Past Event

Re-thinking Environmental Justice

Join Coya Paz, director of Unnatural Spaces (a recent production about environmental justice), at this intimate discussion exploring the complexity of environmental choices and injustices in the context of every day urban life.

From “Unnatural Spaces is here” by Coya Paz

“Before I started working on Unnatural Spaces, I thought ‘environmentalism’ was about recycling, about maybe riding my bike to work. Now, when I think about ‘the environment,’ I think about the relationship between toxic metal syndrome and violence in Chicago. I think about the relationship between lead poisoning and school test scores. I think about the relationship between food additives, poverty, and lowered life expectancy. I think about the way that our culture produces not only disposable products, but disposable people – large chunks of the population who are consistently on the front lines of toxic waste.”

Questions for Consideration
Why do our environmental choices matter? What is the connection between our environment and our quality of life in terms of health, education and safety in our communities? How does a society that produces an overwhelming amount of disposable products also contribute to the sense that people are disposable too?

Want to learn more?


Coya Paz is a poet, director, and lip gloss connoisseur who was raised in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil before moving permanently to the United States in 1987. Coya is a proud co-founder of Proyecto Latina and the director in residence for the Poetry Performance Incubator at the Guild Complex. She is an Assistant Professor in The Theatre School at DePaul University, and holds a PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University.  Coya is a regular commentator on race, media and pop culture for (89.5) and has published several articles on Latina performance, Latina/o identities, and public violence. Coya was named one of UR Magazine’s 30 Under 30 (when she was under 30!), a GO-NYC Magazine 100 Women We Love, and received a Trailblazer Award for her service to LGBTQ communities. Most recently, she has been awarded 3Arts Residency at Ragdale. Above all, she believes in the power of performance and poetry to build community towards social change. 

Free and open to the public. For more information please call 312.422.5580. 

If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580. For parking locations near the facility, please visit