Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award
Kitty Kelly Epstein
(School of Educational Leadership & Change, Fielding Graduate University)
Dr. Epstein is a Professor of Urban Studies and Education at Holy Names University. She recently completed a four-year leave of absence during which she served as Director of Policy and Resident Engagement for the Mayor of Oakland. Her 2012 book, Organizing for Change in a City, captures the results and insights drawn from her service to the city. In a previous book, A Different View of Urban Schools, she advocated for more ethnically accurate curriculum materials for use in California schools. Through a combination of scholarship and her various service and community organizing efforts, she has shown a deep commitment to equity and meaningful change in urban communities.
Dr. John M. Wallace Jr.
(Philip Hallen Chair in Community Health and Social Justice, in the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh)
Dr. Wallace is the lead investigator for the Center on Race and Social Problems’ Comm-Univer-City of Pittsburgh Project, an integrated program of research, teaching, and service that seeks to examine and directly address challenges faced by economically disadvantaged children, families, and communities. Dr. Wallace also is a co-investigator on Monitoring the Future, the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s ongoing national study of drug use among American youth. His recent research efforts have focused on comprehensive community revitalization initiatives, racial and ethnic disparities, the effect of crime on clergy and congregations, and violence and substance abuse among adolescents. Dr. Wallace earned his PhD and Master’s degree in sociology from the University of Michigan, and his BA in sociology from the University of Chicago. His work has been widely published in books and peer-reviewed journals, including DRUG AND ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, and the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SOCIAL WORK. He serves on several local and national boards. Dr. Wallace is a community leader and pastor of the Bible Center Church of God in Christ in the Homewood neighborhood.
Marla K. Nelson
(Department of Planning and Urban Studies, University of New Orleans)
Marla Nelson, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Planning and Urban Studies at the University of New Orleans where she serves as coordinator of the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program, the only accredited planning program in the state of Louisiana. Her areas of expertise include local and regional economic development, community development and urban revitalization. Nelson’s current research focuses on how cities cope with population decline, whether sudden or prolonged, sustained or temporary, and the tensions among equity, efficiency and environmental management in the implementation of redevelopment strategies. Her recent work on New Orleans addresses planning and policy interventions to deal with vacant and abandoned property and the difficulties city officials have faced in translating the desire for a safer, better city into policies that could direct a just redevelopment. Active in local, national and international organizations, Nelson is member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, the national and Louisiana chapters of the American Planning Association (APA), the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), the Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans Board of Directors, the Planners Network Steering Committee, the Urban Affairs Association Board Governing Board and the Urban Conservancy Board of Directors.
(Dillard University Deep South Center for Environmental Justice)
Dr. Beverly Wright, environmental justice scholar and advocate is the founder of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University. The Center addresses environmental and health inequities along the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor and is a community/university partnership providing education, training, and job placement. Since Hurricane Katrina, the Center has focused largely on research, policy, community outreach, assistance, and the education of displaced African-American residents of New Orleans. Most recently, her focus has been on the education, training and public policy needs of those communities affected by the BP oil spill disaster. Among her many committee service and leadership roles, Dr. Wright served as the co-chair of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Taskforce for New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu’s transition team. Dr. Wright received the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Award in 2006, the 2008 EPA Environmental Justice Achievement Award, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition 2008 Community Award, the Ford Motor Company’s Freedom’s Sisters Award in 2009, the prestigious 2009 Heinz Award, the 2010 Beta Kappa Chi Humanitarian Assistance Award of the National Institute of Science, and the 2010 Conrad Arensberg Award from the Society for the Anthropology of Work. She was also recognized by the Grios 100 History Makers in the Making in 2010.
William P. Quigley
(School of Law, Loyola University New Orleans)
William P. Quigley is the Janet Mary Riley Professor of Law and Director of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University New Orleans. He has been an active public interest lawyer since 1977. He has served as counsel with a wide range of public interest organizations on issues including Katrina social justice issues, public housing, voting rights, death penalty, living wage, civil liberties, educational reform, constitutional rights and civil
disobedience. Bill has litigated numerous cases with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., the Advancement Project, and with the ACLU of Louisiana, for which he served as General Counsel for over 15 years. Bill received the 2006 Camille Gravel Civil Pro Bono Award from the Federal Bar Association New Orleans Chapter. Bill received the 2006 Stanford Law School National Public Service Award and the 2006 National Lawyers Guild Ernie Goodman award. He has also been an active volunteer lawyer with School of the Americas Watch and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Bill is the author of Ending Poverty As We Know It: Guaranteeing A Right to A Job At A Living Wage (2003) and Storms Still Raging: Katrina, New Orleans and Social Justice (2008). In 2003, he was named the Pope Paul VI National Teacher of Peace by Pax Christi USA and is the recipient of the 2004 SALT Teaching Award presented by the Society of American Law Teachers. For the past two years Bill has also served as Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, a national legal and educational organization dedicated to advancing and defending the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.