P.O. Box 784, Slidell, LA 70459
Meet the GCCLP Krewe
Colette Pichon Battle, Esq.
Colette is a generational native of Bayou Liberty, Louisiana. As founder and Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, she develops programming focused on Equitable Disaster Recovery, Global Migration, Community Economic Development, Climate Justice, and Energy Democracy. Colette worked with local communities, national funders, and elected officials in the post-Katrina/post-BP disaster recovery. She was a lead coordinator for Gulf South Rising 2015, a regional initiative around climate justice and just transition in the South. In addition to developing advocacy initiatives that intersect with race, systems of power, and ecology, Colette manages GCCLP’s legal services in immigration and disaster law. In 2019, Colette was named an Obama Fellow for her work with Black and Native communities on the frontline of climate change. In 2018 Colette was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Kenyon College, in 2016 Colette was named a White House Champion of Change for Climate Equity, and in 2015 she was selected as an Echoing Green Climate Fellow. Under Colette's leadership, the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy co-chairs the national Water Equity and Climate Resilient Caucus with PolicyLink and anchors the five-state, multi-issue initiative Gulf South for a Green New Deal.
Anthony is the father of three and is rooted in Pennsylvania working with frontline formations to move climate justice, energy democracy, and Green New Deal solutions. Anthony brings over a decade of experience partnering with community leaders and organizations to develop policy strategies, participatory policymaking processes, and facilitate community-driven solutions that seek to dismantle structural racism within our energy, climate, and economic systems. Anthony has worked at the local to national level — most recently through the Just Community Energy Transition Project. Previously, Anthony spent seven years at the Center for Social Inclusion, working with grassroots leaders, particularly in the Gulf South and New York state, on policy strategies to achieve racial equity in energy democracy, food equity, and transparency, participation, and accountability in governance. Anthony has an MPA from New York University and a BA in Theology and Political Science from the University of Scranton.
Mana Tahaie is an equity consultant and advocate for justice with nearly two decade’s experience organizing for progressive social change in the deep-red state of Oklahoma. She specializes in race, gender, immigration, and LGBTQ+ issues, with a focus on the intersections. In her community work, Mana organizes with the Demanding a JUSTulsa campaign for police reform, chairs a Tulsa Area United Way community investment panel, and serves as a program advisor to the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. Mana previously served as convener of Changing the Status Quo and the Tulsa Say No to Hate Coalition, and on the boards of Center for New Community, Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training, and ACLU Oklahoma. From 2008-2017, Mana worked at YWCA Tulsa, first as the inaugural Director of Racial Justice, then later as the Director of Mission Impact and Co-Director of the Inclusion Institute, and finally as interim Director of Immigrant & Refugee Services. Before joining YWCA Tulsa, Mana served as the first Deputy Director of the LGBTQ+ organization Oklahomans for Equality.
Emma came to GCCLP as a student organizer within the Climate Justice movement in 2014, and now serves as our Director of Programs. Emma supports the success of all GCCLP programming and movement-building work. She is part of GCCLP's training and organizing team, and supports frontline leadership and campaigns that advance ecological equity in the Gulf South. Emma earned her bachelor of science degree in environmental biology and ecology at Tulane University in New Orleans, and is passionate about decolonizing science and structural changes that return the right of self-determination to community. She is deeply involved in GCCLP’s work around land, labor, and just transition - including coordination of Gulf South for a Green New Deal, a 5 state formation towards climate, racial, and economic justice. Emma also represents GCCLP in national coalitions and international spaces, including at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties.
Jennifer is native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where she has been organizing for the last six years on issues related to economic justice, environmental and climate justice, and reproductive health and rights. Jennifer has recently completed her second master’s from Prescott University in Social Justice and Organizing. She received a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Southern Mississippi and bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama in both Political Science and Philosophy. Jennifer was selected as one of the delegates to COP 21 as part of our 2015 Gulf South Rising initiative and currently serves on our team as an organizing and research consultant supporting our regional work around climate justice and the Green New Deal.
National Organizing Lead: Red, Black & Green New Deal Initiative
Organizer and Advocate Valencia Gunder believes that being unsheltered and under-resourced is not only poverty, but also systemic exclusion from the life of the community. Gunder is a Miami native and grew up in Liberty City. Gunder is the founder of The Smile Trust, an organization that addresses the issues of the unsheltered, food and housing insecurities in communities across the south. Gunder also works with organizations such as The Black Collective in pursuit of an equitable Florida for all. Gunder made headlines in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma & Dorian, when she created the Community Emergency Operation Center (CEOC), a grassroots peoples relief effort during the leadup to the storm, through this relief effort Gunder has been able to assist over 200k families in the global south.
National Communications Lead: Red, Black & Green New Deal Initiative
In marketing and graphic design for over 25 years, Andrei earned his stripes as the publisher of the official poster for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. It was during this time that Andrei noticed a marketing gap amongst organizations and began to work with small-medium sized businesses in an effort to provide them with moderately priced marketing services to help grow their businesses. Andrei is a problem solver with a focus on challenging businesses and organizations to think outside of the box when it comes to their products, services and the strategies that support them. Andrei graduated with a dual degree in Marketing and Logistics from Southern University at New Orleans and received his MBA from the University of New Orleans.
Liz Maxwell is a creative producer, writer, and director with 15 years experience in the arts, events/media, and the impact economy. A New Orleans native, Liz’s winding professional path has led her to spend significant time in New York City, Philadelphia, Italy/Europe, and South Africa and hold leadership positions in innovative start-ups such as the Chief Dot Connector with the non-governmental U.S. Department of Arts & Culture and the Artistic Director of the Art Monastery Project. Most recently, Liz worked with Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) to produce industry-leading content on impact investing via the national SOCAP 365 event series, curating 40+ events in 9 cities across the U.S. and co-hosting the company's first podcast, “Money + Meaning.” A 2019 Women4Climate Fellow and an award-winning theatre director, public speaker, and systems thinker, she is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration (2021) at the University of New Orleans. She holds a graduate assistant position with UNO-CHART, working on a national grant with the Urban Institute to research the capacity of receiving communities across the Gulf South for climate migrants. Liz believes that a sustainable, regenerative, and just transition is eminently possible and within reach: if we the people choose to build it.
Kendall Dix first started collaborating with the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy while
working as an organizer for Healthy Gulf, a nonprofit in New Orleans, where he brought together
chefs and fishermen to advocate for sustainable fisheries policy. He also supported frontline
communities in rural Louisiana who are fighting the continued buildout of petrochemical facilities
along the Mississippi River. Kendall grew up in the Kansas City area, where the prairies meet
the oak-hickory forests and the Kansas River flows into the Missouri. Kendall graduated from the
University of Kansas School of Law in 2008 just as the economy was collapsing. Though he
passed the bar exam in California, he ended up spending more years as a professional cook in
New Orleans than inside a courtroom. In 2020, Kendall moved to a cabin in Vermont while
earning an LLM in food and agriculture policy from Vermont Law School. He now lives with his
partner on a farm outside Charlottesville, VA.
Bette is a native of Dulac, LA, now resides in Houma, LA, and is an enrolled member of the Houma Nation. She has hosted multiple youth camps focused on tribal and environmental education. The camps exposed native youth to the effects of coastal erosion and other natural and man-made disasters that are impacting their coastal communities. In 2015, she was a facilitator for the Gulf South Rising Initiative, which focused on significant commemorations, anniversaries, and historical turning points in the South. After successfully completing the first Lead the Coast cohort as a participant in 2016, she was then asked to participate in redeveloping and structure of the program in 2018. She then became a co-facilitator for the Terrebonne/ Lafourche 2019 Lead the Coast Cohort.
As a New Orleans native, Troy has witnessed how decades of unaccountable extraction harms people in communities and damages entire ecosystems along the Gulf Coast. Troy received his bachelor's degree in Political Studies. His senior thesis, entitled, Recovery: Misplace, Displace, and Replaced illuminates how political language was used to disguise an inequitable recovery in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He has been a Gulf South Rising activist, Community Outreach Specialist for 350.org, and a SustainUS delegate. Troy is a member of GCCLP's training team. He also represents GCCLP in regional and international spaces. Troy is dedicated to fighting for a world in which dignity, self-determination, and access to a sustainable economy become a reality for communities in the Gulf South and beyond. Troy is planning to attend law school in the near future.
Matthew Kennedy was raised in Central Texas and North Georgia. He earned an interdisciplinary B.A. in Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic (COA), where he studied global climate politics, environmental policy, and food systems. While at COA, he was an active member in Earth in Brackets, a student climate justice organization that does equity-driven advocacy in international negotiating spaces like the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. He represents GCCLP in Texas and Florida and anchors GCCLP's program in Land, Labor, and Just Transition.
Eric is a native of Louisiana and served as the Sustainable Living Projects Manager in addition to being a lead member of our training and organizing team. Eric now advises on support to frontline communities in South Louisiana to become more self-sufficient by managing community-owned projects that build sustainable processes and products. Eric works to build more sustainable communities through collective work and cooperative enterprises like the Sustainable H20 Project birthed during the 2015 Gulf South Rising Initiative. Eric represents GCCLP on the Climate Justice Alliance, the Black Land and Liberation Initiative and the New Orleans Palestinian Solidarity Committee.
Wellness Justice Advisor: Gulf South Rising Collective
After serving as a core member of GCCLP's team for years, Emilia is presently serving as an advisor for our wellness justice work. A native of Ecuador, Emilia earned her Bachelor of Science from Tulane University and her Master of Science in Public Health from Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans. She supports community participatory research projects on the impacts of extractive industries on frontline communities. She is a teacher and student of hatha yoga, and passionate about Climate Justice. She uses intersectional approaches to solution-building and represents GCCLP in the Louisiana Language Access Coalition, the Louisiana Energy Democracy Coalition and the national Building Equity and Alignment for Impact Initiative.