Mychal Johnson to Receive the 2024 Community Activist Award

Mychal Johnson (South Bronx Unite) has been selected to receive the 2024 Community Activist Award.

Since the late 1960s, the Urban Affairs Association (UAA) has served as a professional organization for scholars and practitioners seeking to advance social justice and policy equity through timely analyses, and direct support of local residents and advocacy organizations. 

In 2023, UAA established a special award to recognize and express gratitude for the work of locally-engaged advocates who fight against social, economic and political barriers to both protect urban communities, and open access to opportunities and resources for local residents. Their work reflects the same values held by the Urban Affairs Association. This award recognizes local advocates for their current and/or past efforts in promoting the rights and well-being of urban communities, and seeks to give public and national recognition to their many contributions.


“The Urban Affairs Association’s Community Activist Award Committee is pleased to announce Mr. Mychal Johnson as recipient of the 2024 Community Activist Award. Since co-founding South Bronx Unite in 2012, Mr. Johnson has been resolute in his focus on addressing the environmental justice issues facing community residents. In addition to his ongoing work with South Bronx Unite, he currently serves on eight other boards and advisory councils that focus on improving the environment of traditionally marginalized places and their communities. From ecological restoration to combatting real estate speculation, the success of Mr. Johnson’s work illustrates how environmental justice is a critical component of economic and social justice. Whether it’s improving environmental health, establishing continuously affordable housing, or reclaiming open spaces, Mr. Johnson has elevated and advanced community interests through his dedicated activism. In addition to the deeply local focus of Mr. Johnson’s work, he also contributes his community activism skills and experience to international efforts such as the United Nations Climate Summit and the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change. By focusing on building coalitions and alliances among stakeholders to create community-driven solutions, Mr. Johnson’s work both addresses current problems and ventures to create better futures.”


Mychal Johnson is an advocate for environmental justice who works in the South Bronx community. He is one of the co-founders of South Bronx Unite and also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Mott Haven-Port Morris Community Land Stewards. In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the NYC Community Land Initiative (NYCCLI), the Waterfront Advisory Board in New York City, the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, and the Community Engagement Core of Columbia University’s NIEHS Center for Environmental Health. Mychal has also been appointed as a civil society voting member of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Open Space Committee. His advocacy work is focused on promoting Environmental, Social, and Racial Justice, advocating for greater access to green spaces, and fighting for truly affordable housing. He aims to ensure that quality-of-life-enhancing efforts are made without gentrification in the South Bronx and all other communities with environmental justice concerns.


The formal presentation of this award will be made at the upcoming International Conference on Urban Affairs in New York at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. The theme of this year’s conference is Cities on the Edge: Promoting Equity and Resiliency through Research, Activism, Planning and Policy. The conference will convene over 1200 participants from 55+ countries and representing 20+ fields of study. All award recipients will be formally recognized for their achievements during the Awards and Recognition Program on April 24, 2024; 4:30 – 5:30pm.


J.R. “Jones” Estes, Portland State University (Chair); Edith Barrett, Chatham University; Andrew Foell, University of Illinois-Chicago; Angeline Johnson, University of Toledo; Tyeshia Redden, Independent Researcher


The Urban Affairs Association (UAA) is an international professional organization for 700+ urban scholars, researchers, policy analysts, & public service providers. UAA is dedicated to creating interdisciplinary spaces for engaging in intellectual and practical discussions about urban life. Through theoretical, empirical, and action-oriented research, UAA fosters diverse activities to understand and shape a more just and equitable urban world.

In addition to hosting an annual conference, UAA sponsors ongoing professional development opportunities; Upsilon Sigma: The Urban Studies Honor Society; and two peer-reviewed journals, the Journal of Urban Affairs and the Journal of Race, Ethnicity and the City. You can find UAA on the web, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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