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Iced Out: A discussion on Winter Storm Uri (The Freeze), racial disparity, place and planning

Please join the Race and Ethnic Studies Institute and the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center for a panel discussion with scholars and activists about the impact disasters like Winter Storm Uri (February 2021) have on communities of color and how to build equity and continued resilience. The panel titled “Iced Out: A discussion on Winter Storm Uri, racial disparity, place and planning” will address climate change impact, policies and plans focused on improving equity and community resilience through housing, infrastructure development and policy change. 
Date: Friday, April 23rd, 2021
Time: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
*This is a virtual panel*
Please register here
Panelists for the event will include:
Celesté Arredondo-Peterson, Texas Organizing Project, Housing Director and Director of Texas 4 All Campaign-Houston Celesté comes from the organized labor world where she spent over a decade working to organize unions and win collective bargaining agreements in Florida, Texas and California. She and her family have been in South Texas for generations. She has worked as the Housing Justice Director for 3 years where she led a team of organizers ensuring that low income communities of color have meaningful influence on the hurricane recovery process in Houston and Harris County. When the pandemic began, the Housing Justice campaign pivoted to organizing tenants against the wave of evictions and advocating for tenant protections in the City of Houston and Harris County. In the midst of the eviction crisis in Houston, Celesté was appointed to the Housing Stability Taskforce by Judge Lina Hidalgo to work with tenant advocates, attorneys, local government staff and landlord groups to issue recommendations to the City of Houston and Harris County regarding eviction prevention programs. After the freeze, she led a statewide effort on behalf of Texas Organizing Project to outreach to impacted neighborhoods in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.
Marisol Cortez A nepantlera rooted in San Antonio, Marisol Cortez, Ph.D., inhabits the space between academic, activist, and artistic worlds as a writer, author, and community-based scholar. She has been involved in environmental justice movements for 20 years, which informed her doctoral research at UC Davis. After an ACLS New Faculty Fellowship at University of Kansas, she returned home to San Antonio to write and research in service of movements to protect la madre tierra and create alternatives to parasitic forms of urban “development.” With environmental journalist Greg Harman, she co-edits Deceleration, an online journal of environmental justice thought and praxis. In 2020, she published her debut novel Luz at Midnight (FlowerSong Press, 2020), which recently won the Texas Institute of Letters Sergio Troncoso Award for Best First Book of Fiction. She is also the author of I Call on the Earth, a chapbook of documentary poetry, and “Making Displacement Visible: A Case Study Analysis of the ‘Mission Trail of Tears’,” which together record the displacement of Mission Trails Mobile Home Community. For more info on publications and projects, visit
Dr. Deidra Davis is a faculty member in the Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning and the director of Equity and Inclusion in the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center at Texas A & M University. Davis serves as Trustee for the Bryan Independent School District, and is a member of Texas Target Communities, a program that brings students, city leaders and stakeholders together to develop sustainable communities. 
Dr. Michelle Meyer is the director of the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center, and an associate professor in the Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning at Texas A & M University. Meyer’s research interests include disaster recovery and mitigation, environmental and community sustainability, and the interactions between environmental conditions and social vulnerability. Meyer wants her research to contribute to communities’ ability to be resilient during environmental threats, and to be done in an equitable fashion. 
Dr. Andrew Rumbach is an associate professor of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning at Texas A & M University, director of education at the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center. His research interests focuses on community risk and resilience to natural hazards and climate change in the U.S. and India. His work looks at how local governments and residents prepare for and recover from extreme weather occurrences.
Dr. Shannon Van Zandt is a professor and Head of the Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning at Texas A & M University. She is also a Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center Faculty Fellow. Van Zandt’s research focuses on the intersection of low-income housing and disaster impacts and recovery. She serves on the Board of Texas Housers, an organization that creates model solutions to housing and community development issues.
Dr. Siyu Yu is an assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning at Texas  A & M, and a faculty member of the university’s Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center. Her research focuses on the development, application and extension of the Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard (PIRS) evaluation methodology. Her research is meant to recognize relationships among various policy institutions in communities, the network of land use and development plans they develop, and social and physical vulnerability to hazards and climate change.