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Our Story

Vision

The New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance (NJEJA) is an alliance of New Jersey based organizations and individuals committed to working together on creating healthy, sustainable and just communities by eliminating environmental injustices in low income and communities of color.

Mission

Together we support and work with communities through local, state, and national policy development, targeted campaigns and organizing, education, advocacy, training and technical assistance focused on critical environmental justice issues.

Two major campaigns currently sponsored by the Alliance include:

Largely thanks to the efforts of NJEJA and its organizational partners, there is now a New Jersey Environmental Justice Movement that continues to take action to ensure that all New Jersey residents, regardless of their race, color, ethnicity, religion, or economic status, are able to live, work, play, worship, and attend school in clean, safe, healthy, sustainable environments.

Our Values

Environmental Justice Principles

Delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held on October 24-27, 1991, in Washington DC, drafted and adopted 17 principles of Environmental Justice. Since then, The Principles have served as a defining document for the growing grassroots movement for environmental justice.
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Jeméz Principles of Democratic Organizing

On December 6-8, 1996, forty people of color and European-American representatives met in Jemez, New Mexico, for the “Working Group Meeting on Globalization and Trade.” The following “Jemez Principles” for democratic organizing were adopted by the participants.
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Statewide Policy Platform

NJEJA has developed numerous policy recommendations intended to improve the environmental quality, public health and well being of residents in communities of color and low-income communities, i.e. environmental justice (EJ) communities, which are often overburdened by disproportionate environmental pollution.

Our Team

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Melissa Miles

Executive Director

Melissa Miles (she/her) is the Executive Director of New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, the only statewide organization dedicated to serving New Jersey’s Environmental Justice communities. Melissa began her career as a grassroots activist and community organizer while living in an Environmental Justice community in Newark, New Jersey. “I wasn’t born, I was grown” is Melissa’s personal tagline and speaks to her entry into environmental justice advocacy. Melissa holds an MA in Anthropology from The New School, however, she is also adamant when it comes to solutions to the world’s current environmental crises. The best and most relevant solutions come from communities and not from universities: “Those that are most affected, have the solutions” is the sentiment from which her advocacy stems. She is a part of several national coalitions including the Climate Justice Alliance, Moving Forward Network, The Coalition for Healthy Ports, and international coalitions such as The Movement of People Affected By Dams (MAB) and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. She is also part of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Advisory Council responsible for advising state agencies including the Department of Environmental Protection on issues of Environmental Justice. Her “expertise” is rooted in her lived experience and her commitment to making sure that people at the frontlines are the protagonists in the struggle for their future.

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Christian Tandazo

Executive Assistant

Christian Tandazo (he/him) is a queer person of color, organizer, artist, and visionary. Born in Wuankavilca Territory (Guayaquil), and raised in Paltas tradition between the shores of the Pacific and the Andes mountains, where he constantly exposed to vast biocultural diversity which deepened his connection with Pachamama, the land, and human and non-human kin. These experiences have shaped his worldview, cosmology, and endeavors - which he has carried throughout his organizing and advocacy.

Christian has a M.S. in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management & Graduate Minor in Impact Entrepreneurship from The New School. His work and advocacy focus on the intersections of climate & environmental justice, food sovereignty, community building, cooperative entrepreneurship, and decolonization. He leverages his privileges to meaningfully support and uplift the work of grassroots communities, groups, and organizers.

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Board Members

Partners & Collaborators

NJEJA works with grassroots social justice frontlines groups, who support reduction of environmental harms. If you are interested in working with NJEJA, click here.

Grassroots Partners

Coalitions

Institutional Partners