WE ACT Update


Thursday, November 19 at 6:00 PM ET

Watch the Video




6:00 PM ET – 7:00 PM ET

Program Introduction
Gregory Anderson, WE ACT Board Chair

Live music by Lady Leah

Cecil’s Early Days at WE ACT
Peggy Shepard, Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Vernice Miller-Travis, Executive Vice President, The Metropolitan Group (WE ACT Board Member)
Dennis Derryck, President, Corbin Hill Food Project (WE ACT Board Member)
Marva King, Former EJ Senior Policy Advisor, Environmental Protection Agency

Cecil’s Coalition Partners
Introduced by Marianne Engelman-Lado, WE ACT Board Member
Jose Bravo, Executive Director, Just Transition Alliance
Beverly Wright, Executive Director, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
Kathy Curtis, Executive Director, Clean and Healthy New York
trellis stepter, Program Officer, Mertz Gilmore Foundation

Live music by Lady Leah


7:00 PM ET – 8:00 PM ET

Lobbying and Advocacy at the City and State Level
Introduced by Kerene Tayloe, WE ACT’s Director of Federal Legislative Affairs
Andrea Stewart Cousins, Majority Leader, New York State Senate
Jeff Jones, Consultant, Jeff Jones Strategies (WE ACT Board Member)
Mark Levine, Councilmember, New York City
Costa Constantinides, Councilmember, New York City
Adriano Espaillat, Congressman, United States
Ali Zaidi, Deputy Secretary for Energy and Environment and Chairman of Climate Policy and Finance, New York State

Cecil’s Board Memberships
Introduced by Morgan Fritz, WE ACT’s Director of Development
Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth
Michael Green, Chief Executive Officer, Center for Environmental Health
Arturo Garcia-Costas, Program Officer, Local, National and International Environment, New York Community Trust

8:00 PM ET – 9:00 PM ET

Colleagues at WE ACT
Introduced by Eric Goldstein, WE ACT Board Member
Evelyn Joseph, Director of Administration & Human Resources, WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Charles Callaway, Senior Community Organizer, WE ACT for Environmental Justice

Family and Colleagues
Introduced by Evelyn Joseph, WE ACT’s Director of Administration and Human Resources
Angèle Mark, Sister of Cecil Corbin-Mark
Susan Lashley, Cousin of Cecil Corbin-Mark
Charles Callaway, Senior Community Organizer, WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Ogonnaya Dotson Newman, Senior Program Officer, JPB Foundation
Savi Horne, Executive Director, Land Loss Prevention Project of the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers
Ramón Cruz, President, Sierra Club
Kolu Zigbi, Independent Consultant, WKZ Consulting LLC


Introducing the

Cecil Corbin-Mark Environmental Justice Fellowship Fund




It is with tremendous grief and sadness that we share the loss of our friend and colleague Cecil Corbin-Mark, the Deputy Director and Director of Policy Initiatives at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Having suffered a stroke, Cecil was hospitalized in critical condition until the evening of October 15, when he passed on with his family by his side.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Cecil and his family. He is survived by his Mother Winnifred Corbin, his second Mother Merlyn Corbin, his father Luces Mark, his Godson Nigel Holder, and other family members. We will share information regarding the memorial and funeral services as they become available.

It cannot be overstated what a painful loss this is to both WE ACT and the environmental justice movement. He joined our organization in its infancy, and over the next 26 years grew to become one of the most recognized and respected leaders in the movement. His leadership and advocacy improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, not just in Harlem but all across the country.

We ask that you all take a moment and reflect on the magnificent life of Cecil Corbin-Mark. Celebrate the individual, and his body of work. The bills passed, and the people mentored. Remember his laughter, and his smile. And then follow in his footsteps, fearlessly fighting to protect and uplift the health and well-being of frontline communities. Honor his memory by continuing to battle environmental racism and champion health and justice for all.




Cecil Corbin-Mark, a well-known and highly-respected leader in the environmental justice movement, passed away on October 15, 2020 at the age of 51. He was a life-long resident of Hamilton Heights in Harlem, New York, where his family has lived for the last six decades. It is a community he dedicated his life to, serving as the Deputy Director and Director of Policy Initiatives at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a membership-based nonprofit he joined as the volunteer group hired him as its first paid staff member in 1994. In this capacity, Cecil helped develop and pass numerous bills in New York City and New York State, and managed WE ACT’s Washington, DC federal policy office. He advanced the work – especially on energy and toxics – of this Northern Manhattan-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices.

Cecil served on numerous environmental boards, coalitions, and committees during his years, including Friends of the Earth, New York Jobs with Justice, and the Center for Environmental Health. He was co-chair of the Just Green Partnership, and a member of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Law Advisory Group. He served on the steering committee of the BEA Initiative and the Windward Fund.  He served on numerous advisory boards including  Manhattan’s Community Board 9 where he served as chair of the Historic Preservation Committee, Community  Urban Wet Weather Federal Advisory Committee for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Urban Air Toxics Committee, New York State Cumulative Risk Assessment Work Group, New York City Department of Environmental Protection Water Quality Citizen Advisory Committee, Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board, Clean Air Network, Association for Clean Water Action, Clean Products/Clean Production Network, Environmental Justice Fund, Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods, the New York City Environmental Education Advisory Council, and the Steering Committee for the Northeast Environmental Justice Network.

A political science major at his beloved Hunter College, C.U.N.Y., Cecil always had a passion for local, national, and international politics. His graduate degree in political science at Oxford University in the United Kingdom focused on radical political traditions of Africans of the Diasporas in the Americas. He lectured on the environment and environmental justice at Hunter College, Teacher’s College, The College of Mount St. Vincent, Buffalo State, Cornell University, Yale School of Forestry, and Columbia University School of Public Health.

A pilot and a skydiver, Cecil had just taken up sailing. He also devoted time to mentoring young people and worked with the Friends of Island Academy, a program to assist formerly incarcerated teens. And he had financed and ran several summer basketball teams for neighborhood youth.

He is mourned by his WE ACT team and hundreds of environmental and justice advocates nationwide for his leadership, technical assistance, and camaraderie.

He is survived by his Mother Winnifred Corbin, his second Mother Merlyn Corbin, his father Luces Mark, his Godson Nigel Holder, and other family members.

Stay Up To Date