WE ACT Environmental Justice Center



Download Our Environmental Justice Center Brochure (PDF)

Building Leadership for Climate Action
The WE ACT Environmental Justice Center in Harlem is now under construction! The center is an outcome of 35 years of WE ACT’s experience and leadership in taking community-based action in partnership with the most affected people. We work with our members and community stakeholders to address frontline communities’ concerns and priorities through successful environmental justice advocacy campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels.

WE ACT has its origins on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 15, 1988, when 100 Harlem activists came together to protest the threat to their community’s air quality posed by the North River Sewage Treatment Plant. Those activists included the Sewage Seven, led by WE ACT’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Peggy Shepard. They were arrested that day for civil disobedience but won their fight to reduce Harlem’s exposure to toxins and hazards. Since then, WE ACT has evolved from a volunteer organization into a national environmental justice leader with its base in Harlem and a federal policy office in Washington, DC.

Climate policy must reflect distributive, procedural, and retributive justice if all communities are to benefit. WE ACT continues to expand its staff, policy agenda, educational tools, and technical assistance to meet the urgent need for environmental justice perspectives, engagement, and leadership to infuse public policy.

In 2022, WE ACT’s efforts and resources helped to win landmark environmental justice legislation in New York, including a cumulative impacts law and a major state investment toward environmental stewardship and equitable green jobs. We launched a nationwide initiative targeting 10 cities to ensure that the unprecedented federal commitments to climate investment reach the communities where they are needed most. And WE ACT partnered with two other national environmental justice leaders to host the first-ever Climate Justice Pavilion at COP27 in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt – an important milestone in elevating the concerns of frontline communities around the world in the United Nations’ climate negotiations, as we all act to sustain a safe and healthy earth for our families and future generations.

Our Movement Urgently Needs a Place to Call Home
In the new WE ACT Environmental Justice Center, we will strengthen our ability to serve as a movement-builder, sharing our knowledge, experience, and best practices, along with capacity-building resources, including funding, with allies across the country. The Center will be a convening space and technical assistance hub for environmental justice organizations and other grassroots advocates. With a permanent space to call our own, equipped with the technology for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) education and citizen science, we’ll also scale up our community-based education, workforce development, and civic engagement efforts that directly empower Northern Manhattan residents.

The WE ACT Environmental Justice Center Is in Our Sight
WE ACT owns a five-story, brick and limestone townhouse in Harlem, our home community. It is located in the Hamilton Heights Historic District in West Harlem, across the street from City College of New York. We are launching a $7.3 million campaign to completely renovate and transform the building into a state-of-the-art, community-based Environmental Justice Center, and grow our education, workforce development, and advocacy programs. The gut renovation will allow the building to be energy efficient and designed as a “passive house.”

WE ACT Environmental Justice Center Features:

  • Two floors dedicated to educational and training programs.
  • Up-to-date technology and equipment for Science, Technology, Energy, Arts, and Math (STEAM) education.
  • Outdoor space for citizen science activities.
  • Two conference rooms to host convenings and technical assistance trainings.
  • Flexible office space for use by staff and in civic engagement campaigns such as get-out-the-vote.

Let’s Build a Home for Environmental Justice
Join with us to open the doors to New York City’s first community-based environmental justice center, a milestone in this movement to increase the pace of environmental and climate justice and to create a pipeline for future climate justice leaders and changemakers.

This is no small task. Time is dwindling to meet critical emissions reduction targets to combat the worst impacts of climate change. We must ensure that the most impacted communities share in the benefits of intensive climate infrastructure investments. By supporting the WE ACT Environmental Justice Center, you can help mobilize the residents of low-income communities of color across the United States to demand environmental justice and have a seat at the table in decisions that affect the health of their neighborhoods.

Please make a gift that is as meaningful to you as it will be to the communities and families seeking environmental and climate justice.


Please Support the WE ACT Environmental Justice Center

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