Commissioner Franz Appoints First Director of Equity and Environmental Justice
November 8, 2021
Today, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the hire of Eliseo (EJ) Juárez as their first Director of Equity and Environmental Justice.
Juárez is a recognized expert on inclusion and policy within non-profit and public agencies. He previously served as the Public Policy Manager at the Group Health Foundation where he led their public policy department and a grant portfolio focused on Black, Indigenous, People of Color and LGBTQ communities across the Northwest.
“Our mission to sustain and protect Washington’s natural resources cannot be achieved without putting equity and environmental justice at the forefront.” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “I am thrilled that EJ is joining the team as our first Director of Equity and Environmental Justice and I look forward to working with him to build critical capacity within the agency and with all of our stakeholders.”
Prior to his work with the Group Health Foundation, Juárez was the Community Partnership and Government Relations Manager at The Seattle Public Library where he leveraged and grew partnerships to decrease inequity, increase access, and position the agency as a core civic institution in the region.
“I’m honored to bring my expertise and systems thinking approach to the Department of Natural Resources as we work with all stakeholders to improve equity and move toward environmental justice.” said Juárez. “DNR is deeply invested in this work and, most importantly, in the opportunities created when every Washingtonian has public lands and waters that are managed with equity and justice at its core.”
Juárez is also the former Executive Director at Amplify, formerly Progressive Majority, where he worked with elected officials in the western United States and served as a liaison between political institutions, elected officials, and advocacy organizations to coordinate across statewide landscapes.
Juárez is a former Commissioner for both the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs. He grew up in central Washington and earned a master’s degree with a focus on civic representation and electoral participation from the University of Washington.