Celebrating inspiring Jihan Gearon who is Diné (Navajo) and African American
Jihan Gearon is the Executive Director of the Black Mesa Water Coalition and an aggressive advocate of Indigenous Peoples rights and environmental justice as well as an active organizer, speaker, and writer on these issues. Black Mesa Water Coalition is dedicated to preserving and protecting Mother Earth and the integrity of Indigenous Peoples’ cultures, with the vision of building sustainable and healthy communities. BMWC strives to empower young people while building sustainable communities.
Her experience and expertise includes work on Indigenous Peoples rights, environmental justice, climate justice, the impacts of energy development and climate change on Indigenous Peoples and people of color, particularly in North America, but also around the world. Jihan is currently based out of Flagstaff, Arizona.
She is Tódích’ií’nii (Bitter Water) clan, and her maternal grandfather is Tl’ashchí’í (Red Bottom People) clan. Jihan’s family is from the community of Old Sawmill and she grew up and went to high school close by in Fort Defiance, located on the eastern part of the Navajo reservation in Arizona. She is a graduate of Stanford University with a Bachelors of Science in Earth Systems and a focus in Energy Science and Technology.
Throughout her career Jihan Gearon has worked to build the capacity and collective strength of Indigenous communities throughout North America who are impacted by energy development and climate change first in her position as Coordinator of the Native Energy & Climate Campaign at the Indigenous Environmental Network, and now as Executive Director of the Black Mesa Water Coalition. Jihan is currently based out of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Jihan Gearon is a board member of the Center for Story-based Strategy (formerly known as smartMeme) and has served on the Coordinating Committee of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, the Steering Committee of the Environmental Justice & Climate Change Initiative, the Steering Committee of the Climate Justice Alliance and various other climate justice alliances. In these roles, Jihan has led broad coalitions of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and organizations in connecting the issues of energy development in Indigenous communities to larger social justice movements and common strategies.
Note: African Native American or Afro Native? People who call themselves “Black Indians” are people living in America of African-American descent, with significant heritage of Native American Indian ancestry, and with strong connections to Indian Country and its Native American Indian culture, social, and historical traditions. Black Indians are also called African Native American people, Black American Indians, Black Native Americans and Afro Native Americans.