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Climates of Inequality and the COVID Crisis: Building Leadership at Minority Serving Institutions Fellowship

The second cohort of the Humanities Action Lab’s Climates of Inequality and the COVID Crisis: Building Leadership at Minority Serving Institutions fellowship has started for the 2022-23 AY.  Centering the needs and narratives of frontline communities, faculty and community partners engage in course and project collaboration about environmental justice, resulting in a co-created public humanities media piece on history and current experiences of environmental justice in their locality, for inclusion in the Climates of Inequality website and traveling exhibition.

Climates of Inequality and the COVID Crisis: Building Leadership at Minority Serving Institutions is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Cohort AY22-23
Las Cruces, New Mexico 

The project “Water is Life” will address the environmental justice issue of the finite supply of pure water in the desert along the New Mexico/Arizona, New Mexico/Texas, and US/Mexico borders.  Partners will use video and a podcast to address the challenges of living in the desert. 
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Federico Almarez

Doña Ana Community College

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Armando Arellano

Learning Action Buffet

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Michelle Valverde

Learning Action Buffet


Lamaia Vaughn

Doña Ana Community College

Merced, California 

This project is a collaboration that integrates education, practice, and advocacy for agroecology in the San Joaquin Valley. The collaboration will use agroecology as a vehicle for resiliency and regeneration. Partners will develop a podcast called The Voices of Sustainable Agriculture: Agroecology in the San Joaquin Valley.
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Carlos Gomez

Central Valley Agroecology Program Planning Committee


Kassandra Hishida

Central Valley Agroecology Program Planning Committee

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Brenda Mora Gutierrez

Central Valley Agroecology Program Planning Committee

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Rebecca Ryals

University of California Merced

Newark, New Jersey

The Newark Water Coalition and a faculty filmmaker will co-create a media-making experience for students and Newark community members to receive training in and conduct community-based storytelling, and create public media around Newark environmental justice issues. The goal is to collect footage and stories for a short documentary. 
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Anthony Diaz

Newark Water Coalition


Fernanda Faya

Filmmaker and Cinematographer

Northridge California 

Using environmental justice training, students will help lead after-school activities and train community members in environmental justice and sustainability. A part of this collaboration will lead to the development of a curriculum around mutual aid and environmental justice and a bilingual training manual. 
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Samantha Ayon

University of California Northridge

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Rosa RiVera Furumoto

Parent Pioneers/Padres Pioneros

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Stevie Ruiz

University of California Northridge

San Marcos, California 

This project will explore the history and current environmental justice experience for Southern California tribal communities, adapting a food sovereignty toolkit to be used by tribal communities across the region. Related courses will engage students and communities in promoting food sovereignty through expanding on food sovereignty work with the Pomo tribe. 
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Nicole Lim 

California Indian Museum and Cultural Center

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Joely Proudfit

University of California San Marcos

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Kristall Vega

California Indian Museum and Cultural Center

Cohort AY21-22
Chicago, Illinois

Building on previous engagement, the partners collected stories and recipes from community members to tease out connections between food traditions & cultural identity with food & land justice, im/migration, labor, health & COVID-19, and environmental/climate justice.  Students in the course created digital media to highlight the stories of community members. 

Rosa Cabrera

University of Illinois at Chicago

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Ximena Leyte Escalante

Alianza Americas

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Wilmarie Medina-Cortes

University of Illinois at Chicago


Edith Tovar

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization

Raleigh, North Carolina

Faculty used local history and stories from community leaders in their curriculum to emphasize the ties between past and present responses to environmental racism. Interviews with community members were the foundation of an environmental justice newsletter that focused on the history of Wilmington, North Carolina and Wayne County, North Carolina.

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Kwinn Doran

Shaw University

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Valerie Johnson

Shaw University

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Naeema Muhammed

North Carolina Environmental Justice Network

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Zaid Steele

Shaw University

Riverside, California

Students in Riverside developed a series of interactive components related to environmental justice in Southern California that became part of an interactive timeline on the Inland Empire. Students and community partners built a relationship on mutual trust and co-creation to identify areas of concern in the community. 

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Alicia Aguayo

People's Collective for Environmental Justice

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Megan Asaka

University of California Riverside

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Rocio Gomez

University of California Riverside

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Cathy Gudis

University of California Riverside

Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

Our Puerto Rico partners created an oral history collection that is also part of a disaster archive in response to local issues exacerbated by Hurricane Maria. Students used oral histories and established partnerships with local community organizations to create a zine titled Eating through Disaster: Food Insecurity in Puerto Rico

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Ricia Chansky

University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez

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Bryan Ramos Romero

University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez

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Yaritza Sánchez Silva

University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez

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