Learn more about the dedicated individuals participating in this very important event. Pittsburgh Earth Week 2020 speakers, musicians, and artists.
Teach-In Speakers, Musicians, and Artists listed in order of appearance.
Michelle King, Teach-In Host
A self-proclaimed love activist and instigator of learning, Michelle understands that good teachers, like good farmers, must work the soil to cultivate the right conditions to manifest and grow a wider community of love, equity and justice. Professionally, Michelle is a middle school teacher who has taught more 22 years in public schools in Southwestern Pennsylvania. She now works as a professional Learning Instigator helping to manifest the Beloved Community for all beings by co-creating just, equitable, empathetic and joyful learning experiences.
Rev. Deryk Tines
The Reverend Tines is a celebrated and renown pastor, psalmist and pianist from our region that has performed Gospel Music on the stages here in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District to the Opera houses of Italy. He has recently released worldwide his latest CD project “We Shall Overcome Someday” with his family and choir the “Lemington Gospel Chorale of Pittsburgh.
Rev. Dave Swanson
Dave is pastor of Pittsburgh Mennonite Church in Swissvale. He used to live and work on a farm and one of his passions is working from within the faith community to encourage people to reconnect to the life of the soil and the Earth.
Sara Stock Mayo
Sara is a local spiritual leader, musician, drama therapist and activist. She is the music director at Temple Ohav Shalom in the North Hills and the executive director of Pittsburgh Playback Theatre Company, an improvisational storytelling company that works in communities around the city. Sara is on the steering committee of Bend the Arc and co-leader of her chapter of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. Sara lives in Squirrel Hill with her husband, Jonathan, and two children.
Originally from St. Joseph, Missouri, Etta has been a Pittsburgher for many years and has appeared on Broadway, movies, stage and locally in jazz venues. She was voted Best Jazz Vocalist for 8 years. She has won numerous awards for her contribution to the jazz genre and is currently still performing and teaching vocal and jazz history at CAPA, the Creative and Performing Arts High School. She is a member of Allegheny Center Alliance Church, “To God Be the Glory.”
Taiji is the program manager for the Climate in Rural Systems Partnership at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The partnership convenes diverse networks of community organizations, educators, scientists and learning researchers to identify climate issues and co-develop resources that are relevant to rural communities.
Marie is the founder of a grassroots political action group called The Order of the Phoenix. Rising from the ashes of the 2016 presidential election, the Order of the Phoenix focuses on getting good people elected to public office and lobbying elected representatives on behalf of issues that matter.
Karen is retired from Pittsburgh Public Schools after 30 years of service. She is coordinator for Community Outreach and Partnerships for the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project at the University of Pittsburgh. A member of the Pittsburgh Poetry Society since 2018, Karen is a fourth-year Madwoman in the Attic at Carlow University. Karen has one daughter and two granddaughters.
Maya is a Pittsburgh native and has been writing for more than ten years. She uses her gift to help others understand issues that don’t get the attention they deserve. Through the expression of spoken word, Maya brings awareness to pressing topics including the topic for today’s event
Mayor Bill Peduto
The Mayor of Pittsburgh imparts a public health message to the city.
For three years, Dan has worked at 412 Food Rescue preventing perfectly good food entering the waste stream and redirecting that food to communities and families that suffer from food insecurity across Southwest Pennsylvania. 412 Food Rescue’s technological platform allows us to mobilize thousands of volunteers to accomplish this goal.
Raqueeb is an urban agriculturist, community activist and mother of six children. In 2011, she founded Mama Africa’s Green Scouts, a youth program that teaches community gardening, green sustainability, African-centered culture and community leadership skills. She also founded the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-Op and serves many urban agriculture and food security concerns.
Celeste Taylor is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., and a proud mom and grandmother. She is currently the on-site management member of BUGsFPC/Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-op. She has spent more than 40 years dedicated to work and faith service to advance human/civil rights. Celeste has been recognized and honored by many organizations for her dedication to human rights and stewardship of Mother Earth.
Summer Lee was elected to the House in 2018. She grew up in the North Braddock and Rankin neighborhoods of Pittsburgh and currently lives in Swissvale. She is the first black woman elected to the state House of Representatives from western Pennsylvania.
Kirsi Jansa, Meditation
Kirsi is a storyteller, documentary filmmaker, journalist, amateur photographer, informal climate educator and a Creatives for Climate artivist. A native of Finland, she has been a U.S. citizen since 2018. She teaches the principles of the Tara Rokpa therapy relaxation guide and work Active Hope and Work That Reconnects facilitator in training.
Leah Song and Chloe Smith are the founding sisters of Rising Appalachia. They have long witnessed themselves – both by choice and coincidence – carrying harmony into settings of upheaval and discord.
Dr. Ned Ketyer
Dr. Ketyer is a Pittsburgh-area pediatrician. He writes and edits The PediaBlog and remains a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health. Dr. Ketyer is a consultant for Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, a board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Pa., and a Climate Reality project leader.
Vanessa is the Pennsylvania field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force. She lives with her husband and two children actively advocating for children’s rights in education and environmental health. With a well pad in her community, Vanessa has witnessed firsthand the impacts of the oil and gas industry.
Janice Lee Blanock
On August 7, 2016, Janice lost her 19-year-old son Luke to a rare pediatric bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma that has taken the lives of several young people in Washington County. In March of 2018, she retired after 12 years as a corporate receptionist at Crown Castle in Southpointe, Canonsburg, which gave her the time to get involved with the Environmental Health Project. Through EHP, she became active with other families in raising awareness of the dangers of fracking and leading fracking tours of families and communities harmed or destroyed. Her goal is to honor her son Luke’s name in the fight for a clean, safe and healthy environment.
Lois lives with her husband and four children about 40 minutes south of Pittsburgh in the most heavily fracked county in Pennsylvania, Washington County. Lois initiated and hosts Frackland Tours for groups, elected officials and news media with the goal of giving a voice to the voiceless in rural communities so others can more fully understand the harm being done. She is also a field organizer for Clean Air Council, working in communities to assist with zoning, setbacks from oil and gas facilities and strengthening current or new oil and gas ordinances.
Melanie, a life-long resident of Clairton, is a concerned, unschooling mother of two and grandmother of three, certified Natural Health Professional, former Spanish teacher, community activist regarding environmental racism, participant in ROCIS air monitoring cohorts and a dedicated follower of GASP, Breathe Project and Create Lab.
Dr. Deborah Gentile
Dr. Gentile is medical director at Community Partners in Asthma Care, a newly formed non-profit whose mission is to eliminate regional disparities in asthma outcomes. Her research efforts identified a strong association between exposure to elevated levels of outdoor air pollution and increased asthma prevalence and poor disease control in disparate children. Dr. Gentile has authored more than 60 publications and is the recipient of numerous awards for her research efforts.
BJhas been involved with Indigenous and environmental issues for the past 20 years. For the past nine years she has and currently works with IEN in different capacities ranging from graphic design/ web administration to media coordinator.
For more than 50 years, Mike has been an anti-war, union, environmental and community organizer. He currently is president of the Allegheny Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, the oldest environmental conservation organization in the U.S. He is a singer/songwriter and recording artist, with 18 CDs and more than 150 songs written and recorded. He has used his music to raise thousands of dollars for social and economic justice causes and local organizations.
Sabrina is the editor of Recycle This Pittsburgh, providing hyper-local information for Pittsburghers on recycling specific items in the city. Recycle This Pittsburgh grew out of an initiative from Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastic, where Sabrina serves on the steering committee. She is also the director of Humane Action Pittsburgh’s No Plastic Please campaign
Plastics and their multi faceted negative impact on our eco system and all it’s inhabitants has been a longstanding concern of Dianne’s and one of the driving factors in the founding of her businesses “Our Children Our Earth: Toys & Eco-Goods” and “Dianne’s Dishware“. Dianne has worked for nearly 2 decades to educate the public through her work, lectures and creation of events. She a member of POPCO (People over Petro Coalition) and is on the steering committees of Pgh 350 and PASUP (Pittsburghers against Single Use Plastics).
Dr. Patricia DeMarco
Patty’s career in energy and environmental policy spans 50 years both public and private sector positions. She is an award-winning blog writer, lecturer and author on sustainability and nature. She is vice president of the Forest Hills Borough Council and attended the first Earth Day in Pittsburgh in 1970. Her book, titled “Pathways to Our Sustainable Future – A Global Perspective from Pittsburgh” explores positive pathways toward sustainability, based on 28 case studies in Pittsburgh.
Leandra is an 18-year-old climate activist in Pittsburgh with a passion for environmental justice and climate change. She is one of several youth leaders leading the 24-Hour Pittsburgh Youth Climate Strike with Fridays for Future on April 22 starting at noon on Instagram.
Jamil Bey, PhD, is a native Pittsburgher and devoted family man. As a researcher, analyst, and consultant, he specializes in challenging common assumptions about ordinary concerns while bringing alternative perspectives for consideration. He is president and CEO of Urban Kind Institute.
Dylan is a community educator and environmental activist from SWPA. She sits on several boards whose missions include improving parks and recreation programs and anti-fracking activities. Her grandchildren are her inspiration for writing children’s books. Dylan’s hope is that readers of Norton’s Tale are inspired to make a difference by daring to dream.
The Pittsburgh Raging Grannies started singing protest songs in Pittsburgh in 2003 and have been ‘raging’ ever since. They take well-known tunes and modify the lyrics to express their opinions, work to change minds and to support others who work to improve our world.
Megan serves as the Executive Director for the City of Pittsburgh’s Commission on Human Relations and has over 10 years of progressive experience in social policy. Prior to working for the City, she was a research analyst and consultant for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, DC. Megan holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Northwestern University.
Randall has been a long-time activist in Pittsburgh. Most recently, he was displaced from his home along with 500 of his neighbors. This led to the creation of the Penn Plaza Support and Action Coalition) made up of former residents and concerned citizens to address displacement and affordable housing in Pittsburgh. He was recently a candidate for Pittsburgh City Council.
Jasiri, founder and chief executive officer of 1Hood Media, is the first independent hip-hop artist to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate, which he received from Chicago Theological Seminary. He has been deeply involved with the national Movement for Black Lives, working with organizations like The Gathering for Justice, Blackout for Human Rights, Justice or Else, BYP100 and Sankofa. He remains rooted in the Pittsburgh-based organizations he co-founded, the anti-violence group 1Hood as well as the 1Hood Media Academy, which teaches youth of color how to analyze and create media for themselves.
Josh is the community organizer for Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT). PPT is a transit riders union that works hand in hand with transit riders and operators to build a safe equitable and sustainable transit system.
A native of Bangladesh and a Pittsburgh transplant, Zaheen serves as Director of Sustainability in Milvale. He prioritizes sustainable development and climate justice for communities through NSR’s-what does this stand for? Vibrant Communities framework. Zaheen serves on the Boards of Directors of the Allegheny Watershed Alliance, Sustainable Pittsburgh, and City of Bridges Community Land Trust.
Jeaneen is Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, Conservation Consultants Inc. She is passionate about healthy, efficient homes. Like all homeowners, she is relentlessly chipping away at improving her own home on those fronts.
Mark Dixon/ Blue Lens
Mark is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, videographer, photographer and media consultant. His work filming and documenting the region’s air quality story as well as the petrochemical buildout has been an ongoing gift to the region that keeps giving. In addition to the Clairton video, he is an integral member of the Teach-In production team.
Filmmaker, photographer, and creative helping businesses and non-profits to engage with their customers, persuade with clarity and grow businesses. He created the video “Signs of the Times.”