I asked the above question on Facebook and received an overwhelming response from my friends and family.
Thus, Black as Coal was born. One of my soul sister's suggested I use what is meant to be derogatory and dehumanizing, Black as Coal, a slur used toward black people with a darker hue, and embrace it, take away its power to destroy, and use it to build.
Because I am blackety, black, black, mind, body, and soul this is right up my alley.
I know you may ask, "what in the same hale does this have to do with Sustainability?"
Well, a lot. It is difficult navigating through this world that thrives on a white supremacist ideology.
If you are black and reading this, I do NOT have to regale all of the aggressions we have to endure just trying to live.
So imagine me, navigating all my super blackness in a field, a mission, a calling that has been so incredibly white washed it is not even funny. No really, it's not funny.
So here I am, Black as Coal, gleefully so, using a moniker that was meant to destroy to build a community.
Isn't that what we have always had to do as black people?
Take every bit of manure life throws at us and make something beautiful grow from it?
That's what my grandmother has done, my grandfather, my mother, my father, my ancestors, and their ancestors.
The strange fruit, still here, taking isht, yet, still building.
And it's certainly not lost on me that I am choosing this title in the sustainability space where coal should be frowned upon.
Being one of the blackest of faces in the whitest of spaces:
I live in San Diego, CA. One of the most diverse places to live.
We have every BIT of the melting pot in our fair city, county.
This is riDAYUMdiculous!
There are nearly ONE million Latinx community members who live in San Diego County?
Yet the first Latinx woman to be elected to the Board of Supervisors happened in 2020?
And we would like to call that progress? #HowSway
This city, this town, this county, is white as the whitest of white as it pertains to positions of leadership
and the sustainability space here is no different.
There are approximately 150,000 black folk in San Diego County.
Growing up in a city with over half a million black folk...
Yeah, I am the blackest of faces in the whitest of spaces, Black as Coal.
And even in a city with a half a million black people, we were still under-represented!
So I AM GREEN's Black as Coal will be a virtual community, our place.
A place where we are proud to be Black, Unapologetically!
A place we can...
and be safe.
As we work together, no matter what part of the world, whether you are the 5 other black people in my neck of the woods that work out in this sustainability space or in the middle of Burlington, VT!
This is the place for you, for us, to be Black as Coal,
To reclaim our birthright:
Clean Air, Clean Water, Clean Soil, & a Dope Azz Green Life!