A. J. Hudson is a JD candidate at Yale Law School and a recent MESc graduate of the Yale School of the Environment (2019). Before law school, AJ spent five years teaching and eventually helped to found a public high school in one of the most disenfranchised, polluted, and over-policed neighborhoods in New York City. AJ faced the injustices of gentrification, environmental degradation, housing insecurity, and systemic racism throughout his own public school education as a low-income student of color, but it was watching the students under his care confront these same daily injustices that inspired his passion for building an environmental movement rooted in lived experience and civil rights. Teaching his students, Black and Latinx children who were already overwhelmingly socially marginalized, during an emerging lead poisoning crisis in a decrepit NYC school building, ultimately led to his pivot towards environmental justice. As an activist, he has led neighborhood workshops on climate justice and political action with UPROSE, organized diverse working-class coalitions to pass New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and helped to plan and execute the 2019 Climate Justice Youth Summit, the nation's largest gathering for young people of color on climate change.
His legal work at Yale Law School seeks to redefine and redirect the body of environmental law towards the objectives of civil and human rights, the aims of the climate justice movement, and the pressing needs of the communities he has served. This is both a pedagogical and professional project that pushes environmental law curriculums towards asking uncomfortable questions about systemic inequality that have been ignored for decades by practitioners and challenges environmentalists to examine the failures of the conservation movement for people of color. It is also a serious practical shift in whom environmental lawyers serve and the goals and methods of that legal work. At Yale, AJ has built lasting legal services partnerships between the school’s traditionally conservation-based environmental law clinic and community-based organizations doing racial equity work rooted in climate justice, organized fellow students to formally rewrite the mission and goals of the Yale Environmental Law Association, founded a new student group centered on anti-racist legal practices, advocated for his university’s formal divestment from fossil fuels, and pushed for climate justice practices within the legal industry as a board member of Law Students for Climate Accountability.
AJ received his B.A. from Columbia University with a Major in Psychology and Neuroscience and attained an M.A. in Science Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education during his career as a public school science teacher. He is also a 2019 alumnus of the Environmental Fellows Program at the University of Michigan. After law school, AJ is committed to a career serving low-income communities of color and fighting for a just transition approach to climate change at the local level.
Fellow at a Glance
Environmental Policy & Law