Valerie Vande Panne is an essayist and an award-winning reporter. She is the environmental reporter for the NPR and PBS affiliate WGCU in Southwest Florida, a contributor to Native News Online, and the U.S. correspondent for Virtual Unreality, airing weekly on 2RRR 88.5 in Sydney, Australia. She is also a contributor to Next City and an Equitable Cities Fellow.
Ms. Vande Panne’s work has been featured in Bloomberg, the Boston Phoenix, Columbia Journalism Review, Harvard Gazette, Harvard Law Today, In These Times, Politico, Reuters, and Salon, among many other publications. She has also contributed to The New York Times. And she’s been published en español e portugues.
Ms. Vande Panne is a former Editor in Chief of Detroit’s alt-weekly, the Metro Times, and a former News Editor of High Times magazine.
She has also appeared on National Lampoon’s The Final Edition, as both script writer and voice.
Ms. Vande Panne spent many years in the non-profit sector, working on drug policy reform. She coordinated VIP fundraisers for the Marijuana Policy Project. She was a founding board member of Flex Your Rights, an organization devoted to educating Americans on how to exercise their 4th Amendment rights. She is also a former non-student board member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the world’s largest student organization devoted to ending drug prohibition. And she is the founder and former director of Blackbird Literacy, a volunteer-run group distributing books to Detroit residents.
Ms. Vande Panne facilitated the first-ever global summit on ending the drug war, “Saliendo de las Sombras,” held in Mérida, Mexico in 2003. She has served as a non-attorney member of the Drugs and the Law committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. She also managed the campaign office of Robert Morgenthau’s successful, final run for re-election as New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney.
She was a bartender at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, and The Knitting Factory and Siberia in New York City.
Ms. Vande Panne did not graduate from high school. She received her high school equivalency diploma from the State of New York in 2008 and attended Harvard University. She is of mixed-race ancestry: Mexican, Native American (unenrolled Apache, Comanche, Hopi, and Zuni), and White (including French-Canadian).
She travels extensively throughout the Americas.