U.S.-Africa environmental justice tour part of Whitney Young event

Contact: Mark Schwerin

KALAMAZOO—Two prominent figures in the fight to promote environmental justice in Africa come to the area later this month to speak as part of the Western Michigan University School of Social Work's 2014 Whitney Young Jr. Scholars Program.

Presenting while on the "One Struggle, Many Fronts: U.S.-Africa Environmental Justice Tour," Emem Okon, of the Kebetkache Women's Resource and Development Center, and Mithika Mwenda, of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, in 4010 College of Health and Human Services Building. The event also will feature Whitney Young student scholar award recipients and is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in Lot 104.

About the speakers

Okon organizes women to resist Chevron's and Exxon Mobil's pollution and abuses in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria in Africa. She is a strong voice for corporate accountability, climate justice and women's participation in political decision-making.

Mwenda represents the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance based in Nairobi, Kenya, and is one of the most prominent representatives of African civil society in the United Nations climate negotiations process.

Whitney Young Jr. Scholars Program

The late Whitney M. Young, Jr. was an internationally renowned social worker and one of America's most influential civil rights leaders during the l960s. In 1968, when he was the convocation speaker at the dedication of the School of Social Work, he was President of the National Association of Social Workers and Executive Director of the National Urban League. The next year he drowned in a tragic accident in Nigeria. In 1971 the School of Social Work established a student scholars program in his name to recognize students whose scholarship and service follow the ideals he represented.