Benjamin Jealous to lead the Sierra Club

Benjamin Jealous has been named the seventh executive director of the Oakland, California, Sierra Club.

He took over the Sierra Club, whose founder, John Muir, disliked Black people. He took over the Sierra Club, whose founder, John Muir, disliked Black people. 

Jealous replaced Michael Brune on August 13, weeks before the Sierra Club’s executive director announced his resignation.

Brune stepped down following a scathing report in which one woman volunteer claimed the director raped her.

A report from an outside consulting firm detailed widespread cultural problems at the 129-year-old environmental organization, citing workplace discrimination and harassment, such as organizational protection of abusive senior staff and volunteers.

Allegations prompted the investigation leading to a Sierra Club staff member’s June 2021 report in the summer of 2020 that they were raped by a “celebrated former employee and then-current Volunteer Leader.†Still, it was broadened out into what the 24-page executive summary of the report refers to as a “Restorative Accountability Process.â€

From 2008 to 2013, Jealous led the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. He was its youngest member.

He graduated from Columbia University and earned a master’s degree from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

Jealous lives in a bird sanctuary on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. 

Ramón Cruz is the president of the Sierra Club and an environmental policy and advocacy expert.