Greenpeace USA Announces Ebony Twilley Martin As New co-Executive Director
by Tyler Kruse
September 8, 2021
Greenpeace USA announced today that Ebony Twilley Martin will join Annie Leonard as co-executive director of the organization. With the appointment, Twilley Martin makes history as the first Black woman executive director of a national legacy environmental organization in the United States.
© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace
Washington, D.C.— Greenpeace USA announced today that Ebony Twilley Martin will join Annie Leonard as co-executive director of the organization. With the appointment, Twilley Martin makes history as the first Black woman executive director of a national legacy environmental organization in the United States.
Twilley Martin joined Greenpeace in 2013 and quickly established herself as a champion for justice and equity. As Chief Operating Officer, Twilley Martin overhauled the organization’s recruitment and compensation practices, instituted new policies against sexual harassment, and contributed to the hiring and promotion of the largest number of BIPOC managers and leaders in Greenpeace USA history.
Twilley Martin and Leonard will share the responsibility of managing all of Greenpeace’s U.S. operations. The Greenpeace USA Board of Directors established the new co-leadership model to create a more sustainable position that can better serve the organization’s employees, supporters, and the creation of a greener and more peaceful world.
“I am humbled and energized to join Annie in co-leading Greenpeace at such a pivotal time,” said Ebony Twilley Martin. “The environmental challenges we face are enormous–a point that Hurricane Ida has underscored when it slammed into Louisiana’s coast, a site of longstanding environmental health and justice struggles and now on the frontlines of the climate crisis. To address these intersecting crises, we have to build a strong and diverse organization, which is part of a diverse and strong movement. That’s what I am doing — what I want to be a part of. Annie and I believe that our multiracial shared leadership will model the change we wish to see in the movement and in the world. My priority is to make sure that Greenpeace is talking to people like me about why and how we have to act now on the climate, and making the world a safer, more equitable place for our children.”
“I am absolutely thrilled to partner with Ebony as co-Executive Directors at Greenpeace,” said Annie Leonard, who has led the organization since 2014. “I have worked closely with Ebony and seen first hand what a courageous and effective leader she is. Even though Greenpeace has achieved major environmental victories in the 50 years since our founding, it feels like that was simply a warm-up for what we must do now. The climate crisis is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced, and Greenpeace needs to be in top fighting form to take it on. Ebony and I have already accomplished much together working as ED and COO, and taking our partnership to the next level of fully shared power as Co-Directors, is exactly what Greenpeace needs right now to meet the moment.”
“This is huge not only for Greenpeace, but for the wider environmental and climate justice movement,” said Niria Alicia Garcia, Board member of both Greenpeace Inc. and Green 2.0, a watchdog organization focused on racial diversity in environmental groups. “I hope it will inspire other environmental organizations to open the floodgates for thousands of more women of color environmental leaders to step into their rightful place. Our children need to see women of color leading on issues that primarily impact communities of color. It’s not just about representation, but about the elevation of women of color into positions where their power–power like Ebony’s–can be amplified for the healing of Mother Earth and humanity.”
Twilley Martin brings 13 years of recruitment and leadership experience to the position. Before she was COO, Twilley Martin was Greenpeace’s first Black woman Chief Officer of People and Culture. She also served as Senior Talent Acquisition Manager and Director of Human Resources for the organization, both in 2014. During Twilley Martin’s tenure, she stood shoulder to shoulder with BIPOC communities and organizers such as Ben Jealous, Rev. Dr. William Barber II, the co-founders of Black Voters Matter Fund, and others to fight for voter rights and an economy that works for people, not polluters.
Her entry into environmental activism started after her first son developed asthma. At the time, the two lived across from a major highway in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Her son’s pediatrician identified environmental pollution as a key culprit in his condition, and through research she found that the problem disproportionately affected Black children. Now, Twilley Martin devotes her efforts at Greenpeace to building a safer, more green world for her children and others all across the globe.
Twilley Martin earned a bachelor’s degree at Immaculata University and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland University College.
Greenpeace is a global network of independent campaigning organizations that use peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. This year, as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary, Greenpeace USA is committed to rebuilding the country’s unjust social, environmental, and economic systems from the ground up to address the climate crisis, advance racial justice, and build an economy that puts people first. Learn more at www.Greenpeace.org.
Photos of Ebony can be found in the Greenpeace media library
Contact: Jestin Patton