One of our starting YBCL youth, Keem King hails from the east side of Detroit, although at any time you might spot him in various parts of the city cruising on his skateboard with a few handfuls of wild plants that he probably foraged from some “unkempt” land, or someone’s backyard. Keem dreams and builds-- he founded the "Redzone Garden". It's the only place in a 1-mile radius with fresh fruits and vegetables and they're all organic. When the COVID 19 pandemic hit, Keem went into action and distributed fruit, veggies and water in his community.
Keem's efforts for sustainability led him to teach local artistic sustainability classes and climate literacy... with notable recognition. Keem was one of two writers for the NOAA "Climate Literacy for All" curriculum, which was featured in the New York Times. As part of the program, Keem focused on hands-on learning and had students come up with climate disruption solutions on their own.
When Keem saw gravestones unkempt and ignored at Elmwood Cemetery, he led efforts to clean and restore the markers to honor the memorials and continues honoring the memorials of his ancestors and those of the area. This is a beautiful enactment of Sankofa (an Akan tradition of honoring the past in order to move forward).
Though pandemic times changed things for him and his work, he continues to create-- now to support not just the community but his young family. Through his art and sustainability work, he continues to find ways for him and his community to thrive and live more sustainably. Keem is an educator, artist, musician, and father. Find and support him on his art shop on his website.
May 18, 2023
A recap of the CCHE spring grantee convening!