Spotlight on the Community Environmental Justice Academy, in Brunswick, GA

Updated: Apr 7

On March 27, 2021, the Brunswick Environmental Justice Academy (EJA) graduated nine (9) community members who had successfully completed their training. Participants met on 1st and 3rd Saturdays, from 10 am – 12 pm, between November 2020 and March 2021. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the training was held virtually on Zoom.


ECO-Action was instrumental in forming EJA by providing training, technical, and community assistance to the largely African American Brunswick community under the leadership of their Lead Organizer and Glynn County Commissioner, Allen Booker. According to Commissioner Booker, “The first-ever Environmental Justice Academy was a great success. The ten-session Academy introduced a thorough knowledge of environmental issues around contamination and clean-up and policies that impact communities of color every day. Furthermore, these sessions encouraged all participants to work on their own environmental justice projects upon graduation.” EJA training consist of nine modules:

  1. Justice and Equity 101;

  2. EJ Principles and Practices;

  3. Healthy Coastal Ecosystems/Environmental and Human Health Sciences;

  4. Superfund and Brownfield Sites;

  5. A Virtual Visit to the LCP Superfund Site;

  6. Climate Change and Weather;

  7. Community Development and Comprehensive Plans/Stormwater Planning;

  8. Food Security;

  9. Community Organizing from the Ground Up for Healthy Communities; and,

  10. Becoming Change Agents.

Experts from UGA, Community First, and ECO-Action taught the modules using a variety of teaching methods that insured that participants understood the subject matter. Dr. Yomi taught two modules, EJ Principles and Practices and Community Organizing from the Ground Up for Healthy Communities. He supported the instruction of the other modules when he was available.

One of the participants expressed their experience in the feedback survey, “I’ve enjoyed the sessions. They’ve been very engaging!”

Each participant had an “Accountability Partner” who provided support and served as a sounding board throughout the Academy. This played a significant role in promoting a learning exchange among participants.

Accountability Partners also teamed up to launch local projects that will continue beyond the Environmental Justice Academy. These projects were an integral part of this training. Participants’ projects address community-based, environmental issues that support local needs in areas such as food security (urban gardens, seafood consumption advisories), water quality testing, and community member recruitment into environmental and social justice initiatives. A second EJA cohort will begin on August 14, 2021. Please email Courtney McGill to join or for more information at Courtney.McGill@uga.edu.

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