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Editors note: Read more about the background on the transition here.

To the PLAN Community,

I am so excited to announce that I will be joining PLAN as the new Co-Executive Director. I am looking forward to working alongside Faye and the rest of the PLAN team. I got my start as an environmental justice activist organizing against an incinerator in my community. I learned first hand that trash, like many issues, requires an intersectional approach. My organizing led me to conversations about whose communities are valued, who has access to decision making, working conditions and employment opportunities, mental health, local and global relationships, and more.

 

I was immediately drawn to PLAN because the phrase “post-landfill” invites us to imagine what is next. In my hometown, my friends, family, and neighbors imagined a world without environmental injustice, a world in which Black communities and other marginalized communities did not bear the burden of dominant waste management practices. We imagined a world without exploitation and an end to capitalist, extractive economies – a world where the health of our environments and the health of the people are one and the same. There is so much ingenuity and creativity when it comes to imagining what it looks like to operate outside of (and through) our current system. At the same time, colonialism is and always has been resisted so there is a lot of collective and ancestral knowledge and insight to draw upon as well.

 

My interests in zero waste, environmental justice, and self-determination have brought me into many different types of spaces. I’ve created a science-based gardening program for elementary aged students and their parents. We conducted environmental assessments and discussed what it looks like to shape one’s environment. I worked at Mural Arts Philadelphia where I supported neighborhood art projects co-created with the purpose of restoring and redefining public space. We addressed questions like: what is this space used for, who is it for, and what relationships and skills can this space cultivate? My most recent work experience took me to the Philadelphia Office of Sustainability, where, for two years, I worked to address the question, what does it look like to be accountable to those most marginalized by the dominant practices of environmentalism?

I am grateful to be able to join such an incredible team and I am very excited for what’s to come! Trash has been a great entrypoint into my own understanding of environmental justice and I can’t wait to continue this conversation with PLAN and its broader network of activists, advocates, and students.

 

Sincerely,
Ciara Williams

 

 

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