About us

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Mission

Founded in 1991, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) is a non-profit, 501(c)3 city-wide membership network linking grassroots organizations from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color in their struggle for environmental justice. NYC-EJA empowers its member organizations to advocate for improved environmental conditions and against inequitable environmental burdens by the coordination of campaigns designed to inform City and State policies. Through our efforts, member organizations coalesce around specific common issues that threaten the ability for low-income communities of color to thrive. NYC-EJA is led by the community-based organizations that it serves, with its board elected by its member groups, who set policy and guide program development. What distinguishes NYC-EJA is our ability to:

  • Create, nurture, and organize a collective voice to mobilize citywide support to resolve environmental justice issues.
  • Highlight key environmental justice issues and policies that arise in multiple communities, or impact citywide conditions, requiring innovative and creative problem solving.
  • Involve people of color and other stakeholders directly affected by environmental justice issues in leadership roles to resolve them.

 

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Board of Directors

Angela Tovar
THE POINT CDC
South Bronx

Anthony Winn
We Stay/ Nos Quedamos
South Bronx

David Shuffler
Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice
South Bronx

Elizabeth C. Yeampierre
UPROSE
Southwest Brooklyn

Joan Levine
Morningside Heights/ West Harlem
Sanitation Coalition
Northern Manhattan

Mark Winston Griffith
Brooklyn Movement Center
Central Brookyln

Sarita Daftary-Steel 
El Puente
North Brooklyn

 

Staff

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Eddie Bautista, Executive Director, eddie@NYC-EJA.org

Eddie Bautista is an award-winning community organizer and urban planner. In February 2010, Eddie resigned as Director of the Mayor’s Office of City Legislative Affairs to take the reins at NYC-EJA. The Mayor’s Office of City Legislative Affairs is the Mayor’s local lobbying office representing the Mayor and City agencies at the City Council, and serving as liaison between the Bloomberg Administration and the Comptroller, Public Advocate and Borough Presidents. As Director, Eddie spearheaded efforts to pass several major pieces of legislation, including: the City’s 20-year landmark Solid Waste Management Plan (which relied for the first time on principles of environmental justice and borough equity); the creation of the first municipal brownfields remediation office in the nation; the required retrofit of all diesel-powered school buses to reduce air pollution in bus cabins; and the Greater Greener Buildings Plan, the nation’s first comprehensive package of legislation aimed at improving energy efficiency for large scale buildings. Eddie also facilitated meetings for policy advocates with Administration officials on a range of legislative and regulatory initiatives such as PlaNYC 2030 (NYC’s environmental sustainability plan, which has become an international model for large cities) and Mayoral Executive Order 120 of 2008, which for the first time called for all City agencies to make services and documents available to immigrant New Yorkers in the top six languages spoken in the City.

Previously, Eddie was the Director of Community Planning for NY Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), where he served as the lobbying/communications/community organizing director for this non-profit civil rights law firm. At NYLPI, Eddie organized numerous grassroots coalitions and campaigns, including the Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods (OWN) and Communities United for Responsible Energy (CURE), two citywide coalitions of community-based organizations which blocked the siting of mega-waste transfer stations, large power plants, incinerators and sludge plants in environmentally-burdened, low income communities of color, while changing City and State solid waste and energy policies. Eddie has written articles and been interviewed for local and national news broadcasts. Eddie has a B.A. from N.Y.U., an M.S. in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute and was a Revson Fellow at Columbia University. In 2003, Eddie was among 17 national winners of the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World awards. Nine books feature or mention Eddie’s work, including Noxious New York: The Racial Politics of Urban Health and Environmental Justice, by Julie Sze (2006); We Won’t Move: Community Planning in The Real Estate Capital of the World, by Tom Angotti (2008); and The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs by Roberta Brandes Gratz (2010). Eddie is also a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture’s Graduate Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development, where he teaches courses that apply basic principles and practices of city planning and urban design to specific topical projects.

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Juan Camilo Osorio, Director of Research, juancamilo@NYC-EJA.org

Juan Camilo Osorio is NYC-EJA’s  Director of Research. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Pratt Institute’s Graduate Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development (PSPD), introducing graduate students to qualitative and quantitative urban planning research. Before joining NYC-EJA, he was a Senior Planner and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst at The Municipal Art Society Planning Center, where he used spatial information to support research and advocacy on community-based planning, urban design and historic preservation. Before moving to New York, he worked with the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, a non-profit agency based in Holyoke, Massachusetts, using GIS to study systematic and procedural impediments to fair housing in the central and western regions of that State. He received a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a professional degree in architecture from the National University of Colombia, Bogotá.

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Pamela Soto, Research Analyst, pamela@NYC-EJA.org 

Pamela Soto is the Research Analyst for the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. She previously served as a fellow for the NYC Parks Department, where she worked as the Communications Associate for the Bronx River Alliance. Born and raised in New York City, she interned for WE ACT for Environmental Justice in Harlem and UPROSE in Brooklyn as an undergraduate, and has also served as the Coastal Zone Fellow for the New Haven City Plan Department. She received her Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry, where she focused on Urban Ecology and Sustainable Urban Planning, and her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Yale College.

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Priya Mulgaonkar, Policy Organizer, priya@NYC-EJA.org 

Priya Mulgaonkar is the Policy Organizer for the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. Prior to joining the NYC-EJA family, she served as a Campaign Organizer for Environment New York, working to build a state-wide coalition urging Gov. Cuomo to commit to 20% solar energy by 2025. She also previously worked as a Research Assistant for Rebuild By Design, studying community resiliency and managed coastal retreat in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and Sociology from NYU, where she organized for fossil fuel divestment with NYU Divest. For her senior capstone in Environmental Studies, she worked with a team to develop a suite of policy recommendations to increase energy efficiency and equity in NYC’s residential housing stock. Her senior honors thesis analyzed how social movement organizations frame and mobilize around climate change.

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Annel Hernandez, Resiliency Planner, annel@NYC-EJA.org 

Annel Hernandez is the Resiliency Planner with the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. Previously, as Research Assistant with the Urban Climate Change Research Network at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, she collaborated with scholars, experts, and advocates on pushing forward new climate change resources for cities. Annel also worked in the NYC Mayor’s Office as Social Innovation Fund Advisor managing the program implementation of a multi-city initiative focused on economic opportunity programs, and was also a NYC Urban Fellow. Annel received an MPA in Energy and Environment from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she also worked as a Teaching Assistant at the Earth Institute and a Research Assistant at the Institute of Latin American Studies. She received her BA in Political Science and Latin American & Latino Studies from Fordham University.

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Christopher La Motte, Energy Planner, christopher@nyc-eja.org

Christopher La Motte is the Energy Planner for the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from Howard University and a J.D. from Howard University School of Law. During law school, Chris interned with the Environmental Defense Fund, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. After moving to NYC, he worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund on legal research and trial preparation.

 

NYC-EJA Fellows

In partnership with Pratt Institute’s programs for Sustainable Planning and Development, NYC-EJA recruits Pratt PSPD graduate students for a year-long fellowship. Fellows work directly with the member organizations, supporting community outreach, research and policy analysis. Prospective candidates should email Priya Mulgaonkar, NYC-EJA’s Policy Organizer, at priya@NYC-EJA.org

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Sabrina Bazile, Brooklyn Movement Center

Sabrina Bazile was born and raised in Salem, MA. She earned her BA in Marketing with a concentration in Innovation and New Media, with a minor in Information Systems Electronics Commerce from Suffolk University in Boston, MA. She is currently pursuing an MS in City and Regional Planning at Pratt Institute. She shifted from Marketing because she wanted a forum where she could talk about race issues, and that led her to the field of City and Regional Planning. She is interested in economic development and a wide range of social justice issues, and is excited to work as a fellow with Brooklyn Movement Center to gain hands-on experience working with these issues. After working with a community-based organization as part of her Studio course, she is also excited about further exploring the role community-based and non-profit organizations have in planning for the development of their communities.

 

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Samudyatha Subbarama, El Puente

Samudyatha is an architect with a focus on sustainability and the environment. She holds a Masters in Integrated Sustainable Design from the National University of Singapore and Bachelors in Architecture, R. V. College of Architecture. Samudyatha has two years of experience in managing small-scale architecture and urban projects, landscape architecture, historical conservation and planning research in India. The multidisciplinary work experiences range from the conservation of UNESCO world heritage sites in India, to collaborating with local and state governmental bodies, NGO's and urban think tanks in the city of Bangalore to provide mobility and transportation solutions. As a result of which, is able to apply integrated thinking to develop solutions for urban projects across technical, cultural and socio-economic issues. She is now pursuing a Masters in Sustainable Environmental Systems at Pratt, with a focus on Sustainable Development across planning policy, social equity, and mobility, and is currently a NYC-EJA fellow at El Puente, in Williamsburg.

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Sarita Rupan, Morningside Heights West Harlem Sanitation Coalition

Sarita Rupan is originally from India, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Architecture. Prior to coming to New York, she spent the past 4 years practicing architecture, & learning about construction techniques with sustainable and vernacular materials. She has worked on numerous residential and commercial architecture projects, along with being involved in community development initiatives in India. Apart from architecture, she has a keen interest in writing, which allowed her to contribute to the e-zine called ‘India Art and Design’ various times. Currently she is pursuing her master’s degree in Sustainable Environmental Systems at Pratt Institute and also working as a Fellow at Pratt Center for Community Development.

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Case Wyse, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance

Case Wyse grew up in the Pacific Northwest studying ecological systems at Evergreen where he earned his BS.  Actively pursuing an interest in connecting the environment to service, he transitioned to Newburgh, NY where he began an AmeriCorps position coordinating with the local community gardens.  It was there that he developed a strong interest in connecting communities with their natural resources, which led him to seek out a position with NYC CivicCorps working at Sustainable South Bronx and eventually administering the South Bronx AirCasting program.  Management of the AirCasting Program allowed Case to connect a few of his top skills; environmental education, scientific research, and GIS - all of which he hopes to further develop with NYC-EJA. Currently, Case is pursuing his Master’s Degree in Pratt’s Sustainable Environmental Systems Program and assists NYC-EJA’s research initiatives.

Emily Ahn Levy

Emily Ahn Levy, Nos Quedamos

Emily Ahn Levy holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute, and has four years of professional experience in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with New York City's Office of Emergency Management. Her curiosity and passion for self-learning brought her back to Seoul, South Korea, where she explored the urban and social landscapes which had once relinquished her while studying at Seoul National University's Graduate Program of Urban Design. She has since returned to New York, and is currently working on her graduate degree in Urban Placemaking & Management at Pratt Institute. Emily's work focuses on the cultivation of Place through action-based community participation and partnership. She volunteers with the Museum for Reclaimed Urban Space, a history museum of grassroots community environmental activism in the Lower East Side. She is also committed to working with single mother and adoptee justice communities both in New York and in Seoul.

Addison Vawters, THE POINT CDC

Addison Vawters is an urban planner studying in Pratt Institute’s Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development. Prior to joining NYC-EJA they were a Graduate Fellow at the Pratt Center for Community Development researching and advocating for the retention of high paying industrial jobs with low barriers to entry in NYC. Before moving to New York Addison worked as an urban farmer in Philadelphia PA and Gainesville FL building food sovereignty through community gardening, market farming, community organizing, and teaching. They received their BA in Political Science from the University of Florida where they studied Sustainability, Organic and Sustainable Crop Production, Globalization and Neocolonialism. At Pratt Institute Addison has focused on deconstructing and advocating for a shift away from neoliberal urban policy towards human centered planning with a focus on intersectional social justice. They are currently a NYC-EJA Fellow at The POINT CDC in the South Bronx where they are working on developing the South Bronx Community Resiliency Roadmap.

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Santiago Salamanca, UPROSE

Santiago Salamanca was Born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. He earned a BA in economics from Universidad de los Andes in Colombia. He is currently pursuing an MS in City and Regional Planning at Pratt Institute.  Before coming to New York, Santiago worked in real estate development and finance, but was always passionate about cities. Santiago wants to learn more about social justice issues while helping communities create positive social changes and is very excited to do that with NYC-EJA and UPROSE. In his spare time he loves being with his family and exploring different places in New York as well as playing soccer.

 

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Jessie Hernandez, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice

Jessie Hernandez was born and raised in San Francisco, Ca. She earned her BA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Spanish Literature from Occidental College in Los Angeles. She is currently pursuing an MS in City and Regional Planning at the Pratt Institute in addition to being an NYC-EJA fellow. Passionate about a wide range of social justice issues, she is excited to work for the NYC-EJA to learn more about herself and her academic interests, in addition to learning from community members and being able to assist a community in creating positive social change. In her spare time, Jessie looks forward to exploring a new city, learning about new cultures and playing rugby.