Reclaiming My Voice

Authors: Jameelah Muhammad |Green For Fellow Candidate After several years of almost complete silence, I am writing my first blog post. In many ways I credit this renewed inspiration to my recent experiences as a 2010 Green for All Fellow candidate, conversations with my Fellowship Associate and trying to channel the wisdom from the Fellow’s Mentorship program. I think my silence has been fueling and preparing me for something I have yet articulated clearly to the world. This blog, in no way can completely convey the various shades of my personality or the full dimension of my work, but what I realized is that the tools and skills I am learning will help us all evolve into something incredibly powerful. I was inspired by a deep sense of urgency that suddenly hit me. I felt compelled to act, and obligated to make a better effort. What has been on my mind recently and what I have particularly been concerned about is the food crisis we have found ourselves in, and what this means for our bodies and the long-term health of the planet and future generations. I’ve been doing some interesting reading about the topic thanks to a recommendation to read Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do It Ourselves Guide from some friends and other fellows. What I found most refreshing about the book was its ability to provide practical solutions, great images and diagrams to cater to those who are best at visual learning, and as sense of honest voice and rhetoric that you don’t always find in such guides. I want to share a few thoughts and reflections in the spirit of this and a call to action that I found in this book. In October of last year I had the opportunity to be a facilitator for the Food, Faith, and Health Disparities Summit sponsored by NY Faith and Justice and other community organizations interested in food justice, including faith based institutions. After the event a speaker from the New York city council released a report called Food Works which details a plan for how to create a sustainable “food system” in New York City. I think both of these experiences provided me with a lot of insight into how different individuals, groups, and institutions view food justice issues. I came to the realization there were still a lot varying perspectives and when it came to creating action plans and strategies around building sustainable communities. The diversity of ideas presented seemed endless and overwhelming. Some might even argue that it is this exact fractional thinking that has created the way things are right now, but I would like to believe that it simply means that something dynamic is happening. It means that people are simultaneously advocating for the future that they want to see while actually beginning the first steps of creating what that future looks like. It might mean that people are presenting a lot of amazing ideas and solutions out into the world and what needs to happen next is a series of connections, and networks in order tie all of these actions together. One thing I know for certain, the debate about food, like my decision to immerse myself in the world of writing once again, is indeed rapidly evolving and to suggest that there is only one solution would be incredibly blind-sighted to some of the integrative possibilities when it comes to many of the other environmental issues that exist. Specifically related to energy and food, I’m currently exploring more detailed models and systems displaying the possibilities of how alternative energies impact food systems. So, I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to write this blog post, to unveil what I’ve been thinking, something inside of me told me that I had to do this, I had to overcome whatever was holding me back before and just make it happen. I realized that what is happening right now, related to our economy, related to the environment, related to our communities, is so much more important than my own personal inability to evolve. Today, I am simply sharing my thoughts and reflections; maybe tomorrow I will be sharing some locally grown food.

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