VIDEO: Zakiya Harris Grinds for the Green

Authors: Green For All

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As a hip hop artist, mother, educator, and community activist, Green For All Fellow Zakiya Harris is constantly developing new ways to reconnect our communities to our legacy as stewards of earth.

Zakiya is the Executive Director of Oakland-based Grind for the Green, an organization dedicated to moving youth of color from the margins of the environmental movement to its center. Grind for the Green's youth-driven efforts are centered in hip hop culture, and include everything from workshops and internships to solar-powered concerts and, most recently, a new campaign called Get Fresh.

Described as "the hip hop generation's official guide to the green movement," Get Fresh launched on August 14 at Oakland's Mosswood Park. The launch party featured some of Oakland’s finest MCs, including Green For All Fellow Ashel Eldridge (aka Sesunz), Mr. FAB, and Boots Riley from the Coup.

As our youth face rising unemployment and increasing environmental degradation, Zakiya thinks that the green movement must honor their experience by making viable jobs and relevant cultural expression fundamental to their involvement. To truly put these young people at the center of environmentalism, the movement must also recognize that the problems in our social environment — like police brutality and other forms of violence in our communities — are just as important as, and fundamentally inseparable from, the problems in our physical environment.

This month, Green For All honors Zakiya Harris for being a shining example of how, in her own words, "people of color are redefining and remixing this work and this movement in a way that is engaging, in a way that completely based in solutions, and in a way that is based in inspiration."

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