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Dr. Mel Lewis

AFFILIATION: American Rivers

TITLE: Vice President for People, Justice, and Cultural Affairs

LOCATION: Maryland, Washington D.C.


EXPERTISE AREA: Black/African-American Communities, DEIJ, Environmental Justice, Environmental Racism, Water, Queer Ecologies, Intersectional Gender Analysis


Dr. Mel Michelle Lewis (she/they) is Vice President for People, Justice, and Cultural Affairs at American Rivers. In this Executive role, Dr. Mel provides internal People & Culture leadership and external facing strategic guidance on social and environmental justice initiatives and creative visioning for the future of clean water for everyone everywhere. Dr. Mel is also a Collaborator with The Art of Change Agency, an Affiliated Researcher with the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania, and serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and Greens REALIGN.

Prior to joining American Rivers, Dr. Mel was Associate Professor and Director of the Ecosystems, Sustainability, and Justice Program, co-founder of The Space for Creative Black Imagination: An Interdisciplinary Making and Research Institute, and Chair of the Humanistic Studies Department (Maryland Institute College of Art). Previously, they also chaired the Center for Geographies of Justice, the Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Department, and Africana Studies Department (Goucher College), as well as the Department of Ethnic Studies (Saint Mary’s College of California).

Originally from Bayou La Batre on the Alabama Gulf Coast, their creative work explores queer of color nature writing themes in rural coastal settings. Their manuscript Biomythography Bayou is under contract with The Griot Project Book Series, Bucknell University Press.


Contact Dr. Mel Lewis at

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