CIDA Team's Recent Speaking Engagements. Reaches From The Scope of Industry To Government.
CIDA’s founder and director Hilton Kelley had the amazing opportunity to be a speaker at The 36th Environmental, Safety and Incident Response Seminar hosted by Baker Botts. Baker Botts is an international law firm, recognized as a leader in the energy, technology and life sciences sectors. During his speech, Mr. Kelley highlighted the health impacts of chemical emissions on vulnerable fence line communities. This presentation aided in conveying to industry representatives how the continued lack of investment and inclusion has negatively impacted communities in various intersectional elements. Mr. Kelley’s insight and background in the environmental and climate sector is a source of valuable information which has the potential to positively impact the viewpoint of industry representatives in their decision making efforts. During this engagement Mr. Kelley used his poem "My Toxic Reality" to illustrate what it is like living on the fence line during a facility explosion or fire. This performance does an amazing job at painting a detailed picture from the perspective of everyday citizens who are impacted.
CIDA prides itself in its ability to work strategically with industry representatives in efforts to educate their leadership on environmentally conscious practices to reduce emissions and improve the relationship with the fence-line community in order to be better neighbors. It is immensely important for industry and environmental justice based organizations such as CIDA to continuously educate each other on their concerns. Which is why our founder and director Hilton Kelley continues to build these dynamic and professional connections.
in addition to our founder and director's speaking engagement CIDA’s project manager and marketing director also spread awareness on environmentally conscious practices during a dynamic discussion. Michelle Smith had the amazing opportunity of being invited to speak in front of the United States Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) alongside other non-governmental organizations, state and local government representatives, practitioners and academics in a round table style discussion. Michelle’s contribution to this discussion will be used to aid in the federal government to close technical and capacity gaps that currently make it difficult for environmental justice based organizations to better access federal funding. These are barriers that CIDA pushes to remove, so that we can advance climate risk reduction and improve the life of the communities which we serve.
Michelle highlighted, from her experience in nonprofit work, what she believes to be the most helpful federal technical and community assistance programs that address climate risks, and what she views as gaps in those programs. Michelle stated she believes climate risk analysis as a foundation for resilience planning is the most helpful, specifically when that analysis has an emphasis on community input to ensure that reality and lived experiences are accurately being reflected in the data collected. She highlighted the gaps to be certain requirements to have the local government be an active part in the application process. Local governments of historically overburdened and disadvantaged communities typically have their plate full and have little capacity, or at times, interest in dedicating resources to participating in these types of programs. This can be a major hindrance and stagnation for communities to get access to technical assistance. The barrier to data set sharing and training creates gaps which can prove problematic if the analysis is based on a flawed data set, which can oftentimes be easily identified by the community if they had the access to the data and a basic understanding of what the datasets reflect.
Michelle went on to highlight education training on the federal application process and organizational capacity building are also missing elements in federal technical and community assistance programs. During the discussion Michelle also mentioned how she would like the existence of a searchable web tool that allows organizations to search by climate risk, region, type of assistance offered and the time it takes to apply to those funding along with alerts that can be subscribed to. She believes this feature would be helpful in ensuring nongovernment organizations have access to information about federal funding and technical assistance.
CIDA prides itself in its ability to work strategically alongside the federal government and other non government based organizations. Having these continued connections with the federal government, industry and a variety of other organizations and partners is what makes Community In-Power and Development Association Inc. unique and effective in the form of outreach, work, and advocacy in which we have the capacity to do.