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Damon Gilbert

  • Hosted by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
  • Sponsored by Con Edison, Seyfarth Shaw
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Environmental Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2024
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Damon’s (he/him/his) Fellowship is with the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI). In New York, people held in carceral facilities are exposed to numerous environmental hazards that pose significant risks to their health, including: contaminated water, food, and air; black mold, toxic chemicals, and sewage; and extreme temperatures. In recent years, conditions in carceral facilities have grown so perilous that, according to studies, every year of incarceration can cut a person’s life expectancy by as much as two years.

In addition to the immediate environmental issues threatening incarcerated individuals, it is important to consider that New York carceral facilities hold a gross overrepresentation of black and brown individuals. These communities, made up of majority racial minorities, are consistently overburdened by environmental hazards, and need a new way to fight to protect their health and well-being.

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Damon will advocate for people incarcerated or detained in New York State to redress systemic environmental injustices in carceral settings through impact litigation, expansion of NYLPI’s Medical Legal Partnership, and the creation of a new network of nonprofit and private lawyers and community organizers, advocates, and organizations.

As someone whose loved ones have experienced the brunt of environmental injustices and the carceral system in this country, Damon cares deeply about fighting the issue of environmental racism in New York carceral institutions.

Having seen first-hand the effects that the over burdening of environmental hazards can have on a community, I am excited to work with NYPLI to combat environmental racism and establish safer living standards for all people in New York.

Damon Gilbert /
2024 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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