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In this edition of the Inspire Speakers Series, we will explore the equity issues related to energy.

About this Event

What is energy, and how do our energy systems contribute to inequities? During this edition of the Inspire Speakers Series, we will explore these questions and the core equity issues related to the extraction, production, and consumption of energy. We will also hear solutions and creative ideas about how energy can be used to empower rather than oppress. We hope you can join us for this informative and inspiring conversation!

About our Speakers

Diana Hernandez, Columbia University – Keynote Speaker

Diana Hernandez (PhD) focuses her work on the social and environmental determinants of health by querying the impacts of policy and place-based interventions on the health and socioeconomic well-being of vulnerable populations. Her community-oriented research examines the intersections between the built environment (housing and neighborhoods), poverty/equity and health with a particular emphasis on energy insecurity. Much of her research is conducted in her native South Bronx neighborhood, where she also lives and invests in social impact real estate.

Dr. Hernandez is currently a Principal or Co-Investigator on several projects related to structural interventions in low-income housing or otherwise related to alleviating the consequences of poverty on health. Her research has been published in leading journals including the American Journal of Public Health, Energy Policy, Public Health Reports and Energy Research and Social Sciences.

Huda Alkaff, Wisconsin Green Muslims

Huda Alkaff is an ecologist, environmental educator, and the Founder and Director of Wisconsin Green Muslims, a grassroots group in Milwaukee, Wisconsin formed in 2005 to connect faith, environmental justice, and sustainability through education and service. Wisconsin Green Muslims has educated thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds in Wisconsin and beyond on a variety of environmental topics, including climate change, water, food, fair trade, solar energy, energy efficiency, waste reduction, and transportation equity. The group’s Green Ramadan campaign is now shared and implemented in approximately 20 states, as well as globally; and the initiative Energy Democracy: Faith Communities for Equitable Solar has connected with over 4,000 people from different constituencies.

Huda has spent two decades working as an advocate for environmental justice, initiating Muslim and interfaith programs focused on energy and water conservation. In 2015, Wisconsin Green Muslims received national awards and recognitions for their water and climate change-related work from both GreenFaith and Interfaith Power and Light. Huda received the 2015 Obama’s White House Champions of Change for Faith Climate Justice Leaders recognition, the 2016 Sierra Club Great Waters Group Environmental Hero of the Year;, and in 2017, Huda was recognized nationally by Environment America as one of the Voices for 100% Renewable Energy.

Gabriela Sandoval, The Utility Reform Network

Gabriela Sandoval is Research Director for TURN’s Addressing the Health Impacts of Utility Shutoffs project. She works with CBOs throughout California—with a focus on communities of color and those struggling to make ends meet—to better understand energy equity, where and why shutoffs occur, how shutoffs impact the health of communities, and how to stop them.

Previously, Gabriela was Research Director at the Insight Center, a national “think-and-do tank,” where she managed projects focused on building wealth and opportunity for communities of color. Gabriela has been a sociology professor at UCSC and Academic Coordinator for a professional midwifery school in Mexico. Gabriela holds BAs in Psychology and Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego, a Masters in Regional Planning, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Cornell University.

Basic Event Agenda

  • Welcome and Opening Comments
  • Inspire Speakers Series Background and Thanks to our Sponsors
  • Keynote Presentation by Dr. Diana Hernandez
  • Panel Discussion
  • Audience Questions and Discussion
  • Closing

Thanks to Your Event Sponsors and Partners