YBCL Dream Lab Recap

February 27, 2023

With great enthusiasm and intentionality, our Young Black Climate Leaders (YBCL) program continues to celebrate Blackness in all its forms 24/7, 365. To that end, we held two virtual Dream Labs rooted in Black history, Black music, good food, and Black joy during Black History Month on February 10 and 15. We had a good time! We opened the way during each session with a land acknowledgment, labor acknowledgment, and ancestor libation. During our February 10 Dream Lab, we were joined by Aisha Shillingsford of Intelligent Mischief for a rich and robust fireside chat.

Climate Innovation Director, Corrine Van Hook-Turner beautifully framed the fireside chat as a space to imagine and lean into our healing and reclaim our relationships with the land and each other. Imagining some of the 10k beloved communities that are focused on land back and Black to the land, mutual aid and reclaiming these spaces for Black folx, makes it feel possible. In some cases, folx may be isolated/targeted on their land, healing and rediscovering connections to the land, reclaiming birthrights connected to the land, and deepening our connection to Mama Earth given the relationship we have had to the land as Black folx—the practicality of relationship building as a solution to change. Aisha also shared the 10k Beloved Community mission and their recently written book. Aisha shared about W.E.B. Du Bois and his observation in The Souls of Black Folk and the correlation between enslavement and environmental degradation, the violence on enslaved people, the philosophy of working that land with then forcibly depleted the land, and the questions he was grappling with in the 1920s and how those are still relevant today.  

From sharecropping to embracing Fanny Lou Hamer and Ella Baker and their efforts to foster cooperative ownership and stewardship of the land, we celebrated the courage of those now elders and some ancestors fleeing the delusion of white supremacy and Jim Crow apartheid from the north to the south seeking a better life and thinking about what that did to our relationships with the land. What did it cost us as a people to leave the land? What did it cost us as a people to stay?

And in the last 6-8 years, the conversations around Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty as we hold the importance of reparations and land back movements. What governance assumes we can, in solidarity, define and claim our solutions. As far back as we can remember, Indigenous and Afro-indigenous people, before we were interrupted by colonization, have ancestral practices, beliefs, and wisdom we can tap into. With curiosity and love, there is an acknowledgment that we have had a relationship before that interruption – being forcibly moved to a land that was not your own, the paradox of things that look and feel familiar and other lands that feel different. Aisha opened the space for reflection on reconnecting to our roots figuratively and literally. And a moment to breathe into the future and envision the worlds we want to live in and what actions today can make that possible. We collectively celebrated 10k Beloved Community reaching their Kickstarter campaign of $10,000! 

Participants shared with depth, intentionality, and authentic honesty when asked: What does it look like to be the people who build 10k beloved communities as we dream and live into Black to the Land?  What does it look like for the Black community to stand in the gap? How do we reclaim, share and nurture these spaces as an extension of ourselves?

We celebrated Black History Month by sharing our favorite Black history makers and Black historical events, engaging in Black history trivia and raffles, and giveaways. We gathered to build community and network by discussing the following prompts in small groups and large community share outs: What do our abolition movements need? If you had 40 acres, what would you do? And If I had 80k to invest in young climate leaders in my region, what would I do? We had some robust, complex, and verdant conversations in a safe space for us to dream, heal, reveal, and grow. We also received updates and reflections from YBCL alums about their projects and current YBCL and Black members of YCLC cohort. 

The Fund Steward was launched on 2/10/23 during our Dream Lab session. YBCL is looking for up to five fund stewards to help shape the next YBCL cohort. The fund stewards will receive a $500 honoraria for their 5-month commitment and will be part of the governance system that reviews applications, interviews candidates, and makes the final recommendations for awards.

The application is open now and closes on 2/28/23. If you are interested in applying, please review more information about the opportunity and commitment and apply here.  

In addition to hosting the Virtual Dream Labs, we are gearing up for our in-person Dream Lab in July –  more details to come! The YBCL team welcomes two new members, Program Manager Latriece Love-Goodlett and Youth Coordinator Dominque Pearson. Latriece and Dominique are excited to join Climate Innovation. They look forward to celebrating Blackness in all its forms, having genuine and authentic conversations, and developing content and programming as YBCL grows and continues to support youth climate leaders along with our intergenerational advisory board.  

Unity and victory are synonymous - Samora Machel

No items found.