Peggy M. Shepard is executive director and co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Founded in 1988, WE ACT was New York's first environmental justice organization created to improve environmental health and quality of life in communities of color.
She is the recipient of numerous awards for her leadership and advocacy, including the 10th Annual Heinz Award for the Environment and the 2008 Jane Jacobs Medal for Lifetime Achievement.
She is a former Democratic District Leader, who represented West Harlem from 1985 to April 1993, and served as President of the National Women's Political Caucus-Manhattan from 1993-1997. From January 2001-2003, Ms Shepard served as the first female chair of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and is co-chair of the Northeast Environmental Justice Network. She is a former member of the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council of the National Institutes of Health and a member of the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. She also serves as a member of the National Academies' Committee on America's Climate Choices.
Ms. Shepard is a former journalist, and was a reporter for The Indianapolis News, a copy editor for The San Juan Star, and a researcher for Time-Life Books. She has served as an editor at Redbook, Essence, and Black Enterprise magazines.
Ms. Shepard began a career in government as a speechwriter for the New York State Division of Housing & Community Renewal and Director of Public Information for Rent Administration. She served as the Women's Outreach Coordinator for the New York City Comptroller's Office.
Ms. Shepard is a board member of the national and NYS Leagues of Conservation Voters, Environmental Defense, NY Earth Day, Citizen Action of NY, and the Children's Environmental Health Network. She is an advisory board member of the Bellevue Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic; the Harlem Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention; and Mt. Sinai's Children's Environmental Health Center. She is a graduate of Howard University and Solebury and Newtown Friends Schools.