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Mon, 08.18.1952

Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Environmentalist born

Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

*Marsha Coleman-Adebayo was born on this date in 1952. She is a Black administrator and activist for environmental justice.

From Detroit, MI., she went to Mumford High School. Coleman received her BA degree from Barnard College/Columbia University and her doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is a (former) senior policy analyst for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Beginning in 1996, she filed complaints alleging that a company from the United States was mining vanadium in South Africa and harming the environment and human health.

The EPA did not respond, and Coleman-Adebayo reported her concerns to other organizations. When the EPA did not promote Coleman-Adebayo at her request, she filed suit against the agency, alleging racial and gender discrimination. On August 18, 2000, a federal jury found EPA guilty of violating the civil rights of Coleman-Adebayo based on race, sex, color, and a hostile work environment, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Her experience inspired the passage of the Notification and Federal Employee Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act).

During the legal proceedings, Coleman-Adebayo remained employed at the EPA. The agency agreed to let her work from home when she was diagnosed with hypertension. After five years of telecommuting and another lawsuit, the EPA ordered Coleman-Adebayo to return to the office, placing her on unpaid leave when she did not comply. Coleman-Adebayo is a founder and leader of the No FEAR Coalition and EPA Employees Against Racial Discrimination. Through her leadership, the No FEAR Coalition, working closely with Representative James Sensenbrenner, organized a successful grass-roots campaign and secured passage of the "Notification of Federal Employees Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act," the first Civil Rights Law of the 21st Century.

The Act was signed into law in 2002 Coleman-Adebayo currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Whistleblower Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to protecting the rights of employees whistleblowers.  Good Housekeeping presented her with its Women in Government award in 2003. Her first book, "No Fear: A Whistleblower's Triumph Over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA," was published in September 2011 by Lawrence Hill Books. As of April 2015, she also serves on the Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States as "Director of Governmental Transparency and Accountability ."Also, in 2015, Coleman-Adebayo endorsed Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein, while speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, DC

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