Social Justice Fair to spotlight environmental racism, justice

A graphic showing four hands forming a circle with a world map in the background.

Penn State Brandywine's social justice fair, co-sponsored by Penn State Abington and Penn State World Campus, is March 28-April 1.

Credit: Penn State

MEDIA, Pa. — Environmental racism and justice will be the focus of this year’s social justice fair organized by Penn State Brandywine’s Center for Ethics and Civic Engagement and Student Affairs office. The weeklong series of events, held March 28 to April 1, will explore the global and local aspects of environmental racism and justice and includes interactive sessions with activists, student leaders, storytellers, Brandywine professors and public officials.

Penn State Abington Student Engagement & Leadership and Penn State World Campus Student Affairs are partners for the social justice fair, which includes a variety of in-person, hybrid and virtual opportunities, many of which are open to the public.

“Environmental racism and justice impact all of us. We have put together a week of programming with partners from across the University and region to help us examine how these issues intersect with our lives and communities and inspire us to take action,” said Vippy Yee, the Rosenberg Director of Brandywine’s Center for Ethics and Civic Engagement.

The schedule of events includes:

Monday, March 28

11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Student Union 114-117 — Clothing swap. Students can do some free environmentally sustainable shopping. The Brandywine campus food pantry has collected gently used clothing donations in a variety of sizes for men and women. Open to Penn State students.

6:30 to 8 p.m., Zoom — “Environmental Racism in Your Backyard: How it Affects You and How You Can End It.” This virtual session will be led by Mike Ewall, the founder and director of the Energy Justice Network, a national network supporting grassroots resistance against dirty energy and waste facilities. Since 1994, he has been supporting and working to end environmental racism in Chester. Open to the public. Registration required.

Tuesday, March 29

10:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Toxic Tour: Environmental Racism in Chester. Kearni N. Warren of the Energy Justice Network will lead a bus tour of key sites subjected to environmental racism in Chester and describe the work that activists are pursuing to bring about justice. Open to Penn State students, faculty and staff. A limited number of seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Email [email protected] to inquire.

Noon to 1:30 p.m., Tomezsko Lounge — Brandywine Literary Festival. Penn State Laureate Shara McCallum will read from her work and students will read their own work during the open mic session. In addition, Penn In Hand award winners will be announced. McCallum, the first woman of color to serve as Penn State Laureate, is the author of six books of poetry. Open to Penn State students, faculty and staff.

6:30 to 8 p.m. — “The True Cost.” Join us for a screening and discussion of “The True Cost” (2015, PG-13, 1h 32m). This documentary film is about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the clothing industry is having on our world. Open to the public. Registration required.

Wednesday, March 30

As part of Bard College’s Worldwide Climate Justice Teach-In, we are teaming with hundreds of universities, colleges, elementary, middle and high schools, and faith organizations around the world in expanding the conversations about climate solutions and climate justice.

10:10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Student Union 114-117 — Teach-in sessions. Penn State Brandywine faculty will lead climate-justice-focused lectures and discussions throughout the day. A hybrid workshop on Sustainable Development Goals will be held over lunch. Open to Penn State students, staff and faculty. Registration required to attend virtually.

  • 10:10 to 11 a.m.: Mark Boudreau, associate teaching professor of biology, “Channeling Your Inner Climate Activist”
  • 11:15 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.: Julie Stanton, professor of business, “Rethinking Fast Fashion”
  • 12:05 to 2 p.m. (lunch served): SDGs Launch — Action-Plan Development Workshop
  • 2:30 to 3:45 p.m.: Joshua Marquit, associate teaching professor of psychology, “The Climate Crisis: A Social Science Perspective”

4 to 5 p.m., Zoom — PHENND Student Activism Workshop. College students inspired to find climate solutions and work toward climate justice can connect with other like-minded college students throughout the Philadelphia region at this workshop in partnership with the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND). Open to regional college students. Registration required.

6:30 to 8 p.m., Zoom — Storytelling: Winning the Climate Narrative. This event will feature stories, poems and songs of climate wakening, sustainability, and change-making. Participants include:

  • Seamus McGraw, award-winning journalist and author of “Betting the Farm on a Drought: Stories from the Front Lines of Climate Change”
  • Leah Mullen, composer, vocalist, and Penn State Schreyer Honors Scholar (music composition)
  • Todd Davis, Penn State Altoona professor of English and environmental studies and author of seven collections of poetry
  • Isabella Briseño, sustainability advocate and Penn State student (environmental resource management, political science)

This event is presented in partnership with the Penn State Sustainability Institute and Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing. Open to the public. Registration required.

Thursday, March 31

Noon to 1 p.m., Student Union Parsons Hall or Zoom — Spoken Word Artist: Carlos Andrés Gómez. Carlos Andrés Gómez is a Colombian American poet, speaker, actor, and equity and inclusion strategist. He is the author of “Fractures,” winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry; “Hijito,” winner of the Broken River Prize; and the memoir “Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood.” His credits also include HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and Spike Lee’s “Inside Man.” Open to Penn State students, faculty and staff. Registration required to attend virtually.

6:30 to 8 p.m., Zoom — Dialogue with Tykee James: Sustainability Forever. Tykee James is the National Audubon Society government affairs coordinator and co-organizer of the first Black Birders Week. He will lead a dialogue on how birders can play an essential role in constructing accessible and equitable outdoor spaces and stand in solidarity with those advocating for more expansive intersectional changes. Open to the public. Registration required.

Friday, April 1

12:05 to 1:20 p.m., Student Union 114-117 or Zoom — Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell. Join us for a lunch and conversation with Patrick McDonnell, secretary of the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection since 2016. His career with DEP began in 1998 and he has served several roles with the Environmental Council of the States. A native of Philadelphia, McDonnell received his master’s degree in political science from Lehigh University and his bachelor’s degree from DeSales University. Open to the public. Registration required to attend virtually.

More information about the social justice fair is available on the Center for Ethics and Civic Engagement website. Questions can be directed to Yee at [email protected].