Zoraya Hightower

Executive Director
Zoraya Hightower
Zoraya Hightower
she/her
Executive Director

I am excited to have joined the Peace & Justice Center as Executive Director in May 2021 while also serving as a City Councilor in Burlington. I have been working on environmental issues across the globe for over ten years, including diverse issues and geographies from renewable energy finance in Kosovo and water access in Tanzania to fishery sustainability in the Philippines and community forest conservation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I completed bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Environmental Policy from the University of Tulsa, and I moved to Vermont in March of 2016 after completing a master’s degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Environment. With a strong environmental justice background, I have increasingly focused on economic and social justice, including police funding reallocation to support alternatives, and curbing no-cause evictions across Vermont. I am also a trained facilitator and use Technology of Participation approaches for consensus-building and action planning.

The Peace & Justice Center is an excellent place to bring my skills and passion to Vermont and to economic and social justice work and I am thrilled to be here! I approach my work with an understanding of intersectionality and bring my own identities as a queer, multi-racial woman who grew up low-income in rural Oklahoma as well as a now middle-income, light-skinned, thin and able-bodied, Ivy-educated, cis-gendered, straight-passing person. Although I came to Vermont for work, I stayed for the outdoors and am an avid road and bike-packing biker, runner, hiker, swimmer, and skier who dabbles in snowboarding, mountain biking, and kiteboarding.

Reach out with any questions or thoughts and come visit us at the Peace & Justice Center! You can find me at zoraya(at)pjcvt(dot)org, by calling the center at 802-863-2345, or by visiting us 60 Lake Street in Burlington!