EPA Honors Area Environmental Justice Pioneer Dr. Beverly Wright

Dr. Beverly Wright, in Joe Brown Park in New Orleans East.

Dr. Beverly Wright, founder and executive director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) was honored at the grand opening of the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Museum and Education Center on May 21.  In a prepared statement Wright said she was deeply honored to be recognized in the permanent exhibit at the EPA’s new education facility. “This museum is an important reflection of the triumphs and challenges that I hope will educate and inspire more champions,” said Wright.

Wright founded the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, the longest serving environmental justice resource center in the U.S. President Biden appointed Wright to the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council where she advises on how the federal government can address current and historic environmental injustices. 

An award-winning scholar, author, civil leader, mother and professor of Sociology, Wright was born and raised in New Orleans. She has witnessed the polluting effects of Cancer Alley for more than 50 years. During the last three decades, Wright has been advocating for environmental justice and addressing how environmental issues negatively impact marginalized communities, with a special focus on those between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. “The time to bite the hand that feeds you is when it’s feeding you poison,” Wright explained.

Wright developed the first-ever environmental justice map to show the connection between race and pollutants, now the standard used by the EPA in determining whether an environmental justice community is eligible for funding. Students enrolled in Orleans Parish public schools also were introduced to environmental justice through a curriculum created by Wright. In 2022, she was also instrumental in the first Climate Justice Pavilion at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The National Environmental Museum and Education Center is located at the EPA Headquarters in Washington D.C.

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