“I amount to nothing to the world and people care nothing of me. I am battling for a principle.”
As we bring attention to and celebrate amazing humans past and present this Black History Month, it’s important to consider the things Black humans were/are working and fighting for - and consider my/our own backgrounds and privilege, and ask my/ourselves:
How am I/are we supporting visions and actions for justice - past, present, and future? &
How are principles of historic advocates informing current environmental and social justice?
This idea inspired me to highlight the work of.....
While she wasn’t an environmental activist per say, she was a dedicated activist for equal rights nonetheless. Born to an enslaved woman in Virginia around 1851, Lucy lived her adult life in Chicago, from 1873 on. She and her husband (Albert Parsons who was murdered in the Haymarket Massacre), were highly effective organizers for labor rights, as well as the rights for people of color, women, political prisoners, and the homeless.
Lucy’s convictions, oration, and written publications were so moving and powerful, that in the 1920s the Chicago police proclaimed her to be,
"more dangerous than a thousand rioters.”
It’s in this power for provoking positive change that I see Parsons’ influence. Whether known or unknown by today’s youth environmental activists, to me, whispers of Parsons’ power run in the undercurrents.
"...A long period of education must precede any great fundamental change in society..."
"My conception of the strike of the future is not to strike and go out and starve, but to strike and remain in…”.
Doesn’t this remind you of today’s youth led grassroots environmental movements like the Friday’s For Future school strike movement? (Week 182 is this week!)
Parsons, who worked until age 91 in her activism, remained in action and grounded as the movements she was involved in evolved. Just as the youth leading today’s climate justice activism “remain in” undistracted nor deterred by threats.
Those that continue to destroy the environment for profit at the expense of people and planet are being backed into a corner. And like dogs, they are lashing out because they know the time is up. The "old ways" are no longer relevant or acceptable. When our grandchildren look back, what side of history will they see us on?
Led by the energy and determination of today’s youth, and the lessons taught to us by Black women like Parsons’, nothing less than the equal rights and protections for people and planet to flourish will be accepted.
We will remain in.
Lucy Parsons' style of activism and feminism, analyzed women's oppression as a function of capitalism. I see this as informing the work of the deep ecologists over the past few decades, as well as the social and climate justice activism of today.
From BLM and abortion access rights, to the protection of Indigenous women and land resource rights, women womyn womxn, and more specifically women of color, are at the helm. And it’s high time the world listen up and act accordingly. The future is waiting and I plan to do all I can to make it a lush green biodiverse equitable world for all life.
Ready to Support & Engage with Youth Led Climate Activism?
Please check out these links to learn more because there are so many amazing intelligent energizing humans doing this work!
& These are just the tip of the (quickly melting) iceberg of the powerhouse of youth working everyday for this beautiful planet we all share!
Get in involved in any way you can!
Repost these activists' content (with proper credit),
donate to the organizations,
and even summon your inner Lucy Parsons and get out there on Fridays with your children & students!
Today's youth change-makers are making history.
Supporting youth led environmental justice and climate activism is the way of the future!
Nothing less than the equal rights and protections for people and planet to flourish will be accepted.
Join me in working for a lush green biodiverse equitable world for all life all months of the year!
How will you take inspiration from Parsons' principles, in ways authentic to you, and work for the rights of People and Planet?
Share in the comments below!
Share photos of how you call on art and nature to work for equity and equality on Instagram #wingswormsandwonder so we can all learn and do more!
Seeds to Sprout:
Hearts for Nature
"Hearts for Nature, Hearts for All" will inspire you to make some land art as a Valentine for Mother Nature, and everyone who passes by!
I Heart Nature
It's time to make some valentines and what better way than to use nature’s hearts - the lovely heart shaped leave of house plants!
In this Wonder Wednesday #42 project we cut hearts from citrus peels and make garlands!