Clark Atlanta University to host the 2023 HBCU Environmental Justice Summit


Atlanta, GA (April 17, 2023) – Clark Atlanta University will host the 2023 HBCU Environmental Justice Summit on its campus on April 19 and 20, 2023.  The event will provide awareness of the environmental injustices that exist within predominately minority neighborhoods and will feature discussions with experts, community leaders, students, and representatives from government agencies.

In metro Atlanta, 36% of Black households experience a severe energy burden compared to other ethnicities.

Clark Atlanta University and other HBCUs work diligently to increase focus on the natural environment, sustainability, and climate change. CAU’s research into environmental justice has uncovered the extreme environmental and climate disparities that people of color endure. 

“The intentional concentration and unapologetic embracing of environmental scholarship distinguishes our university amongst peers.  Leveraging our strong connections to many of the most marginalized communities in the country, positions HBCUs to blaze a path forward on climate research, policy, and action,” said George T. French, Jr., Ph.D., president of Clark Atlanta University, and the longest sitting HBCU president in the nation.  

The Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, culture, national origin, income, and educational levels with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of protective environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” Research shows that communities of color bordering the Atlanta University Center rank highest for asthma and inhalable particulate matter in the air. Additionally, extreme heat, flooding, the use of minority communities as dumping sites, and other unnaturally occurring, human-enhanced calamities have thinned the air in downtown communities.  As a result, CAU currently supports the government-wide approach to the climate crisis through innovation-driving research that can lead to the distribution of clean-energy technologies, which are critical for climate protection. Additionally, Clark Atlanta University serves as one of the leading HBCUs in the field of environmental justice.

For more information on the speakers, sponsors, agenda, and to register for the summit, visit


About Clark Atlanta University

Clark Atlanta University was formed with the consolidation of Atlanta University and Clark College, both of which hold unique places in the annals of African American history. Atlanta University, established in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, was the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African Americans. Clark College, established four years later in 1869, was the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African American student population. Today, with nearly 4,000 students, CAU is the largest of the four institutions (CAU, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Morehouse School of Medicine) that comprise the Atlanta University Center Consortium. It is also the largest of the 37-member UNCF institutions. Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson, American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter (Lift Every Voice and Sing - “The Black National Anthem”; Ralph David Abernathy, Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank

Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit