Climate Displacement

Ideas Summit: Environmental Voices

Join us for an enlightening discussion on climate displacement, featuring speaker Tabitha Sookdeo from IRIS, Maya Prabhu from Law at Yale Law School and Yale School of Medicine, and Keshia "Talking Waters" De Freece from Sovereign Science LLC. Delve into the pressing question: Who are the climate migrants, and what challenges do they encounter? Gain insight into the complexities of climate-induced migration and the legal and humanitarian issues involved. Don't miss this opportunity to deepen your understanding of this urgent global issue and explore avenues for support and advocacy.

Keshia "Talking Waters" De Freece

Keshia Talking Waters De Freece (she/they) is a Ramapough Lenape Munsee tribal member. She completed her Masters at the United Nations University for Peace with a focus on International Law and Conflict Negotiations, her conflict of choice being the environment. Keshia's professional background has ranged from climate refugee and asylum-seeker support in the European Union, to Indigenous-led community research, outdoor education and intergenerational art restoration. Talking Waters was the keynote youth speaker at the United Nations SDG Action Week (23') and addressed the global significance of the land back movement for climate sustainability from conflict zones to Indigenous territories. Presently Keshia is the Indigenous Education Specialist at Harvard Forest, the Founding-Director of Sovereign Science LLC, an Indigenous thinktank and environmental consultation organization, as well as one of the John Carter Brown University Library Tribal Research Fellow (24'-25'). De Freece has been published as the co-author in the international, interdisciplinary journal Architecture, Media, Politics, Society (AMPS) 23', "Education Back: Decolonizing Learning for Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island" and will be co-presenting this at the University of Southern California Dornsife and International Network of Genocide Scholars conference (June 24'). In addition to honoring the human layer of removal, displacement and otherwise, Keshia also intimately engages in the more than human kinships effected and also experiencing climate chaos, with Indigenous eyes.

Maya Prabhu

Maya Prabhu is a Clinical Associate Professor (Adjunct) of Law at Yale Law School and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. Prabhu obtained her medical degree from Dalhousie Medical School in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and completed residency training in adult psychiatry and a fellowship in forensic psychiatry at Yale. Between medical school and residency, she graduated from the McGill Faculty of Law in Montreal, Canada; she then practiced corporate litigation at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York and was a Deputy Counsel with the Independent Inquiry Commission (“the Volcker Inquiry”) which investigated allegations of fraud and corruption in the U.N. Oil-for-Food-Programme.

As a Consulting Forensic Psychiatrist to the State of Connecticut, she works with individuals who are justice involved. She consults with legal organizations with regard to the psychological impact of lawyering and collaborative representation of clients who have mental illness. Her research areas of interest include refugee health, forensic psychiatry, climate migration, and issues at the nexus of health and international law.

Tabitha Sookdeo

Tabitha Sookdeo is a formerly undocumented immigrant originally from Guyana in South America, who grew up in Sint Maarten in the Dutch Caribbean. Tabitha completed her undergraduate studies in social and environmental justice from Trevecca Nazarene University, where her scholarship focused on the intersection between climate change and migration.

Tabitha has worked in the immigration field for over a decade, from community organizing to public interest lobbying and fundraising: aiding advocacy efforts for a tuition equality bill giving in-state tuition privileges to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients; and raising hundreds of thousands of scholarship dollars for undocumented university students in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition, Tabitha has organized human rights coalitions for migrant farmworkers facing modern-day slavery in Immokalee, Florida.

Tabitha is passionate about finding creative solutions for climate adaptation in cities through a global environmental justice lens. Currently, Tabitha is the Director of Community Engagement at Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services. She is also a joint-degree student at the Yale School of the Environment and Vermont Law School. Tabitha is a fellow at the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Sustainability Initiative at Yale School of the Environment led by Dr. Dorceta Taylor. She also sits on the board as the vice president of the Greater Dwight Development Corporation. Some organizations Tabitha worked with include: The Tennessee Immigrants and Refugee Rights Coalition, The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Nashville Fair Food, Dignidad Obrera, Equal Chance for Education, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean, and Clean Water Action. Tabitha is proficient in Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, and French.

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