Building a National Movement of Local Leaders: The Green For All Academy

Authors: Rosa González, Education Director Green For All's latest Academy training ushered in our 5th cohort of Fellows and serves as a beautiful example of what we mean when we say, 'movement-building.' Twenty-two local leaders from around the country showed up with passion, humility, powerful stories of struggle and resilience, and the determination to make health and prosperity a reality for all. Coming from fourteen different states our current Fellow Candidates showed us that the dream of all Americans having the opportunity to live in healthy communities and contribute to a thriving economy is alive and well. Members of this cohort are engaged in a wide range of activities from building viable local food economies to helping their cities double recycling rates and create good green jobs for the people who need them most. To support the critical work of local leaders and connect it to the larger movement, Green For All Academies seek to create a transformative platform integrating practical skills and tools such as power building analysis, the use of personal narrative for effective messaging, campaign planning, and a phenomenal environmental literacy curriculum for Fellow Candidates to take back to their communities.

In an effort to build out our national network of Fellows, Green For All Academies are grounded in the power of peer learning and collaboration. Four Fellows from classes 1, 3 and 4 sat on a cutting edge panel representing what the innovation of a growing green economy looks like: Dave Room (of Bay Localize and BALANCE Edutainment in Oakland CA) spoke on the power of coalition building to move critical policy objectives at the local and state levels. Zoe Hollomon (of the Massachusetts Avenue Project in Buffalo NY) shared the model they have developed to support young people to lead the food justice movement as entrepreneurs and policy-advocates. Patrick Brown (of Deluxe Consulting and the Roots of Success Environmental Literacy Curriculum Project in Oakland CA) shared insights on the critical role that workforce development and eco-literacy play in preparing our constituents to participate in the green economy. And Naomi Davis (of Blacks in Green in Chicago IL) inspired the group with a presentation on how she is applying the theory of Grannynomics and the 8 principles of village-building to participatory community development in Black communities. All Fellow Candidates were also trained and credentialed to teach the Roots of Success Environmental Literacy Curriculum, a core component of our Academy program! With a keynote address by Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, a workshop on the principles of effective messaging by Jakada Imani, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and lots of time for interactive dialogue, the 5th Academy training prepared and inspired us all to help build a movement for an America where no one has to choose between economic stability and a healthy environment.

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