Organizing in Directly-Impacted Communities
Time & Location
About the Event
Organizing in communities that are directly-impacted by oil and gas development presents unique challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic has only heightened the disparities for communities that do not have access to certain resources like stable internet or phone service.
The PA Department of Environmental Protection’s response to Covid-19 has involved stopping all inspections and has taken away many of the public’s means of participating in the permitting process. Meanwhile, operators continue to carry out their projects, exposing residents to increased pollution while they have been quarantined in their homes.
Join us for a conversation with Ashley Funk from Mountain Watershed Association and Heaven Sensky from the Center for Coalfield Justice about their experiences organizing in communities with lower-access to technology and other resources and how they have adapted their organization’s services to best meet the needs of their constituents during these times.
About our speakers:
Ashley Funk: Ashley is the Deputy Director, and former Community Organizer, at Mountain Watershed Association. Through her work, she supports predominantly rural communities in Southwestern PA who are organizing to protect themselves from the impacts of coal mining and shale gas development. She has worked on a range of campaigns, such as efforts to slow or stop the development of new coal mines, fracking waste impoundments, and gas-fired power plants. Her experiences growing up and currently living in rural communities impacted by fossil fuel extraction motivate her work.
Heaven Sensky: Community Organizer at The Center for Coalfield Justice.
Heaven Lee Sensky was born and raised on a small family farm in Eighty-Four, Pennsylvania where she has been an active community member in advocacy and non profit work since she was 13 years old. As a first generation college graduate, her passion to pave the way for others in her community encouraged her to pursue college in Washington, DC to study public policy and social structures. Heaven is a graduate of American University, where she studied Communications, Law Studies, Economics, and Government in addition to Women, Gender and Sexualities studies. She has interned for The Women and Girls Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, The American University Center for Diversity and Inclusion, United States Senator Bob Casey, and The Personal Office of Michelle and Barack Obama. She has been a grassroots community organizer with The Center for Coalfield Justice since 2018, where she serves Washington and Greene County in issues of fossil fuel extraction. She works on several campaigns including Water quality issues, oil and gas development and the cancer crisis of Southwestern Pennsylvania.