Advancing Racial Equity & Environmental Justice: Opportunity, Justice, and The Power of Place


There is a long history of racism and discrimination against Black and Indigenous People of Color in the United States. Despite this history, community leaders have made significant and meaningful contributions to the advancement of this country, conservation and environmental justice, and especially in the lives of young adults and communities of color.

The panelists explored the power of place, including the importance of harnessing community power that centers the most vulnerable community members, including young adults and families. They shared insights related to how communities are building on this power to sustain progress, drive momentum and prepare for deepened impact in the years ahead.

Israel Juarez, from the Fresh Tracks movement leaders network, shared his reflections on current policy, research, and the impact of programs and connections to local community-based efforts. The panel shared their insight on what it takes to lead effective cross-system and sector collaborative work, on behalf of Black and Indigenous youth and young adults. Leaders shared specific strategies aimed at addressing the current triple pandemics of the health crisis, racism and the economic down-turn.

Speakers included the following:

Monique Miles, Vice President of the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund and Managing Director of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions at the Aspen Institute

Christy Goldfuss, Senior Vice President, Energy and Environment Policy at the Center for American Progress

Erik Stegman, (Carry the Kettle First Nation Nakoda) Executive Director, Native Americans in Philanthropy

Juan D. Martinez Pineda, Senior Program Manager at the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and co-founder of Fresh Tracks

Israel Juarez, Fresh Tracks Movement Leader and CEO of Worldwide Visionaries

The discussion was moderated by Melody Barnes, Chair of The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions  and co-director for policy and public affairs of the Democracy Initiative at the University of Virginia.