The celebration of Black History Month calls for us to reflect on how experiences and history for Black liberation have shaped our present and future. To highlight the invaluable groundwork Black individuals have laid for the environmental and climate movement, each week this month CleanAIRE NC will be highlighting Black leaders at the intersections of environmental justice, climate change, food justice, outdoor recreation, sustainability, and more.
Black excellence should be celebrated every day. We hope that elevating these voices and their work can guide us all as public servants in our mission to support a healthy environment for all.
Eboné Lockett: Tackling Food Insecurity
by Daisha Williams
“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits”
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Racial justice is integral in the fight to end hunger and food insecurity. It’s an unfortunate truth that Black individuals and Black communities face greater risk of food insecurity, and the health disparities that accompany it, than others. This inequity in access to healthy food is attributed to a long history of discriminatory red-lining, lack of access to nutritional resources, intentional racism, and many other factors.
Eboné Lockett, CEO and Founder of Harvesting Humanity, is tackling the root causes of these persistent inequalities through her organization’s fight to end hunger. This work is firmly grounded in a historical foundation of environmentalism, with the organization’s self-described reverence for an “indigenous understanding that our existence is inextricably linked to one another and to the very natural and built environments that nurture and sustain us”. In this context Harvesting Humanity elevates a racially inclusive narrative in hopes of contributing to a much more racially just foundation for food security and sovereignty.
Harvesting Humanity also hosts numerous service-learning experiences to amplify the impact of their work. Their Cultivating Healing Eating & Living Communities initiative is a five-month learning experience where Grassroots Community Leaders across Mecklenburg County’s Public Health Priority Areas can participate in empowering educational experiences geared towards community-led solutions.
These service projects create solutions that improve community food security; they’re also learning opportunities that equip project volunteers to replicate these efforts elsewhere. The service-learning experiences not only benefit food security for neighbors in need, but also provide solutions for restoring native pollinator habitats, practicing green construction and clean energy stewardship, and increasing knowledge and application of environmentally healthy and healing home- and communal- living habits.
CleanAIRE NC recognizes the importance of intersectional approaches towards equity and honors the work of Eboné, Harvesting Humanity, and other Black leaders on these issues. We are also grateful to have Eboné assist in leading our Climate Ambassadors program where she brings a strong voice and educational focus to the topics of equity and environmental justice.