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.
Board of Directors
THE POINT CDC
Elizabeth C. Yeampierre
Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice
We Stay/ Nos Quedamos
Morningside Heights/ West Harlem
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.
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.
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 was introduced to the environmental justice movement as an undergraduate through internships with WE ACT for Environmental Justice in Harlem and UPROSE in Brooklyn. She has also acted 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.
Jet Tomer, Community Organizer, jet@NYC-EJA.org
Jeanette E.“Jet” Toomer is a Community Organizer for the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. She is also a writer and producer of witty political and entertainment driven commentary for web based shows. Before joining the NYC-EJA, Jet organized on the citywide and national levels with Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), Community Voices Heard (CVH) and National People’s Action (NPA) for the preservation of public and affordable housing and to change environmental policy in New York City’s Public Housing Authority. Immediately following Super Storm Sandy, Jet was a coordinating member for the Sandy Regional Assembly, convened by NYC-EJA. After receiving her B.A. from the Art Institute of Philadelphia, in Fashion Marketing, she worked in marketing and publicity for Complex Media and Black Girls Rock!
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 Jet Toomer, NYC-EJA’s Community Organizer, at jet@NYC-EJA.org
Beth Gratzer, Brooklyn Movement Center
Beth Gratzer was born and raised in Queens, New York. She has a BFA in Photography from Bard College and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in City and Regional Planning at Pratt Institute. She is particularly interested in issues of gender and equity in the city, and how that intersects with environmental and social justice. She has done work ranging from documentary film editing to mapping vacant properties in the Rockaways and believes that a varied and holistic approach to planning results in positive solutions. She is currently placed as a Fellow at Brooklyn Movement Center.
Sarita Rupan, Morningside Heights West Harlem Sanitation Coalition
I am originally an Indian, but I was born in Nepal. Most of my formative years have been spent in Bangladesh, where I did my schooling. Spending most of childhood around these three countries developed a deep love for travelling in me. This fascination stayed on and after the completion of my undergraduate in Architecture I chose to work in various parts of India studying and practicing vernacular architecture, sustainable materials, and experimental construction techniques, which further developed my interest to pursue a Master's Degree in Sustainable Environmental Systems at Pratt.
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.
Zil Mistry, THE POINT CDC
Zil Mistry was born in Ahmedabad city in India. She has a B.Arch degree and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning at Pratt Institute. Coming from an Architecture background, she always had a keen interest in designing spaces for the public. She is working as a fellow with The Point in South Bronx and hopes to work along with community members and stakeholders for equitable planning and development at a local level and furthermore explore the role of non-profit organizations for overall development of a community.
Rachael Gutierrez, UPROSE
Originally from Northern California, Rachael Gutierrez now resides in Brooklyn. She has a BA in International Relations with a concentration in Latin America and International Business from Boston University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Pratt Institute. She has completed trainings in Human-Centered Design, Asset-Based Community Development, and Social Entrepreneurship. She recently concluded a year-long graduate fellowship at the Pratt Center for Community Development where she worked on energy policy and program implementation for industrial businesses. In her spare time, Rachael enjoys exploring New York City, visiting family in El Salvador, learning more about her Yomba Shoshone tribal ancestry, and spending time with her dog, Cantaloupe. Rachael is currently placed as a fellow with UPROSE in Sunset Park.
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.