A Heartfelt Farewell from Rachel Velez, Water Justice Program Director

After five inspiring years at Clean Water for North Carolina (CWFNC), I have made the difficult decision to step down from the organization to start a new career working in the public health sector on the national level.

My time with CWFNC began in 2017 while volunteering with then Associate Director, Katie Hicks, on Water Justice campaign research projects, primarily focused on the federal Lead and Copper rule. Having spent most of my adult life working on global health initiatives in the developing world, I was shocked to learn the extent of drinking water contamination issues in the states – let alone North Carolina.

"No Atlantic Coast Pipeline" Flotilla on the Tar River, 2018

After being hired by the organization as the Durham area Environmental Justice Organizer and Communications Coordinator, I dove headfirst into state and federal environmental policy, grassroots organizing, and learning the history of the Environmental Justice movement birthed here in Warren County.

Any nonprofit professional will tell you that this work is not easy. We do it because we care about our children’s future, our planet, and the general wellbeing of the communities we seek to thrive in. Our work is never done, and there is rarely a day when we close our laptops and feel at peace that things are changing for the better. But we continue the work, day after day, because our communities deserve better. THIS is why I love the nonprofit sector, and why I feel that I’ve been so fortunate to have worked for an organization that always continues the fight.

As I start this new chapter, I know I will continue to promote the principles of environmental and social justice in all aspects of my life. I wish nothing but the best for the organization going forward and look forward to hearing about all the wonderful successes Clean Water for North Carolina will accomplish in the years to come.

Yours for Water Justice,

Rachel Gloria Velez

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