The Green & Black ambassadors initiative kicks off this month
4th November 2016
This month we’re delighted to begin working with Zakiya and Jasmine as we launch the Green & Black Ambassadors initiative – a five-month pilot that will seek to address exclusion of Black and Minority Ethnic communities in Bristol’s environmental sustainability efforts.
In this initial pilot, Zakiya and Jasmine will receive training and support in order to:
- Conduct Community Action Research: to explore why exclusion exists in the sustainability agenda, and propose means for overcoming issues.
- Collate Case Studies: to help establish learning lessons from local exemplars of inclusive green initiatives
- Create Media and monthly Radio shows: to share learning and experiences, raising the profile of the Green and Black agenda
- Undergo Leadership Development: receiving leadership training and mentoring, as well as opportunities to engage with organisations including Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC at Board-level
- Advocate for ‘disruptive’ constructive challenge: attend sustainability events, better connect environmental and social justice, and promote engagement with more diverse communities.
- Support an application for funds: to ensure the continuation and up-scaling of the pilot.
For more information about the Green and Black Ambassadors initiative, visit www.bristolgreencapital.org/greenandblackambassadors
Zakiya is a post-graduate student in Environment, Energy and Resilience at the University of Bristol researching the impact of climate change on food security in Jamaica, the island where she grew up. She became aware of the lack of political and social will, slow policy movement and misunderstanding on issues of sustainability and climate variability in the Global South while working as a newspaper journalist in Johannesburg. Here, Zakiya worked closely with Greenpeace Africa and quickly realised that for people in the developing world (and poorer citizens in the developed world), environmental resilience was just not prominent on the agenda, yet these are the people who are likely to be first and most impacted by a deteriorating natural environment. It was here that she decided to learn more about the issues to potentially add to the body of knowledge and help create solutions.
With a formal background in journalism, Zakiya has kept busy in media for the past decade working in TV, newspapers/magazines and event delivery in Kingston, New York City and South Africa. In Bristol, she delivers a weekly programme on Ujima Radio called ‘The Griot Sound’ and has contributed to black female led media platform, Gal-Dem.com, and reggae music publication, Backayaad Magazine.
Jasmine has been working with Ujima Radio and BCFM for the past two years as a Broadcast Journalist, Producer and Presenter working on outside broadcasts and events including the Green and Black debate that ran during the Bristol 2015 green capital year. As a graduate from UWE with a BA hons in International Relations and Journalism, her passion for giving people the platform to tell their stories is something she constantly pursues through documentaries and radio. She has already worked with various community organisations such as The Bristol Cable and is currently involved and interested in activist/ campaign communities in Bristol and how to diversify these networks.
She has also previously worked on voluntary projects with DFID in isolated rural areas of India and Nepal working with the communities there to share skills and provide requested support and is Jasmine is currently working with Easton and Lawrence hill neighbourhood management as a Community Researcher looking into what wellbeing means to the residents.
“Joining the Green and Black project as an ambassador will hopefully allow me to connect the dots between organisations that are doing similar things. I want to bust the jargon and look at how people define ‘green issues’ in their own words. I want to ask organisations hard questions to make them question their approaches to marginalised communities and look deep into why the BAME communities seem to be less involved in the more mainstream ‘green’ initiatives that happen in Bristol. These issues affect everyone. Class, race and gender need not be obstacles. This gap needs to addressed and acknowledged and realised by communities and organisations together if we want to move forward as a city. Hopefully we can set the standard for the rest of the UK and show that we are united under the umbrella of ‘green issues’… Whatever ‘green issues’ means.”