Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Activism

There wasn't a moment. I didn't have a moment when I knew this was what I wanted to do. I didn't have a coming to Jesus inspirational event that changed who I was as a person. I don't really remember being any different than I am now. I'm just a little more well adjusted and able to interact with a wider range of people.

I held meetings with friends on how we could clean up the parks, what books we should read, why and how we can conserve water. I pretended I was a teacher and sat in the tree in my front yard teaching English and discussing the civil rights and women's movement. I was odd. I was a very odd child. But that's just what I was. Many would say I still am.

I am an activist. I haven't considered myself an activist for as long as I have been one, mostly because I didn't know what it was called that I did and believed. But now I know, I am an activist. I get angry when I see children being disrespectful in public and I tell them so. I even tell them to show respect for themselves and pull up their pants. I read articles and books that keep me knowledgeable on the world's ills and for the past two years I have worked for an international organization that is known for hanging banners and boarding ships full of illegally cut rainforest. I have crossed borders to document internally displaced communities and made dinner for recently released political prisoners. I have spent nights in refugee camps and sang songs with orphans. I do not identify with many of the kids that scream about their activism while smashing windows and setting fires and refusing to listen why people have made the decisions that they have made. I moved to DC to be closer to political change and though it has taken me close to 6 years to enjoy this city, I finally do.

I started the work I did by becoming outraged by international human rights situations and seeing injustice in Southern Louisiana, mostly pontificated by my own family. I am now an environmental justice activist. Technically an environmental justice organizer, though my first day isn't until March 24.

I will be helping communities reclaim their communities from the chemical industry.

I will be working with communities in New Jersey, Maryland and Florida who want to eliminate toxic chemicals in the areas that their children live, play and learn. And I feel very privileged for being able to do it.

I hope for this space to be a spot where I can talk about how communities are winning against environmental injustice.

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