Mary Nela Nicole Black

Activating youth to grow climate action.



Raleigh, North Carolina

Affiliations & Roles

Climate Justice Popular Education Manager, The Chisholm Legacy Project: A Resource Hub for Black Frontline Climate Justice Leadership

Fellow, North Carolina IGNITE

Board of Directors Member, Partners for Environmental Justice

Raleigh Environmental Advisory Board



Mary Black is an environmental liberation advocate/organizer, climate story teller, content creator, artist and Afrofuturist from Raleigh, North Carolina. Her intersectional work focuses on bridging the gap between Black, Indigenous liberation and climate justice while cultivating youth and women for intersectional climate action. Mary envisions alternative futures through transformative solutions for the communities most impacted by environmental injustice. After graduating from North Carolina A&T State University, Mary’s challenging experiences with the structural racism within green careers led her to her personal mission: “The eradication of the ‘green-glass ceiling’ that “keeps Black, Indigenous, people of color, youth, women and all of the intersections of marginalized identifies from having meaningful participation in the green job and environmental advocacy sector.” To combat this, she founded the Environmental Justice Organizing Collective, to train and support a diverse and intergenerational group of intersectional environmental advocates. Mary believes that the key to environmental liberation and the end to climate crisis comes through centering people closest to the problem, closest to the power. For Mary this means, organizing at the intersections of race, climate, and the creation of communities that are free to envision itself free from systemic oppression. To tell these stories, Mary utilizes her Tik Tok social media platform (@SunlampBlack) to share her perspectives as a black female environmentalist—as well as discussing racial justice, mental health, a call for climate optimism, and a series she calls, “Decolonization your Minds.” Mary currently sits on the Environmental Advisory Board for the city of Raleigh as its youngest member, where she represents the perspectives of frontline and environmentally marginalized communities during board discussions for recommendations of a strategic city environmental plan. Mary also uses digital art to uplift the stories of strife, injustice, and those who have been forgotten by the climate movement. To highlight the intersections of over policing and over pollution in communities of color, she is currently finishing a series called “Policing and Pollution.” She is currently running for City Council with a vision of a more equitable and green Raleigh. I her free time Mary loves to explore her environment, hike, tend to her growing collection of house plants, and read mystery novels. (Ig: @mary.poppinn)

Mary 2 (1)
Mary 3 (1)

Meet More WEA Women in Action