Even though the VLS community is spread far and wide, we want to introduce you to people within our community so you can get to know them better.
In the third installment of the series, we want to introduce the Environmental Justice Law Society (EJLS) executive board.
Environmental racism, climate change, and pollution disproportionately affect low-income and communities of color. These communities have historically been targeted for polluting industries like waste facilities, chemical plants, and power plants, while regulators provide little accountability due to unequal enforcement of environmental laws and regulations. As a result, these communities are more likely to suffer adverse health effects as a result of toxics, pollution, water, air and soil contamination, inadequate access to healthcare, inadequate sanitation, and lack of access to fresh food. The Environmental Justice Law Society works to educate others about these injustices and supports communities by way of sharing resources and advocacy and knowledge of the law. In the summer of 2020, EJLS produced a short documentary, Trace the Roots. The documentary uses the environmental justice lens to assist white-led environmental organizations in understanding the undeniable intersections between the racial/social/environmental justice movements and environmentalism.
Jameson C. Davis, Co-Founder and Co-Chair
Jameson Christopher Davis (he/him/his) is a third-year (3L) law student at Vermont Law School and a former Selectboard Member for the Town of Hartford, Vermont. During his time as a student, Davis has earned a Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP) Degree. He also helped found the Environmental Justice Law Society (EJLS), of which he is now in his second term as co-chair. Davis also completed a full academic year as a clinician in the Environmental Justice Clinic (EJC) at Vermont Law School. Additionally, Jameson authored The History of How Low-Income and Predominantly Black Unincorporated Communities Evolved to Become EJ Communities Through State Annexation Laws/Procedures, to be published in Vermont Journal of Environmental Law (VJEL), Volume 22 (forthcoming Spring 2021).
Pictured: Jameson C. Davis
Kendall Keelen, Co-Chair
Kendall (she/her/hers) is a second-year law student from Atlantic Highlands, NJ. She knew in third grade she wanted to become a lawyer after an intense mock trial prosecuting Jack for trespassing on the Giant’s beanstalk. It was not until she studied in Argentina that she decided to pursue a career in environmental justice. Kendall closely studied indigenous territorial rights, with particular attention to private development of tribal lands.
Kendall hopes to work in climate justice following graduation, with a focus on water resources. In her free time, Kendall enjoys volunteering with local field hockey programs and running with her dog, Joey.
Pictured: Kendall Keelen and her dog, Joey
Sierra Suafoa-McClain, Secretary
Sierra is a 3L Juris Doctorate candidate. They have experience with Environmental Justice grassroots organizing in Washington state where they were born and raised. This work was done primarily with other students at Seattle University but also found leadership in local Indigenous tribes and Black youth organizers. In their legal career, Sierra hopes to work with other Pacific Islanders to hold polluting entities accountable for the climate crisis. Currently, Sierra is an Advanced Clinician and TA in the EJC. In addition to being EJLS’s Secretary, Sierra is also in NALSA and Hearsay, a literary magazine at VLS.
Pictured: Sierra Suafoa-McClain
Emma Fisk, Treasurer
Emma Fisk (she/her/hers) is a 2L JD student from western Oregon currently living in southern Utah with her sister, partner, niece, and three dogs. Emma made the choice to attend law school after learning about environmental justice issues in the course of a graduate program in Water Conflict Management at Oregon State University. She is most concerned with addressing pollution and climate change. She spent a term as a student clinician at the Environmental Advocacy Clinic and is looking forward to a summer internship with the Southern Environmental Law Center in Birmingham, Alabama.
Pictured: Emma Fisk, her partner, and her puppy, Yeti