Local News

Mustafa Santiago Ali to deliver GMC commencement address

POULTNEY—Green Mountain College President Robert Allen announced that Mustafa Santiago Ali, senior vice president of climate, environmental justice and community revitalization for the

Courtesy Green Mountain College Mustafa Santiago Ali
Courtesy Green Mountain College
Mustafa Santiago Ali

Hip Hop Caucus, will deliver the commencement address, to be held Saturday, May 12.

Ali, a renowned speaker, trainer, and facilitator specializing in social justice issues focused on revitalizing our most vulnerable communities, worked for 24 years to advance environmental justice as a senior adviser and assistant associate administrator in the environmental justice program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He has worked tirelessly to alleviate the impact of air, water, and industrial pollution on poverty-stricken towns and neighborhoods. Throughout his career Ali has worked with over 500 domestic and international communities to improve people’s lives by addressing environmental, health, and economic justice issues.

Mr. Ali currently serves the Hip Hop Caucus, a national, non-profit, non-partisan organization that connects the hip hop community with the civic process to build power and create positive change. Mr. Ali leads the strategic direction, expansion, and operation of the organization’s portfolio on climate, environmental justice, and community revitalization.

Mr. Ali joined the EPA as a student and became a founding member of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ). He helped found the environmental justice office, then the environmental equity office, in 1992. He has elevated environmental justice issues and worked across federal agencies to strengthen environmental justice policies, programs and initiatives.

At the EPA, Ali led the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice, which was comprised of 17 federal agencies and White House offices focused on implementing holistic strategies to address the issues facing vulnerable communities.

In 2004, he was selected as the EPA’s National Enforcement Training Institute’s Trainer of the Year for his efforts in training over 4,000 across the country in the fundamentals of environmental justice. In 2010, Ali also served as the environmental justice lead for the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In 2012, he launched the EPA’s Environmental Justice in Action blog, which reached over 100,000 followers. This blog highlighted innovative actions to address environmental justice, sustainability and climate change issues.

Throughout his career, Ali has given over 1,000 presentations and trainings across the country. He has been a guest lecturer at Yale, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Spelman College, Albany Law School and Howard University School of Law. He is a former instructor at West Virginia University and the Stanford University campus in Washington, D.C., and the former co-host of the “Spirit in Action” radio show.

“His life’s work serves as inspiration to our graduating students who will be heading out into the world, seeking to build a socially, economically, and ecologically resilient society while striving to secure environmental, health, and social justice,” said Green Mountain College President Allen.

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