Queering the Environmental Justice Movement
Brenda Coley is a Wisconsin-based activist. Coley worked in HIV behavioral research at the Medical College of Wisconsin where she led projects focusing on women, young men, and gay men of color. She was the former Associate Executive Director at the Milwaukee LGBT Center before joining the staff at Diverse & Resilient as the Director of Adult Services. Coley now serves as Co-Executive Director of Milwaukee Water Commons, an environmental justice organization steeped in the philosophy of a “commons” perspective: a belief that the care of the water must be shared by all.
It is impossible for the recognition of LGBT rights as human rights to be fully achieved if we ignore the relationship between humans and the environment: are environmental justice and queer activism related? Featured speaker, Brenda Coley, will explore the intersections and connections between the LGBT rights movement and the environmental justice movement. Within this exploration, presenters will highlight the relationship between the devaluation of nature—specifically our waters—and the devaluation of women, LGBT people, and racial minorities.
Presented by Brenda Coley, Co-Executive Director of the Milwaukee Water Commons
My Journey to Advocacy
Elle Hill is a Black woman of trans experience who is dedicated to the equity, visibility, and inclusivity of all LGBTQIA / QTPOC. She is currently an AmeriCorps Public Allies Fellow serving as an Inclusion Health Program Specialist with Planned Parenthood of WI. She serves on the advisory boards of two Wisconsin Department of Health Services HIV programs and is a member of the National Black AIDS Institute Ambassadorship of Biomedical Prevention. She is also a member of the Board of Directors at Diverse & Resilient. She has experience as a public speaker and is a subject matter expert in areas of LGBTQIA health, safety, and social disparities. She is a recent 2019 Rising Star Award recipient for volunteerism as well as a recipient of both the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition (BTAC) and 2019 Milwaukee PrideFest Individual of the Year Awards, and a Transfaith Bobbie Jean Baker & Gender Reveal podcast grantee. Her mother, Evangelist Veronica Sears, is a minister, and Elle’s community work honors her mother’s example of unconventional community leadership.
In this plenary session, Elle will discuss her journey to advocacy work through the years. Hill will showcase community engagement events, programming, and conferences she was able to be part of during her journey. Hill’s personal mission is: “to make institutional education available to the public / communities!”
Presented by Elle Hill, Public Allies MKE Class of 2020 and Inclusion Health Program Specialist with Planned Parenthood of WI