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Changing Climate: The Role of Environmental Justice

A Conversation with Rhiana Gunn-Wright

February 10, 2021 @ 5:30 pm 7:00 pm PST

Please join us on February 10th as we discuss meaningful climate policy and environmental justice reform. In this conversation, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Director of Climate Policy at the Roosevelt Institute and an architect of the Green New Deal, will speak to:

  • Why climate policy must include environmental justice
  • Why climate must be part of our post-COVID economic recovery
  • Opportunities for the Biden administration to tackle climate change and environmental justice

Moderated by Sikina Jinnah, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz.

Welcome and opening remarks by Valentin Lopez, Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band.

Event sponsored by the Institute for Social Transformation. If you have disability-related needs, please contact the institute at transform@ucsc.edu. The event will include closed captioning.

UCSC News Center: Green New Deal architect Rhiana Gunn-Wright will make a virtual campus visit >>

Rhiana Gunn-Wright

Rhiana Gunn-Wright is the Director of Climate Policy at the Roosevelt Institute. Before joining Roosevelt, Gunn-Wright was the policy director for New Consensus, charged with developing and promoting the Green New Deal, among other projects. Previously she served as the policy director for Abdul El-Sayed’s 2018 Michigan gubernatorial campaign. A 2013 Rhodes Scholar, Gunn-Wright has also worked as the policy analyst for the Detroit Health Department, was a Mariam K. Chamberlain Fellow of Women and Public Policy at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and served on the policy team for former First Lady Michelle Obama. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale in 2011 with majors in African American studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.

Recent Publications:

A Green Recovery: The Case for Climate-Forward Stimulus Policies in America’s COVID-19 Recession Response

Winning the Green New Deal: Why We Must, How We Can (available now at Bookshop Santa Cruz)

Bloomberg Quicktake Video:

Rhiana Gunn-Wright Is Fighting the Policies Making People Sick

Sikina Jinnah

Dr. Sikina Jinnah is an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at University of California at Santa Cruz, and a 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. She holds a PhD from UC Berkeley in Environmental Science, Policy and Management. Her research focuses on global environmental governance, in particular in the areas of climate change, climate engineering, and the nexus between international trade and environmental politics.  Her 2014 book (“Post-treaty Politics“) received the 2016 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for best book in international environmental affairs from the International Studies Association.  Her 2020 monograph “Greening through Trade” explores how US trade policy has impacted environmental policy abroad.  Jinnah edits the journal Environmental Politics, is on the editorial board for the journal Global Environmental Politics, is a Senior Research Fellow with the Earth System Governance project, and sits on the board of the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment. You can learn more about Dr. Jinnah’s work at: www.sikinajinnah.com.

Valentin Lopez

Valentin Lopez is the Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, one of three historic tribes that are recognized as Ohlone. He is Mutsun, Awaswas, Chumash and Yokuts. Valentin is a Native American Advisor to the University of California, Office of the President on issues related to repatriation. He is also a Native American Advisor to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology. Valentin is actively involved in efforts to restore tribal indigenous knowledge and ensure our history is accurately told. Finally, Valentin is working to restore the Mutsun Language and is a traditional Mutsun singer and dancer.


February 10, 2021
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm


Institute for Social Transformation