Join Me in Celebrating Our Own Just Transition by Becky Rafter

It is with great pleasure that I share exciting news with the Georgia WAND community! We have moved closer to fulfilling our vision for a just Georgia WAND. As I move into another position within the organization, it is with humility and love that I announce the appointment of Lindsay Harper as Georgia WAND’s 3rd Executive Director!

I am proud and excited that Georgia WAND has reached this milestone, a benchmark in our transition toward a power shift that we would like to see in the nonprofit space as well as the world at large. As a black woman entrepreneur, Lindsay’s rise to leadership demonstrates how important it is to reverse historic trends of overlooking and undervaluing the capabilities of black women, especially when an organization (or country) has been historically led by white people. Lindsay is an incredible woman, who is changing the world through her strategic thinking, creative ideas, professionalism, brilliance, positivity, and warmth. It is joyful working with her every day and seeing the real impact she’s having advancing the Just Transitions embedded in Georgia WAND’s 25-year goals: to mitigate, reduce, or reverse nuclear and environmental harms in Georgia communities; to build economic, political, and cultural power in front-line communities; and to build Georgia WAND’s financial stability and shared management.
“It is a true pleasure for me to welcome Lindsay into her new role as Executive Director of Georgia WAND. Lindsay is a critical thinker who has helped develop and guide the direction of Georgia WAND’s work for over a year now. I have been pleased with the leadership growth and organizational expansion directed by Lindsay since joining the staff, her promotion into this position is a reflection of that work. I have watched her emerge as a leader, this will be a great fit for both Georgia WAND and Lindsay.” -Dianne Valentin, Georgia WAND Board President.
Lindsay has served as Georgia WAND’s Deputy Director for the past nine months. Having initially become a part of Georgia WAND as a board member where she served for two years, Lindsay joined the Georgia WAND staff as Program and Communications Manager in late 2016. In January 2018, she became the first woman of color to hold a director level position within the administrative area of the organization. On September 15, 2018, she made more history as the first black woman to become Executive Director.
Since joining the staff, Lindsay has made incredible contributions to help shepherd the transformation of Georgia WAND’s culture and evolve our strategic approach. She has achieved a number of milestones, stepping into her power gracefully, with much support in the community. This year she was invited to join the United Nations Centers of Regional Expertise, co-chair the US Climate Action Network (USCAN)’s Equitable and Ambitious Climate Vision, and join the Environmental Justice Committee of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda. She is concurrently supporting Partnership for Southern Equity‘s Just Energy Circle and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective‘s Roundable series. Lindsay represents Georgia WAND at the ProGeorgia state table and several working groups; and has been elected to the ProGeorgia Board of Directors as a reflection of her contributions.
Krista Brewer, who serves with Lindsay on the board of ProGeorgia, says, “I’ve been very impressed with Lindsay. I think this is an exciting move for her and for Georgia WAND.” Krista is the former board chair of Georgia WAND and the founder of ProGeorgia.
Lindsay has also made important inroads in the communities we serve. This fall, Lindsay is working with leaders of Neighborhood Planning Unit V (NPU-V) as Georgia WAND hosts the upcoming 2018 NPU-V Community Forum. This year, we are expanding ourWe Count! program to 10 counties, including the full integration of our nuclear and pentagon spending work into our civic engagement efforts. Lindsay also coordinated one of Georgia WAND’s most successful events, the “Justravaganza” community town hall, which brought together frontline communities from all walks of life with the purpose of empowering and mobilizing communities to seek solutions. Lindsay recently was accepted into the N Square Cohort, an innovator’s network with the mission of generating new ideas and resources to reduce the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons. Lindsay’s contributions have been crucial to our movement, especially as someone representing a grassroots nonprofit in the South.
“Lindsay’s contributions as a Georgia WAND board member, then as Program Manager and later Deputy Director, demonstrate her awesome capabilities and passion for this work. Her contributions are considerable and impressive. Lindsay stepping into the executive role will continue to advance Georgia WAND’s critically important work and inclusive outreach to which we are all committed.” -Senator Nan Grogran Orrock
Lindsay Harper believes, “Atlanta is emerging as a beacon of global solutions, building on the legacy of civil rights. It’s only right that it would also be the seat of environmental justice opportunities.” When asked how she feels about becoming ED, Lindsay states, “I’ve been training for this opportunity professionally for 15 years, and personally for my lifetime as the daughter of an environmental justice warrior.  I am grateful for the support of people like Becky Rafter, Annie Laura Howard Stephens, Dianne Valentin, the Georgia WAND board and staff, and many partners, colleagues, and friends. I believe we can work together in community toward a society we can be proud of, with an outcome we decided to have a hand in. Through intentional reflection on the powerful shoulders on which I stand, I will honor our organizational history and foundation, carry forward our wins, and leverage and amplify them into the next generation of warriors to face the many challenges before us. Georgia WAND is wonderfully primed to take advantage of the opportunities that exist today that help to frame the global conversation around community led solutions.”
Georgia WAND has been working on our equitable executive transition for over two and half years. It is a milestone in our vision to center racial justice in our work. We have been thoughtful and intentional in making decisions, and we are grateful to those who have offered support and advice – Dianne Valentin, Sen. Nan Grogan Orrock, LaVerne Robinson, Emily Saliers, Colette Pichon Battle, Steph Guilloud, Stephanie Flowers, Nathaniel Smith, Tamieka Atkins, our families, our Georgia WAND colleagues, the Georgia WAND board members, and Sherece West-Scantlebury, Stephanie Cho, Jerry Gonzalez, Fatima Goss Graves, Paul di Donato, Sung Yeon Choimorrow, and other members of Rockwood‘s Leading from the Inside Out 2017-2018 cohort.
A native of Atlanta and second-generation graduate of Howard University, Lindsay holds an MBA and MCA from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting and Georgia State University/the Paris-Sorbonne University (dual). Lindsay leverages her talents in radio, production, and public relations to further Georgia WAND’s mission. She’s worked with In the Public Eye, Inc, WVEE V-103 in Atlanta, and Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters and been nominated for an Emmy®. She is deeply committed to the intersections of environmental health, racial justice, and peace and she uses her talents in service of the planet. In 2013, she launched her flagship global initiative, the GreenGoingForward platform.
For four years, Lindsay has worked to implement sustainability projects and programs that generate positive images of communities of color and empower the global community through education. She finds that there is a need to engage diverse communities through new media and small business collaborations, and nonprofit volunteering. One of the most successful outcomes of her leadership was a Go 4 Green Sustainability Tour held at Atlanta Metropolitan State College in 2014, (at which Becky Rafter spoke). Lindsay believes that economic empowerment through business education and community development is the strongest weapon to promote peace and combat the systematic damage systemic violence, nuclear production, and inequitable public funding and policies causes all of us.
Community elder and leader from the Shell Bluff, Georgia, (located downstream and downwind from nuclear weapons complex the Savannah River Site and where nuclear power Plant Voglte units 3 & 4 are under construction), Annie Laura Howard Stephens, had this to say about Lindsay: “My hope for Lindsay’s leadership is that she asks the Lord to order her steps and give her a brand-new song to sing. This work is about humanity and God’s creation. I’m reminded of the Peace Proclamation, that we will not have our sons and daughters unlearn the charity they’ve been taught. And remember, when Katrina hit New Orleans, it was the levees that broke. There are some disasters that can be avoided. Lindsay will press on and be encouraged in the work she’s doing. For me, it’s praying time.”
To support this historic transition, my new role is serving Georgia WAND as Development Lead, full time. Contrary to what some people might think, this transition is part of our plan for growth and change. We are centering our work in communities directly affected by white supremacy, systemic violence, climate change, a lack of public resources, a lack of adequate political representation, and toxic industrial contamination, especially radiological contamination from the nuclear weapons and nuclear energy industries. As Lindsay would say, “We’re just getting started y’all.”
Thanks to everyone for your support! If you’d like to reach out to Lindsay, please email her at lindsay@georgiawand.org or call her at 404-524-5999 x 1016.