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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Justice for people and the environment
Mission Statement

Earthjustice is a diverse group of people who care about the environment, who care about justice, who care about each other, coming together to make a collective impact. That is the heart of who we are.

As we think about diversity, equity, and inclusion and how we enter into community with one another, we ask that: we honor our stories, be present for each other, and strive for empathic action in every moment. At our core is the idea that we demonstrate the deepest part of our humanity through interacting with each other and showing we care.

At Earthjustice, we are aligning our efforts to reflect who we are as an organization today. Our DEI team is advancing four areas of impact: community, accountability, respect, and empathy (CARE).

CARE at Earthjustice
Nurturing a community that reflects the diversity of our lived and shared experiences.
Aligning our actions with our mission and values with a commitment to self-reflect, learn, and improve.
Respecting who we are, where we come from, and the policies and practices that guide us at work.
Infusing empathy into how we relate to one another.

Our CARE model is the framework into a new way and approach of upholding our core values of Justice, Excellence, Partnership, and Inclusion as we travel along our DEI journey.

Our Staff

Our diverse, talented staff embody the very best of Earthjustice, and we are able to do our finest work when our staff live by our values in their everyday work.

Hosted by the DEI team, the annual Peer Recognition Awards is a part of our work towards achieving our goal of improving employee satisfaction, engagement, culture of trust, support, respect, and inclusion. The awards aim to give peer-to-peer recognition and honor our colleagues who have made immense contributions to the culture and mission of Earthjustice in the categories of Advocate, Culture Glue, Justice Warrior, Leader by Example, Leavening Spirit, Standard-bearer, Unsung Hero, and Excellence.

Below are a few of our recognized staff with comments from the Earthjustice colleagues who nominated them:

Vanessa Tyson
Vanessa Tyson, Director of HR Partnerships in our Washington, D.C. Office
“Vanessa has impeccable judgment, empathy, and poise even in the most challenging situations. She asks excellent questions and is a strong advocate for our staff and our culture. I appreciate her ongoing dedication to improving our employee experience and making Earthjustice a better workplace for all.”
Aislinn Sterling
Aislinn Sterling, Major Gifts Data Assistant in our Headquarters
“No conversation with Aislinn is dull, I leave every conversation smiling and strive to bring more joy to my day as she does.”
Erin Whalen
Erin Whalen, Senior Attorney in our Alaska office
“Erin advocates fiercely for her clients and takes the time and effort to get to know and meaningfully understand their aims and concerns. She comes up with creative and compelling legal and factual arguments. She navigates dicey coalition politics with the smoothness of an international diplomat. She models collegiality and thoughtfulness. She engages deeply in our DEI work.”
Matt Horst
Matt Horst, Donor Marketing Coordinator in our Midwest Office
“Matt takes on a seemingly unlimited list of tasks and manages them happily and so professionally. Working with Matt is like having a secret weapon.”
Affinity Groups

Affinity groups are one of several diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives at Earthjustice to intentionally cultivate an inclusive organizational culture. The groups are designed to serve as spaces where members can connect, network, and fellowship, as well as uplift and celebrate their shared experiences. Each affinity group welcomes all at Earthjustice who identify with the group’s values, interests, and goals. Staff at Earthjustice are welcome to establish new affinity groups.

Below is a list of the many employee-led affinity groups and employee resource groups (ERGs) within Earthjustice:

  • Black at Earthjustice (BaE)
  • Disability Justice at Earthjustice (ERG DJ@EJ)
  • LatinX
  • Multi-Racial EJ
  • Out and Green (LGBTQ+)
  • Southwest Asian/North African (SWANA)
  • Sharing, Understanding, and Relearning Identities of Asia (SURIA)
  • White Caucus Groups

Affinity groups are open to any staff members in the organization, including and not limited to full-time staff, part-time staff, fellows, and clerks.

Our Work

Earthjustice is committed to expanding our work and partnerships with communities disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution and climate change. Despite our country’s pledge that all people are equal under the law, communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities have historically and currently shoulder the burden of environmental impacts. Representing these disproportionately impacted communities is a critical priority of our legal, advocacy, and communications efforts.

Promoting diversity both within and beyond Earthjustice, in our staff and in the clients and partners we work with, is critical to our success. Working with environmental justice partners to tackle systemic inequities is one of Earthjustice’s ongoing priorities.

The stories below illustrate how Earthjustice — in partnership with the very communities that are impacted — uses the power of the law to defend the right of all people to a healthy environment:

Too Sacred To Drill
“Our cultural connection to this land is deeper than us just occupying it. It’s a vital connection to our identity.”
Kendall Edmo, Blackfeet Tribal Member
Edmo, with her two year old daughter, in the Badger-Two Medicine area.
Rebecca Drobis for Earthjustice

With Earthjustice’s help in the courts, the Blackfeet Nation is building a movement to safeguard one of our nation’s wildest and most sacred places in Montana.

Watching The Rails
“This is our life. It’s worth more than a tank of oil.”
Be Be White, Resident of Ezra Prentice Homes
White and his son Brayton stand along the fence that separates the railroad tracks from Ezra Prentice Homes.
Photo by Earthjustice

When polluters need a place to do their dirtiest and most dangerous work, they tend to locate their operations in places where they believe people have less power. One predominantly African-American community in Albany, New York, is proving them wrong.

Righting Civil Wrongs
“The EPA should be doing all it can to hold states accountable and protect residents from the health impacts of pollution.”
Pastor Ron Smith, Community Leader in Tallassee, Alabama
Smith at his home, near Tallassee, AL. His house, now adjacent to the Stone's Throw landfill, was built on the property that his family has owned since his great-grandfather's time.
Jeronimo Nisa for Earthjustice

After decades of unaddressed discrimination complaints, five communities of color are standing up to the EPA to tackle historical environmental injustices.

Harvesting Change
“We are forced to work in toxic fields, because the supervisors aren’t being supervised.”
Victorino, Farmworker in California
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy (right) is thanked by Ana Alicia Torres Aguirre, a farmworker and worker safety trainer from Arizona, for listening to the farmworkers' experiences.
Dave Getzschman for Earthjustice

Farmworkers and advocates journeyed to Washington to advocate for stronger protections against pesticide exposure. The new worker protections they secured are a powerful testimony to their efforts.

The Action Plan

Each year, Earthjustice develops a comprehensive Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Plan to lay out annual internal and external organizational goals. Included in the plan are tangible objectives and metrics for accountability that will keep us committed to our vision.

A report card issued in early 2020 reviewed the progress we made in 2019 towards our goal of becoming a more inclusive and diverse organization that centers equity in all that we do.

The goals reflect the work we believe is essential to do on DEI. We will continue our work to recruit and retain multi-culturally sophisticated employees and to build a stronger culture of inclusion. And, we will work to diversify our clients, partners, donors and supporters to ensure that we are serving all communities impacted by environmental issues.

Earthjustice Demographic Data

All Staff, Attorneys, and Board of Trustees represent data for Jan. 1, 2021. New Hires represent data for calendar year 2020.

Earthjustice collects demographic data in accordance with annual reporting requirements from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The categories of data we collect with respect to gender, race / ethnicity, and job grouping are all determined by the EEOC. Earthjustice also reports this data on an ongoing basis to GuideStar.

Latinx / Hispanic in the charts below also includes people who claim heritage to the Indigenous Peoples of pre-Meso and South America. We recognize that this data is reflective of only certain aspects of diversity.

All Staff
All Staff Demographic Data: By Race / Ethnicity.
by Race / Ethnicity
56% White
13% Asian
10% Black
9% Latinx / Hispanic
9% Two or more races
1% Native
1% Unspecified
All Staff Demographic Data: By Gender.
All Staff: Women
67% of our workplace are women

(unchanged from 2019)
All Staff Demographic Data: By Gender.
All Staff: People of Color
44% of our workplace are people of color

(up from 41% in 2019)
Attorneys Demographic Data: By Race / Ethnicity.
by Race / Ethnicity
69% White
13% Asian
7% Black
3% Latinx / Hispanic
6% Two or more races
2% Native
0% Unspecified
Senior Attorneys
Senior Attorneys Demographic Data: By Race / Ethnicity.
by Race / Ethnicity
83% White
9% Asian
1% Black
4% Latinx / Hispanic
1% Two or more races
1% Native
0% Unspecified
Associate Attorneys
Associate Attorneys Demographic Data: By Race / Ethnicity.
by Race / Ethnicity
41% White
22% Asian
14% Black
4% Latinx / Hispanic
14% Two or more races
4% Native
0% Unspecified
New Hires
New Hires Demographic Data: By Race / Ethnicity.
by Race / Ethnicity
47% White
14% Asian
8% Black
10% Latinx / Hispanic
17% Two or more races
3% Native
1% Unspecified
Board of Trustees
Board Demographic Data: By Race / Ethnicity.
by Race / Ethnicity
24 White
0 Asian
2 Black
3 Latinx / Hispanic
1 Two or more races
3 Native
0 Unspecified