As a parent, Earth Day is a chance to bring out the environmentalist in my kids. I love all the people caring for the earth, improving their individual habits, and drawing special attention to the interconnectedness of humankind and the world we live in. This is also a day that perpetuates the misconception that communities of color aren’t engaged in environmental issues. For the record, folks of color do care about the environment, and are critical spokespeople on climate change and the health impacts precisely because as a community we are disproportionately affected here in the US and globally.
Check out my full post on BlueOregon.com
I love the vibrant spring and great opportunities to be out in the community. Several community organizers have started Umajaa Farm Project, and are selling garden starts and seeds Sat Apr 21 starting at 930am at the beautiful June Key Delta Community Center, built on a reclaimed brownfield across from Peninsula Rose Gardens. Amazing intersections of food sustainability, green building and Black/African-diaspora activism.
I’m also hoping to check out the Love & Struggle NW Tour that comes to the Reflections Cafe (446 NE Killingsworth) on Sun Apr 29 3pm to hear local organizers Walidah Imarisha and Mic Crenshew discuss the 60′s, Weatherman, SDS along with author Terry Bisson. These events really surface our shared history of resistance and how we continue to bless the world with vision and social change.
Check it out, one of the most wonderful weeks of truly engaging and honestly authentic community advocates are being brought together by the Bus Project for a damn fun, critically real and pretty inspirational Festival of Democracy. Something for everyone, from newbies looking to educate themselves about the upcoming elections to seasoned vets seeking something new in their toolbox. Rebooting Democracy runs through Sunday April 22nd.
I’ll be a part of Sunday’s workshop The Equity Equation: Working to Solve Oregon’s Racial Disparities, along with Kalpana Krishnamurthy of Western States Center and the Oregon Racial Equity Report Card. Shout out to all the great APANO volunteers helping out, and the continued effort of the organizers to prioritize the issues of communities of color and communities experiencing inequities.
Tomorrow at PCC Cascade around 6pm, Winona LaDuke is speaking to kick off Earth Week in Portland. She was one of the first keynote speakers for the Coalition Against Environmental Racism (CAER) conference I co-organized in the early 90′s.
It made me reflect on several other meetings of great activists. I spoke on a panel last week at Portland State about community partnerships for the Social Determinants of Health symposium alongside Bob Bullard (a grandfather of Environmental Justice), another CAER keynoter. And just a few weeks earlier was at the South Los Angeles Library for a Labor/Strategy Center discussion with Fred Ho whose book on Afro-Asian relations is a must read for community organizers. (nudge to www.bigwowo.com for a place to talk more about this?)
I have been marveling at the influence of children. In my moments of high intensity, even anxious grumpiness, I find the sound and sight of my kids calming. It is like they are a source of peace. There will be times when I feel the swell of snapping at them, and sometimes I do, but moreover, I notice the feeling of love and gentleness the closer I come to them, hearing their voices, holding their small hand.