EPA Region 4 Administrator Recognizes Black History Month at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi
ATLANTA (Feb. 23, 2022) - Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman participated in a panel discussion with students at Tougaloo College. Tougaloo College, a historical black college, is home to a broad spectrum of disciplines and study areas and is one of many historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in which EPA seeks to strengthen relationships. The discussion, hosted at the Reuben V. Anderson Institute for Social Justice focused on “Shaping the Future of Environmental Justice” and included a panel of distinguished environmental advocates.
The Southeast region of EPA is one of its most diverse regions - geographically, socio-economically, and racially. Region 4 Administrator Blackman has prioritized diversifying the regional workforce to reflect the communities being served. HBCUs play a critical role in accomplishing this goal and contribute to identifying solutions to the environmental challenges that continue to impact communities across the southeast. Pursuing environmental justice for historically underserved communities is central to EPA’s mission and we’re committed to continuing to listen to and learn from impacted communities as part of approach to delivering on President Biden’s promise to make environmental justice a national priority.
“As a product of an HBCU, it is my distinct pleasure to be a leader in bridging the gap between the agency’s efforts to fortify the role of HBCUs in the environmental conversation,” said Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “Environmental justice is at the heart of this discussion and is a critical social justice matter, as all communities have a right to clean air, clean water and clean land. I look forward to working with Dr. Walters and many of her counterparts on strengthening the bridge between EPA and these institutions, which will pay long-term benefits to communities across the Southeast.”
Today’s panel discussion follows EPA’s recent announcement regarding the formation of an internal HBCU Council, which will identify enhanced opportunities for recruitment of students and support for institutions through grants, contracts, transparent data sharing and community engagement, consistent with law. The activity also supports activities during the agency’s week of recognizing HBCUs during Black History Month.
Hosting today’s panel discussion was Tougaloo College President Dr. Carmen J. Waters. Also on today’s panel were Ms. Taaka Bailey, Environmental Engineer, Office of Community Engagement, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ); Dr. Charlotte Keys, Pastor and Founding Executive Director of Jesus People Against Pollution (JPAP); and Dr. Natasha Woods, Esq., Associate Professor of Legal & Environmental Studies, American Public University System.
“It is an honor for Tougaloo College to participate in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) HBCU Week of Action and host Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman at our historic campus. This engagement enables our scholars to glean knowledge of the current social justice and environmental challenges that face our nation. In addition, EPAs partnering with HBCUs is significant to prepare the next generation of leaders to navigate the nation’s most complex issues and make significant changes to protect our environment,” said Tougaloo College President Dr. Carmen J. Walters.