Pages tagged "green the block"

A Force For Good

Authors: Tina Fakhrid-Deen Originally posted on Moms Clean Air Force When my friend Amy asked me if I'd be interested in writing for a mom's blog about clean air, my first reply was, "No, thanks. It's not my thing." Ironically, I think of myself as an activist, mother and nature lover, but being an advocate for environmental issues seemed like it fell outside of my cultural and everyday experiences. Yes, there are many black environmental activists such as Green for All's Van Jones, MacArthur "genius' grant winning Majora Carter, and Blacks in Green's fearless leader, Naomi Davis. They are visible, fierce and trailblazing. However, being a teacher from the inner city, the advocacy issues I deemed critical and immediate were around bullying, youth violence, poverty, school dropouts, and low literacy rates. In my mind, that was more than enough for me to chew on without adding another demanding issue to my plate. I marinated on this opportunity for weeks and it gave me a chance to pay more attention to my surroundings and process my thoughts. I had a girl's road trip planned and flew into Kentucky to meet my road dogs. We left the airport in our rental car and stopped to get something to eat. As I exited the car, I recall me breathing deeply outside of the Waffle House and commenting on how nice the air was in this open stretch of land. It was interesting that my body would notice and immediately begin taking deeper, longer breaths. It's sad, but clean air is a bit of a luxury to me. I've grown to expect it on nice vacations and trips down south, but not in my everyday life. Not only do I live in a city with too much congestion, I also grew up with a chain-smoking parent who refused to crack a window to let the smoke out, despite my complaints about secondhand smoke. Some would say that I'm lucky to have a healthy pair of lungs, but my father isn't so fortunate. He now has respiratory issues so profound that he must sleep with an oxygen mask. Several of my students have respiratory problems as well. I work at a high school and our students must walk up three flights of stairs. It's sad that so many of them, primarily African-American and Latino, can't accomplish this simple act due to chronic asthma problems. Several of them have had asthma attacks at the school. With all of the pollution in Chicago and power plants on Chicago's Southside, I imagine that many of these attacks are due to environmental triggers. There are two nearby coal-fired power plants, the Fisk plant and the Crawford plant, which have been under constant pressure by local activists to close due to their close proximity to residents and dangerous emissions. As of this week, both plants have finally agreed to close within the next two years. This is because regular people decided to speak up and demand more for our community and our children. Hopefully, I can become one of these brazen green souls who cares just as much about toxic air as I do about the toxic behaviors in our community because they are both killing us. A recent CBS article reported that in Chicago, the rate of hospitalization for asthma is twice as high as the national average and that African-Americans and Latinos are 4-6 times more likely to die from asthma than the overall population. Disproportionate is an understatement. This trend towards respiratory disease in our communities is an epidemic and should be treated as such. Please join me and countless other moms to fight for our children and their right to clean air. It's time for me to be a green force for good, so I'm standing in this fight with Moms Clean Air Force. Now who's with me? Tina Fakhrid-Deen is a writer, performer, activist, and high school drama and English teacher. She is the author of Let's Get This Straight: The Ultimate Handbook for Youth with LGBTQ Parents. Her stories, insights and essays have been featured in publications such as Scott Foresman, the Not for Tourists Guide to Chicago, Without A Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class, Sometimes Rhythm, Sometimes Blues: Young African-Americans on Love, Relationships, Sex, and the Search for Mr. Right, My Soul to His Spirit: Soulful Expressions From Black Daughters To Their Fathers, Homegirls Make Some Noise: Hip-Hop Feminism Anthology, and Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is. She resides in Chicago, IL with her family. You can connect with Tina at her website

And the Keep It Fresh Winners Are...

Authors: Green The Block Thank you to everyone who participated in the Keep It Fresh education campaign for healthy food! After a month of videos, trivia questions, music shows, and recipes for change, we're bringing our love for healthy food for all into the holidays! null The winners of the contest are...
  • The hip-hop community for being a strong voice for healthy food for all communities, including artists like Jadakiss, Dead Prez, Prodigy, and of course DJ CaveM... among so many others!
  • Young people and college students across the nation who are holding it down on their campuses and in their communities, creating solutions and demanding our generation's right to real food.
  • Everyone who answered trivia questions on topics ranging from food deserts and health effects of junk food, to farmworker discrimination and industrial agriculture.
  • Rhonda Anderson, LaNiece Ford & Asia Rodgers who won the trivia contest sweepstakes of $200 of groceries to local grocery stores like Harvest Market, Vitamin Cottage, and Rainbow Grocery.
  • Folks who shared a Recipe for Change, by posting ideas on the wall about how to increase access to fresh food in your communities. Change always starts with a powerful idea!
  • Dana Frasz from Oakland, CA, who received a solar backpack & iPod shuffle for getting the most Likes for herRecipe for Change, “Food Shift.” Check out her awesome blog post about her project here: Hungry for Change.
Anyone who shared the page or a video with a friend - even a small dose of education goes a long way! Big props to all the winners - that means all of us who care about healthy food! Check out some of the creative solutions that folks posted on the Keep It Fresh wall:
  • Fresh fruit stands & healthy snack machines on campus with a wide selection of fruits at an affordable price! Students love fruits, they just need it to be available and affordable!
  • Public school board can link up with local CSA (community supported agriculture) programs to provide breakfast/lunch to students once a week.
  • Start community gardens in empty lots in the city!
  • Food Shift – a recycling program for food! Collect good food that would go to waste and deliver it to low-income and food insecure populations. Include a job-training program for unemployed people receiving the food to get jobs distributing the food in their community!
These were just a few of the 30+ ideas that were posted on the wall! Feeling inspired? It's time to move these ideas into action to transform the food system in your community or on your campus. Check out these resources to help you get started (scroll down to Food Resources). Or reach out to Seema, Green For All's Organizer, via email. Stay tuned for our next campaign! Until then….Keep It Fresh.

Tell Us A Story From Your Block

Authors: Julian Mocine-McQueen, Campaign and Partnerships Manager Green The Block needs your help! Air pollution is an issue that affects all of us, and we want you to help us tell it. Throughout the fall, we'll be asking you to help paint the picture of the environmental and health issues arising from pollution by telling us the story of what you, your neighbors, or your community is doing about them. You can email us your story (and pictures, if any), or post a video on YouTube and send us the link. But the easiest way to is submit your story through our online form. We'll highlight your stories on the Green The Block blog and with media partners! As we collect stories from your block, we will continue to develop our fall resources and share back ideas about how you can engage your community about air quality, and look at what actions you can organize and what steps you can take to be a leader on this critical issue. Let's take action now to ensure that we can all breathe clean and fresh air!

Take action this fall to breathe easy!

Authors: Julian Mocine-McQueen, Campaign and Partnerships Manager

We're still hanging on to the last few summer days, but Green The Block is ready to get back to it with our Fall Theme: Get Smart - Act Now, Breathe Later! In the coming months we will be taking a look at the air we breathe and how we can work to ensure that it is clean and safe. We've been getting some cool resources together to help each of you work with your community to cut down on carbon emissions, and make sure our blocks are green and our air is fresh!

Join us for our NATIONAL ORGANIZERS CALL on September 1st at 10am PST/1pm EST!

We will review our fall resources and share ideas about how you can engage your community about air quality, and look at what actions you can organize and what steps you can take to be a leader on this critical issue.

Please RSVP for the call with Julian (

We'll be taking action now to ensure that we can all breathe clean and fresh air!

Green the Block National Day of Service and Remembrance

Authors: yvonne Crossposted from Green the Block. On September 11, 2009 just over one-hundred Green the Block service events happened in 24 states. Green the Block partners joined together with their neighbors in various activities, including: community clean-ups in Brooklyn; green retrofitting of a 90-year-old community center in Chattanooga, Tennessee; and elementary students delivering cards made from recycled materials to the troops at Walter Reed U.S. Army Medical Center. The Green the Block events were in association with President Obama's United We Serve initiative for a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Green For All CEO, and Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., Hip hop Caucus President and CEO, co-authored "This 9/11, Urban Communities Remember and Serve," discussing the power and inspiration that this day represented. See some of the stories below, and check out more at the Green the Block blog. Nappy Roots and Gov Beshear come together to Green the Block in KY You know there is something different going on when in the great state of Kentucky, Gov Steve Beshear and the Nappy Roots are out together in Bowling Green on September 11 to remember and honor the victims of the 2001 attacks, and to look to acts of community service that promote Green Jobs as the imperative for a better future for this country. Green the Block in Washington DC Green the Block took shape in a few different ways in Washington, DC on 9/11. Early in the morning elementary students delivered cards for our injured troops at Walter Reed. Over at Ballou Senior High, seniors participated in a day-long educational and planning session to develop green projects to carry out and complete this semester. Later in the afternoon the National Wildlife Foundation worked with students at Martin Luther King Jr Elementary School to plant an urban garden. Greening the Block, Oakland Style In commemoration of 9-11, and in honor of First Lady Michelle Obama's "United We Serve" national day of service, Art in Action's CommuniTree Project organized a garden planting day behind our new green youth media center on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland, CA. The action was coordinated with hundreds of others in concert with the launch of "Green the Block," a new program of Green For All and the Hip Hop Caucus.

This 9/11, Urban Communities Remember and Serve

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins and Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.

Crossposted from the Huffington Post.

This September 11th, communities are honoring those who lost their lives eight years ago by participating in service activities. Churches, schools, and community groups are holding nearly one-hundred Green the Block service events in more than 24 states.

All across the nation, people are choosing to act on encouragement instead of discouragement, on hope instead of despair.

Both of us are often asked to speak for those who have no voice, and to remind others of those who are often forgotten. We are asked to respond to the frustrations of our communities and fulfill the aspirations of those who are seeking better lives. Yet we are constantly humbled by those who we strive to serve.

To see people from all walks of life take up service as a way to remember the tragedy of 9/11 is beauty from ashes. It is also part of the solution that will put our nation on the road to recovery, permanently.

We just read about a handful of the events that are going on today, and imagine if everyday this was happening in every city all over the country...

In Brooklyn, one-hundred high school students are helping to green their community through urban gardening.

In Florida, local cooks are preparing an organic meal for their firefighters, to show gratitude and educate their community about healthy eating.

In Chicago, volunteers are cleaning and greening two community homeless shelters.

In Washington, D.C., elementary school students are delivering cards made from recycled materials to the troops at Walter Reed U.S. Army Medical Center.

In Atlanta, hundreds of light-bulbs will be exchanged for energy efficient ones.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee a ninety-year-old community center will get a green retrofit.

In Bakersfield, California local leaders will provide at-risk young men with jobs training.

After today's nearly one-hundred Green the Block events are completed, we will continue to promote building stronger communities through service and the Green the Block campaign.

Join us today and everyday hereafter in working for peace and prosperity for everyone, because it is in the daily struggle for a brighter future that we truly remember and honor those who died on 9/11.

This September 11 - Serve your community

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

This Friday, September 11th, Americans of all backgrounds are coming together to strengthen and serve their communities.

Join a Green The Block Service and Remembrance Event near you!

Find an event near you.

Green The Block, a new campaign from Green For All and the Hip Hop Caucus, is pairing with President Obama's United We Serve initiative for a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

There are nearly 100 Green The Block events across the country, organized by churches, schools, and community groups.

In Florida, four cooks are preparing an organic meal for local firefighters, to show gratitude and educate the community about healthy eating.

In Brooklyn, New York, high school students are taking the day to green their community through urban gardening.

Find out what is happening near you. RSVP for an event. It's easy.

Please join us and be part of a national effort to create equality, opportunity and a sustainable future for all. These are the highest American ideals, and these are the promise of a clean energy economy.

On September 11th, we'll honor our past and work together towards a better, greener future.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins
Chief Executive Officer
Green For All

Our New Campaign Unveiled at the White House!

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

I'm thrilled to announce Green the Block, a new campaign from Green For All and the Hip Hop Caucus.

Green the Block will engage and mobilize low-income communities and communities of color to participate in the benefits of the clean-energy economy.

To successfully combat poverty and pollution, we need a vibrant, popular movement for change. We need a clean energy economy rooted in the values of shared prosperity and opportunity for all. That's what Green the Block is all about.

This morning, we unveiled the campaign at the White House with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and Department of Energy Under Secretary Kristina Johnson. See photos from the event here and read our press release here.

Green the Block's first milestone will be on the National Day of Service - September 11th - when we will organize Green the Block service events around the country in coordination with the President's initiative, United We Serve.

Learn more and register an event for September 11th:

Green the Block is a call to action. A call to service. A call to get involved and reclaim our future.

Please join us.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins
Chief Executive Officer
Green For All