2025 Design-Your-Own Fellowship Applications are Open

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Headshot of Jillian Aicher

Jillian Aicher

  • Hosted by Conservation Law Foundation
  • Sponsored by Family and Friends of Helen B. Stern
  • Service location Boston, Massachusetts
  • Law school Pace University School of Law
  • Issue area Environmental Justice, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Jillian (she/her/hers) will advocate on behalf of underserved communities in Manchester, New Hampshire to expose and tackle environmental and health harms from an incinerator emitting toxic “forever chemicals” and other pollutants.

The City of Manchester owns and operates an incinerator that burns waste from its sewage treatment plant and emits toxic substances, including PFAS, which are long-lasting, health-harming chemicals often referred to as “forever chemicals.” PFAS emissions from Manchester’s sludge-burning incinerator contribute to the cumulative environmental impacts that threaten the health of communities of color and low-income communities in Manchester—communities that experience a disproportionate burden of environmental harm. Despite the pressing need for environmental justice advocacy in the area, neither the City of Manchester nor New Hampshire has an enforceable environmental justice policy to protect communities experiencing disproportionate health and environmental harms.

Jillian chose to attend law school because she hoped to harness the law to secure environmental justice protections for communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental burdens. Speaking with community members about the many environmental inequities that harm low-income residents and residents of color motivated her to pursue an Equal Justice Works Fellowship that addresses health-harming toxic pollution in Manchester.

Fellowship Plans

Through education, direct engagement, and legal advocacy, Jillian will amplify community voices in Manchester to address health and environmental inequities caused by the City’s sludge incinerator and potentially other health-harming facilities. Jillian’s project will also use public outreach, legal advocacy, and engagement with government officials to formulate strategies to reduce and eliminate “forever chemicals” from products so that they do not reach the City’s waste facilities. Jillian may also engage with community members and lawmakers to develop an enforceable statewide environmental justice policy.

My Equal Justice Works Fellowship has afforded me the opportunity to serve the environmental justice community in Manchester, NH, where cumulative environmental harms exacerbate racial and income-based inequities. I am honored to use my legal skills to combat the problem of ‘forever chemicals’ in Manchester.

Jillian Aicher /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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