In the late 1980s, Peggy Shepard helped lead the charge against noxious emissions wafting from a sewage plant in her Harlem neighborhood, a fight that forced New York City to enact fixes and spurred her work as an environmental justice and health advocate for the past three decades.
But while Shepard, a co-founder of the group WE ACT for Environmental Justice, has collaborated with large national environmental organizations and been invited to sit on their boards, she still stands out among many of her peers in the green movement.
“These organizations are generally predominantly white. Their boards are generally older white men,” said Shepard, who is Black. “They’re realizing that not only do those boards have to get younger, they have to get more diverse.”