NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University graduate and civil rights advocate, Dr. Gerald L. Durley, has been recognized by President Barack Obama as a “Champions of Change.” Durley, former pastor of Atlanta’s Providence Missionary Baptist Church, who seeks to combine faith, science and civil rights, was among 12 people of faith recognized by the White House Monday for their efforts in fighting climate change.
“These Champions have demonstrated clear leadership across the United States and around the world through their grassroots efforts to green their communities and educate others on the moral and social justice implications of climate change,” a White House statement said about Durley and his fellow honorees.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.
TSU President Glenda Glover called the White House preferment “a remarkable honor for Dr. Durley” to be recognized by the president of the United States.
“He is an outstanding example of the great work Tennessee StateUniversity graduates are doing to not only impact their communities but the world,” President Glover said. “We are extremely proud of Dr. Durley. The TSU family joins me in congratulating him on this outstanding achievement.”
As a 1964 TSU graduate, former SGA president and former captain of the basketball team, Durley sees a parallel between faith and science and the lessons he learned as a civil rights advocate of the 1960s. He believes that climate change, global warming, and environmental justice are moral imperatives and civil rights issues.
Durley, who has testified before the Environmental Protection Agency on the clean power plan, is currently working to eradicate fluoride from toothpaste and drinking water. He has worked with several groups on climate change, including Interfaith Power and Light, the Sierra Club, Eco-America, U.S. Climate Action Network, the Environmental Working Group, Green Law, Ambassadors for Clean Air, Moms Clean Air Force, and Water Keeper Inc.
Durley is a former dean at Clark Atlanta University and the former director of the Health Promotion Resource Center of the Morehouse School of Medicine. A highly sought speaker on civil and human rights, Durley serves on numerous boards including the March of Dimes, the NAACP, the Atlanta Union Mission, Vision 2020 of Atlanta, and Healthy Fulton County Initiative, among others.
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