The MFN Advisory Board

The MFN Advisory Board consists of three At-Large Board members and representatives from each Moving Forward Network region. At-Large Advisory Board members are individuals from involved organizations who contribute experience and expertise to the leadership of the Network.  Regional representatives are regional leaders who serve as the point person for their region, help facilitate activities and programs at the regional level and build capacity, and lend their expertise and perspectives to MFN organizational decision-making.

Regional Representatives

Kim Gaddy
Kim represents the New York/New Jersey region of the Moving Forward Network. Kim is the Environmental Justice Organizer for Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund, Port Commissioner, City of Newark, Vice-Chair, NJDEP, Environmental Justice Advisory Council and Coordinator, GI Reformers for Newark DIG (Doing Infrastructure Green).

Rachel Jefferson

Rachel represents the Kansas City region of the Moving Forward Network. Rachel is the executive director of the Historic Northeast-Midtown Association. Rachel is a recipient of the 2011 Neighborhood Leadership Award, and is an alumna of Leadership 2000, a leadership development program funded by the Kansas Leadership Center. Rachel is also a graduate of the Healthy Communities Leadership Academy, an initiative created by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Rachel has served on many boards including the National Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Review Committee, and the Regional Prevention Center’s Connect the Dottes Community Coalition.


Juan Parras
Juan has been organizing community voices for years beginning as a social worker with the Harris County Welfare Office and later with City of Houston Section 8 Housing Department where he organized the workers at both offices. Juan eventually was elevated to be an International Union Representative for AFSCME as an International Union Representative until 1993 where his efforts reestablished MLK day and impeached Governor Evan Mecham of Arizona. In 1995 he and his wife Ana Parras formed Unidos Contra Environmental Racism, which was later renamed T.e.j.a.s (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services. Juan was an original member of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), and has served on many other boards and is the recipient of several awards. He is currently an Environmental Justice Ambassador for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. With over 40 years of organizing and work from social services, to labor, to environmental justice Juan Parras can attest to the empowering force behind marrying issues of intersectionality in environmental work for marginalized communities.

Mildred McClain
Mildred represents the Southeast Regional Network that includes Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Mildred is executive director of Harambee House Inc./ Citizens for Environmental Justice in Savannah, Georgia. Dr. McClain has been a human rights activist and teacher for over 40 years. She serves on EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. 

Taylor Thomas 
Represents the Southern California region of the Moving Forward Network. She has supported has supported organizing for quality and affordable education, as well as worked with folks experiencing homelessness. Taylor is the Policy Analyst for East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and lives in Long Beach. Taylor aims to combine art, sustainability, compassion, and social justice into a movement of love.

Ramsey Sprague 

Ramsey also represents the Southeast Regional Network. Ramsey is the President of the Mobile Environmental Justice Action Coalition. 

Mark! Lopez 

mark! Lopez comes from a family with a long history of activism. He was raised in the Madres del Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel (Mothers of East LA Santa Isabel – MELASI), an organization co-founded by his grandparents, Juana Beatriz Gutierrez and Ricardo Gutierrez. This set his trajectory as a community activist. He engaged in a wide array of student activism at UC Santa Cruz where he earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies, and taught university courses at UC Santa Cruz, Cal State Northridge, and UCLA Extension. mark! earned his M.A. from the Chicanx Studies Department at Cal State Northridge, where he completed his Masters thesis titled The Fire: Decolonizing “Environmental Justice”. mark! joined East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice as a member three years before joining the staff. After serving as Lead Organizer for East Yard Communities and Co-Director with EYCEJ Co-Founder Angelo Logan, mark! is now the Executive Director. He organizes in the area where he was born, raised and continues to live. mark! is the 2017 North American recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize.


 At Large Positions

Legal and Policy Expert

 Melissa Lin Perrella
Melissa is Senior Director of Environmental Justice for the National Resources Defense Council. Her work focuses on improving air quality in environmental justice communities affected by the freight transportation system. She is an expert on the health effect of diesel emissions, technologies for reducing air pollution from ships, trucks and locomotives, enforcing the National Environmental Policy Act, and defending landmark state and local clean air programs against federal preemption claims. 

Research/Scientific Expertise


Bruce Strouble, Jr.

Bruce is the founder and Director of Citizens for A Sustainable Future, formed to ensure that the next generation of African American children benefit from thriving sustainable communities.




Youth Voice Position : vacant

Qasimah Boston

Qasimah is a MFNResearch/Scientific At-Large Advisory Board member and a member of the MFN Southeast Regional Network. She is President of the Board of Directors for the Tallahassee Food Network in Florida whose vision is an educated world that has access to food that is healthy, green, fair, accessible and affordable.  Dr. Boston is a human rights activist and a global public health practitioner.