The Quest for Environmental and Climate Justice: Why Race and Place Still Matter - 2023 CFAES DEI Speaker Series

Join us for our keynote for the 2023 CFAES DEI Speaker Series!

The Quest for Environmental and Climate Justice: Why Race and Place Still Matter 

Dr. Robert Bullard - Father of Environmental Justice

HYBRID: Zoom and In-person - (Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, International Room - Cap 60) 


Free parking permits available (must be printed and displayed on dash)

Click here to register!


Climate change is the defining global environmental justice, human rights and public health issue of the twenty-first century. The most vulnerable populations will suffer the earliest and most damaging setbacks because of where they live, their limited income and economic means, and their lack of access to health care.  Climate-sensitive hazards are forecast to increase in the coming years. However, not all of the populations residing within these hazard zones have the same capacity to prepare for, respond to, cope with, and rebound from disaster events. Having worked on environmental and climate issues in the U.S. and round the world, Professor Robert D. Bullard’s talk focuses on the need for empowering vulnerable populations, identifying environmental justice and climate change “hot-spot” zones and designing fair, just and effective adaptation, mitigation, emergency management and community resilience and disaster recovery strategies. He will also discuss his book, The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities, which analyzes more than eight decades of differential government response to natural and human-made disasters. Finally, Dr. Bullard will offer strategies to dismantle institutional policies and practices that create, exacerbate and perpetuate inequality and vulnerability before and after disasters strike. 

About our keynote speaker:

Dr. Robert D. Bullard is often described as the father of environmental justice. He is the former Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University 2011-2016. Professor Bullard currently is Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University and Director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice. Prior to coming to TSU he was founding Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. He received his Ph.D. from Iowa State University. He is an award-winning author of eighteen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, disasters, emergency response, and community resilience, smart growth, and regional equity. To learn more about Dr. Bullard please visit his website

This event will feature a catered lunch and Dr. Bullard's talk will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Ohio State's Dr. Darryl Hood, Professor and Deans’ Fellow, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Public Health. This will be a hybrid event with Dr. Bullard joining us remotely from Texas. All events will be live streamed via Zoom.


A note about accessibility 

This event will feature live transciption for both online and in-person attendees. In-person attendees please bring a smart phone, tablet, or laptop to follow the transcript online at


Schedule of events for Nov. 16, 2023:


Download a printable version of the program

11:30am - Doors open for lunch

12:00pm - Dr. Bullard's presentation followed by Q&A (joining from Texas via Zoom)

1:15pm - Break

1:30pm - Environmental Justice Panel Discussion - Moderated by Dr. Darryl Hood, Professor and Dean's Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence, College of Public Health, Dr. Kerry Ard, Associate Professor of Environmental and Natural Resource Sociology, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Dr. Christopher Rea - Assistant Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology (by courtesy) in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and Ms. Francis Beasley, an environmental and public policy advocate who served as Assistant Director of Environmental Policy and Planning for the City of Columbus. See below for speaker bios.

2:40pm - Making Connection Activity and Call to Action 

2:55pm - Closing Remarks provided by Dr. Ange-Marie Hancock, Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity

3:00pm - End


This event is brought to you by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and would not have been possible without the following University partners:

  • University Libraries
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Social Work
  • Moritz College of Law
  • College of Public Health

Special thanks Dr. Darryl Hood, our esteemed panelists, Dr. Kate Hallihan, and Dr. Ange-Marie Hancock, for their essential contributions.


Panelist and moderator bios

Kerry Ard | Institute for Population ResearchDr. Kerry Ard (panelist) holds a joint doctorate in Sociology and Environmental Policy and Behavior from the University of Michigan. She has been a faculty member in CFAES since 2013 and currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Environmental and Natural Resource Sociology with the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Dr. Ard’s research explores how social processes create and sustain environmental inequalities by race and class and how these unequal exposures are linked to health disparities with the goal of identifying political leverage points that will address social inequalities.



Ms. Francis Beasley, an older Black woman smiling, red lipstick wearing eyeglasses and a black turtleneck sweater. Hair is pulled back with a barrette visible

Frances E. Beasley (panelist) is an environmental and public policy advocate who holds a M.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Policy (’93), and a B.S. in Political Science (’80) from The Ohio State University. Defining the environment as where we live, work, and play, her interest in environmental justice and equity includes housing, siting patterns, and urban environmental policy and education.  A career public servant, Frances served as Assistant Director of Environmental Policy and Planning for the City of Columbus; Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission Greenways Project Manager; recipient of the PlanIt Columbus award for excellence in environmental planning; and Ohio Department of Natural Resources administrator. 

Frances was appointed to the Franklin County Metro Parks Board of Commissioners and was a member of the Audubon Ohio Board in the development of the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, the first Center in the country to be built so close to the heart of a major city. Frances is currently a member of the Columbus Foundation Green Fund Council; and recently joined the Creation Care Comrades Village. 

An advocate for environmental justice, some of Frances’ publications include: Environmental Equity in Minority Communities; Siting Patterns of Toxic Release Facilities in the State of Ohio; Dangers in the ‘Hood – What is Environmental Racism? Not in Our Schoolyard!! – An Urban Environmental Education Curriculum Guide.


Darryl B. Hood, PhDDr. Darryl B. Hood (moderator) is a Professor, Dean’s Fellow, and Environmental Public Health Neurotoxicologist in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences in the College of Public Health at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining The Ohio State University, he meritoriously served on the faculty at Meharry Medical College in alliance with Vanderbilt University School of Medicine for 20 years and led what has come to be known as the most successful minority NIEHS-sponsored program project-like (S11) grant initiative. This initiative was the “Advanced Research Cooperation in Environmental Health” (ARCH) Program (2006-2011). The research conducted under this consortium ultimately contributed to the scientific database that the USEPA used to reassess the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions from smokestacks. Such reassessments have resulted in public policy changes that will serve to decrease the adverse health effects associated with environmental exposures. At The Ohio State University, Dr. Hood recently received a $1.3 million-dollar USEPA STAR award and is the Co-PI on 3-additional collaborative USEPA projects that total in excess of $5 million dollars to continue his innovation in discovery as the co-architect of the novel Public Health Exposome framework and analytics through an environmental justice lens. At The Ohio State University, his work is focused on the vulnerable residents in the underrepresented minority census tracts of Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Hood currently serves as a member of the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. He also serves as a member of the Children’s Environmental Health Committee and the Standing Committee on Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.


Christopher Rea – The ConversationDr. Christopher Rea (panelist) is Assistant Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology (by courtesy) in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Broadly, Dr. Rea (pronounced “ray”) studies the ways that large-scale institutions and organizations shape environmental governance, politics, and regulation, with the aim of understanding and informing interventions into some of the most important issues of our time: climate change, species extinction, and environmental justice. In 2021, he founded the Rea Environment and Society Lab (RESL) to create opportunities for students to advance actionable social scientific knowledge on questions of environment, nature, governance, and justice.

A major strand of Dr. Rea’s current research weaves together insights from sociology, organizational theory, political science, environmental history, and geography to understand “environmental states” and the ways they organize environmental governance and human relationships with nature. A second and related strand of research focuses on the ways that new environmental governance institutions emerge and take root, like novel markets in nature (think carbon trading or biodiversity offsetting) that have proliferated in the past quarter-century. The questions here are no less profound even if their policy manifestations are more esoteric. The basic inquiry is one into the ways that people manage and value nature, and the ways those values – cultural as much as pecuniary – shape environmental governance and justice.

Dr. Rea is a core faculty member of the Sustainability Institute at Ohio State. He was formerly a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society at Brown University, and was also a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results Fellow. He is an active alumnus of the Summer Institute on Organizations and their Effectiveness at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. Dr. Rea is also a teacher, an avid traveler, a cyclist, a cook, a parent, a partner, and an outdoors person.