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Reverend Mariama White-Hammond appointed Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Spaces

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Environment

Rev. Mariama White-Hammond has extensive background in embedding equity and environmental justice into Boston’s communities.

Mayor Kim Janey today announced that she has appointed Reverend Mariama White-Hammond as Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space for the City of Boston. In this role, Rev. White-Hammond will be responsible for leading the Cabinet in achieving its mission of enhancing environmental justice and quality of life in Boston by protecting air, water, climate, and land resources, as well as preserving and improving the integrity of Boston's architectural and historic resources. The Reverend will assume the role previously held by Chris Cook, who has been named the next Executive Director of The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. 

Rev. Mariama White-Hammond has extensive background in embedding equity and environmental justice into Boston’s communities. She is the founding pastor of New Roots AME Church in Dorchester, a multi-racial, multi-class community. In this work, Rev. White-Hammond utilizes an intersectional lens to connect ecology, immigration, climate change, energy policy and economic justice. She is a fellow with the Green Justice Coalition, which brings together eight social/environmental justice groups from around Massachusetts. Rev. White-Hammond is a public speaker throughout the nation and was a leader for both the 2017 Boston Women’s March and Boston People’s Climate Mobilization. She has received numerous awards, including the Barr Fellowship, the Celtics Heroes Among Us, The Roxbury Founders Day Award and the Boston NAACP Image award. She was selected as one of the Grist 50 Fixers for 2019 and Sojourners 11 Women Shaping the Church. 

“Reverend Mariama White-Hammond is an advocate, facilitator and pastor who has extensive experience in creating a more just, inclusive and sustainable Boston,” said Mayor Kim Janey. “I am confident that Rev. White-Hammond is the right person to accelerate our efforts around environmental justice, while expanding our green jobs pipeline and helping us achieve our goal of carbon neutrality, all of which are critical elements of our recovery and renewal agenda.”

The Cabinet includes the Environment Department and the Parks and Recreation Department. As Chief, Rev. White-Hammond will oversee policy and programs on energy, climate change, sustainability, building safety, historic preservation and open space, including Climate Ready Boston, the building energy reporting & disclosure ordinance, rental registry, and Greenovate Boston, the city's community outreach initiative on sustainability. She will also continue to move the city towards its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050, as part of Carbon Free Boston. Rev. White-Hammond will begin her new role on April 26th.

“I want to thank Mayor Janey for her leadership and willingness to tackle the inequities in our neighborhoods that have been exacerbated by climate change,” said Rev. White-Hammond. “I am committed to supporting Mayor Janey’s agenda for recovery, reopening and renewal through an equity lens and that creates sustainable opportunities for Bostonians.” 

Rev. White-Hammond joins the City of Boston with a three-pronged agenda to combat climate change and the environmental inequities that have been intensified by COVID-19. This roadmap consists of utilizing innovative approaches to mitigate extreme heat and create equitable cooling plans during the summer, enhancing food access through community gardens, as well as creating a new green jobs pipeline targeting workforce development for the younger generation. 

Mayor Janey’s Administration is taking steps to recognize and address the risks of climate change, and to protect Boston’s urban ecosystem. Last week, Mayor Janey proposed the following investments for environmental resilience and climate justice in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal:

  • $48 million for Phase 2 and 3 of Renew Boston Trust, which is designed to identify energy retrofit project opportunities in City-owned buildings to create future energy savings. 
  • $5 million for a Climate Ready Boston Harbor study to support the development of a study that will examine the feasibility of measures along and within the Boston Harbor to reduce vulnerability of coastal flooding due to sea level rise caused by climate change.
  • $20 million to design and implement a signature, climate resilient waterfront park along the Fort Point Channel.
  • $1.7 million per year for the ongoing program of street tree planting throughout the city
  • $1.8 million to repave pathways at Dorchester Park 
  • $7.5 million to repave pathways at the Back Bay Fens to improve accessibility and site conditions
  • $15.5 million to complete the park redesign at Copley Square to optimize resilience to high-traffic events and storm-water
  • $9.4 million to redesign and construct a new Malcolm X Park through the City’s first Equitable Procurement Pilot program

Rev. White-Hammond was born and raised in Boston and began her community engagement in high school when she worked as a Peer Health Educator. She was particularly shaped by her involvement in Project HIP-HOP (Highways Into the Past - History, Organizing and Power), a youth organization focused on teaching the history of the Civil Rights Movement and engaging a new generation of young people in activism. After college, she returned to Boston, and became the Executive Director of Project HIP-HOP, where she joyfully engaged young people in community organizing and culture making. After 13 years at Project HIP-HOP in 2014, Rev. White-Hammond left the organization to attend Boston University School of Theology. In 2017, she graduated with her Master of Divinity and was ordained an elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 2018 she founded New Roots AME Church, a multi-racial congregation in Dorchester.