No. 043: Black Futures Month
Resma Menakem / Soul Fire Farm / Justice for Black Farmers Act / Nature and Belonging / Ohio Train Derailment / Kahramanmaras Earthquake / Teaching Indigenous Food Ways + more
Good morning Regenerative School community!
Black History and Black Futures Month is dedicated to recognizing and honoring the contributions and achievements of those with African or Caribbean heritage. This month provides an important opportunity to reflect on inclusion, confront racism, and forge a future of harmony and belonging for all.
The trauma racism causes needs to be acknowledged and repaired, confronted and healed: the trauma in both Black and white bodies.
Resma Menakem talks extensively about white body supremacy in his incredible workbook, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies. Menakem breaks down the embodied trauma response of intergenerational, oppressive race-based biases. (There is also a fantastic 2020 conversation covered by the On Being with Krista Tippett podcast titled “Notice the Rage; Notice the Silence.” ) Regardless of how you identify and where you live, delving into Menakem’s teachings are vitally important.
We cannot move forward in celebrating Blackness until we address our wounds, until we address our biases—learned and inherited, unconscious and all. Black History and Black Futures Month is a reminder for the ongoing work of dismantling racism and elevating the well-being and equality of Black people.
The modern Environmental Justice Movement would not be what it is today if it were not for the African Americans who helped to shape it. Feminism, Regenerative agriculture, LGBTQIA+ rights, intersectionalism, so much would not exist without Black culture, Black experience, and Black wisdom.
“Ecological humility is part of the cultural heritage of Black people.” In Soul Fire Farm’s new book Black Earth Wisdom: Soulful Conversations with Black Environmentalists, Leah Penniman weaves together the voices of today’s most respected Black environmentalists on the lessons learned from contemporaries, ancestors, and the earth.
We hope that this month, we all take the opportunity to take an active step forward to ensure equity and uproot racism within our society and systems. Read. Listen. Support. Act. Repeat.
Keep scrolling for more.
This February, we have so many transformative offerings online and in development!
Our three-part Nature and Belonging series is LIVE ONLINE for only one more week! With the transformative knowledge of Empower with Nature‘s Maya Galimidi, we ground and re-build connection to place. We explore diverse concepts and use phenomenological techniques to engage our senses and heighten our levels of observation. Through a deepened understanding of ecopsychology and the “ecological self” we reconnect to place and purpose. Consider this class a personal invitation to ROOT: within yourself, and wherever you are. Gift yourself this new perspective for February. This is a great class if you just moved to a new place, or if you have lived in the same region your whole life! How do you engage with Nature? What does place mean? Click here to learn more.
Save the date and watch this space! Traverse the island of Puerto Rico and its diverse landscape on this immersive service learning trip. We will work with ISER Caribe, an incredible organization whose vision is to "promote healthy and sustainable livelihoods by endorsing a model that is economically viable and oriented towards the preservation of the environment and the empowerment of the local people'' (ISER). We will follow ISER’s lead as we engage with the environment and community service learning, as they have incredible connections throughout the island community. Education coupled with relaxation will facilitate deeper learning and reflection. We will visit important sites like the Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center, engage with critical communities such as the Cabo Rojo homesteaders, and admire the island's natural beauty from rainforests to bioluminescent bays. Trip dates: August 2-12, 2023.
Interested in embodied curiosity? Theologian and researcher Sara Jolena Walcott, founder of Sequoia Samanvaya, works at the cutting edge of this feeling in our three-part course “ReMembering the Origins of Climate Change.” This course is foundational to understanding and uncoding our destructive aspects of our culture; to individual, collective, and ecological healing. “ReMembering” delves into histories oft left dis-membered. It is personal, spiritual, momentous, and many find it immensely grounding, preparing us for integrated approaches to our climate-changed world. Click here to sign up.
“The Great Land Robbery” by Vann R. Newkirk II for The Atlantic. This important 2019 feature tells the story of one multi-generational family of Black farmers to illustrate how racist policy and actions forced one million Black families off of their land over decades through legal and illegal means. We read this back when it was published and often revisit it. Click here to read.
The Justice for Black Farmers Act (JBFA)was recently re-introduced to congress to end discrimination within the USDA, provide land grants to create a new generation of Black farmers, restore the land base that has been lost, and implement systemic reforms to help family farmers across the United States. “Make Farmers Black Again: African Americans Fight Discrimination To Own Farmland” is a 2020 read by Jillian Forstadt for NPR exploring systemic structures that lead to land dispossession and the fight to make farmers Black again. To read more about the JBFA click here.
Molly Taft’s “The Ohio Train Derailment Is a Disaster of Misinformation” for Earther explores the multi-layered danger of the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The most recent issue of Drilled News, “The Plastic Train Wreck Should Be a Wake-Up Call” by Amy Westervelt, also explores the implicated health and environmental fears and effects (Drilled News is a fantastic weekly newsletter we look forward to every Friday).
“Soul Fire Farm: Revolution is Based on Land” by Khalila Douze for Atmos is a beautiful profile on one of our favorite afro-indigenous organizations. Click here for an incredible interview between Atmos and Soul Fire Farm’s business manager, Azuré Keahi, and education coordinator, Danielle Peláez.
We are still thinking about the devastating Kahramanmaras earthquake and all those affected. If you are curious about donating to relief efforts please see our instagram post for important background and local Turkish community organizations. Every dollar counts. Thank you for your support.A post shared by Rē : The Regenerative School (@theregenerativeschool)
If you are interested in specifically learning about food assistance and recovery following the deadly earthquake, click here for an outline from the folks at Food Tank.
In Civil Eats’ “Indigenous Foodways Are the Focus in a Growing Number of Classrooms,” Renata Birkenbuel explores how educators are incorporating Indigenous knowledge and cultural practices into the curriculum, and the potential for this approach to support community health and resilience. Click here to learn more.
What have you been reading? What have you been listening to? Write to us at email@example.com and let us know.
Thank you and see you soon!
Adar and the Rē Team