Skip to Content

Charles Ellison

Emerson Collective Fellowship

Covering the intersection of the environment and racism.

Headshot of Charles Ellison

Formerly a political strategist who had worked for mayors, state legislators, and members of Congress, Charles Ellison’s radio career started on SiriusXM’s “POTUS Channel” as host of the show, “Black Policy.” Years later, that experience morphed into “Reality Check,” a daily, public-affairs broadcast that highlights political and policy issues vital to Black communities in Philadelphia and elsewhere, on WURD, Pennsylvania’s only Black-owned talk-radio station. 

Ellison also runs ecoWURD, the first Black-owned media outlet dedicated to coverage of environmental and climate issues. In addition, he’s lead adviser to the Council of State Governments (East) Council on Communities of Color. He's also principal of B|E Strategy, and publisher of

As an Emerson Collective Fellow, Ellison will expand ecoWURD, centering Black voices in discussions on the climate crisis, and placing those persons in positions to lead green-economy growth and other issues. Black communities could play a critical leadership role in climate response, but their voices seem largely absent from those conversations.

During the fellowship, Ellison will partner with local media outlets, historically black colleges or universities, and respected community leaders to strengthen campaigns that prioritize environmental issues among “grasstops” and grassroots Black audiences. There will be emphasis on the advancement of place-based strategies that address specific struggles in local communities, while building a national audience. The ecoWURD platform will foster discourse on political, electoral, and protest strategies—thereby, shaping and influencing climate policy at local, state, and national levels.