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BENNINGTON — On Thursday, March 18 at 7 p.m., former Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of San Juan, Puerto Rico, will join Bennington College faculty member Judith Enck and WAMC’s Joe Donahue to discuss “Climate Change and Communities: Impacts in Puerto Rico and Beyond.”

This event is free, open to the public, and will take place virtually via Zoom. Register at by March 17 to join the event.

The CAPA Interview Series, which began in February and focuses on social justice, features interviews followed by Q&A with the Bennington community. The conversations are broadcast later on WAMC to its regional audience.

Enck, former EPA regional administrator, faculty member at Bennington College, and Beyond Plastics president, will be participating in the forthcoming discussion with Cruz. Enck is also a panelist for WAMC’s Roundtable on Fridays.

“Carmen Yulín Cruz is an inspiring and dynamic political leader who stood up for the people of Puerto Rico when they needed her most,” Enck said. “She was a remarkable leader through Hurricane Maria and knows first hand the damage caused by climate change which resulted in many people leaving Puerto Rico.

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“She was so effective that the former president referred to her as a ‘nasty woman’— which she is not. She continues to be an extraordinary civic leader and we are so grateful that students and community members will hear from her first hand,” Enck said.

Bennington College President Laura Walker will join for the Q&A portion of the event. “It’s an honor to join Joe for this series of conversations with luminaries like Carmen Yulín Cruz,” Walker said. “Cruz’s insights couldn’t be more relevant or urgent as the compounding hardships of natural disasters, economic uncertainty, and a global pandemic impact marginalized communities disproportionately across the country.”

Carmen Yulín Cruz served as the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico from 2013-2020. When Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico in 2017, she worked tirelessly to support the millions of Puerto Ricans who were impacted by the hurricane and the long-term power outages. She has received countless awards and recognition for her remarkable leadership during and after Hurricane Maria, including being named on the 2018 TIME Magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Cruz now serves as a Distinguished Fellow in Leadership at the Weissman Center at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass.


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