1. Punishment Past Prison Walls: Environmental injustice in the Carceral State
  2. RACISM IN THE WATER
  3. THE “INFLATION REDUCTION ACT” IS NOW LAW. SO, HOW DOES IT HELP BLACK PHILLY?
  4. PHILADELPHIA HAS AN AIR TOXIN PROBLEM. WHAT IS THE CITY GOVERNMENT GOING TO DO TO FIX IT?
  5. Want to end gun violence now? Let’s save Philly block by block
  6. Here are steps Philly could take to cool urban heat islands
  7. The gas prices conversation we should be having
  8. Reclaiming Black land is challenging but not impossible
  9. Black clergy: Churches can sway views on climate crisis
  10. Can old Philadelphia refineries be cleaned up and restored?
  11. Here’s how Black Philadelphia can help in the environmental justice battle
  12. City Launches Environmental Justice Advisory Commission
  13. FIXING THE STRUGGLE SPACE
  14. SOLAR POLICIES ARE FALLING BEHIND – SO, HOW DO WE CATCH UP?
  15. IS PHILLY’S “TAP” WATER PROGRAM WORKING?
  16. Ian Harris
  17. Melissa Ostroff
  18. THE WATER BILLS ARE WAY TOO HIGH
  19. THE KEY TO APPROACHING FRONTLINE COMMUNITIES ON ALL THINGS GREEN
  20. ICYMI: Watch highlights, panels at ecoWURD’s 2021 Environmental Justice Summit
  21. BLACK MOTHERS NEED CLEANER & SAFER ENVIRONMENTS – IT’S A PUBLIC HEALTH IMPERATIVE
  22. USING DANCE TO SAVE A RIVER
  23. TRACKING PHILADELPHIA’S AIR QUALITY
  24. GETTING RELIGIOUS ON CLIMATE CRISIS
  25. WE NEED MORE BLACK PEOPLE IN AGRICULTURE
  26. WHEN THERE’S NO CLEAN ENVIRONMENT, WE HAVE NOTHING
  27. A PREMATURE END TO EVICTION MORATORIUMS
  28. THE LACK OF BELIEF IN CLIMATE CRISIS IS JUST AS MUCH A THREAT
  29. YOU CAN’T HAVE RACIAL JUSTICE WITHOUT FAIR HOUSING
  30. RUN OVER THE SYSTEMS: THE FUTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
  31. PENNSYLVANIA IS “WAY BEHIND” ON SOLAR. HOW DOES IT CATCH UP?
  32. Pandemic Relief For Black Farmers Still Is Not Enough
  33. A BLUEPRINT FOR THE NEXT URBANISM
  34. THAT ELECTRONIC & CLOTHING WASTE PILES UP. SO WHERE TO PUT IT?
  35. THE WOMB IS THE FIRST ENVIRONMENT
  36. WILL THERE BE ANY MASS TRANSIT LEFT AFTER PANDEMIC?
  37. A FRIDGE FOR EVERYONE WHO’S HUNGRY
  38. OLD SCHOOL FOSSIL FUEL ECONOMY VS. NEW SCHOOL CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY
  39. ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IS THE TOP SOCIAL JUSTICE PRIORITY
  40. IN 2020, DID “BIG GREEN” BECOME LESS WHITE?
  41. CLIMATE ACTION CAN POWER OUR RECOVERY
  42. IN PANDEMIC, AN HBCU DOES IT BETTER
  43. A DANGEROUS LACK OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTECTIONS
  44. HOW FAST CAN A BIDEN PRESIDENCY MOVE ON CLIMATE ISSUES?
  45. CRAFTING A BLACK-DRIVEN CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE “STIMULUS” AGENDA
  46. Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia school district to help public school children
  47. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  48. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  49. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  50. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  51. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  52. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  53. THE PLAN FOR A 100 PERCENT CLEAN FUTURE IS SAVING NATURE
  54. WHAT SHOULD A PRESIDENT’S ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AGENDA LOOK LIKE?
  55. THE NEED FOR ABOLITIONIST TEACHING
  56. PUBLIC LANDS & SAVING NATURE
  57. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  58. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  59. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  60. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  61. THE NATURE GAP
  62. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  63. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  64. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  65. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  66. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  67. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  68. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  69. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  70. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  71. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  72. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  73. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  74. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  75. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  76. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  77. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  78. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  79. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  80. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  81. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  82. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  83. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  84. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  85. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  86. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  87. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  88. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  89. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  90. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  91. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  92. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  93. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  94. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  95. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  96. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  97. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  98. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  99. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  100. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  101. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  102. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  103. THE LACK OF DIVERSE LEADERS IN THE GREEN SPACE Environmental Advocacy Organizations – especially the “Big Green” – Really Need More Black & Brown People in Senior Positions
  104. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  105. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  106. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  107. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  108. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  109. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  110. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  111. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  112. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  113. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  114. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  115. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  116. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  117. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  118. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  119. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  120. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  121. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  122. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  123. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  124. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  125. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  126. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  127. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  128. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  129. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  130. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  131. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  132. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  133. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  134. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  135. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  136. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  137. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  138. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  139. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  140. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  141. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  142. Are You Going to Drink That?
  143. The Origins of ecoWURD
  144. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  145. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  146. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  147. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess
Monday, November 28, 2022
  1. Punishment Past Prison Walls: Environmental injustice in the Carceral State
  2. RACISM IN THE WATER
  3. THE “INFLATION REDUCTION ACT” IS NOW LAW. SO, HOW DOES IT HELP BLACK PHILLY?
  4. PHILADELPHIA HAS AN AIR TOXIN PROBLEM. WHAT IS THE CITY GOVERNMENT GOING TO DO TO FIX IT?
  5. Want to end gun violence now? Let’s save Philly block by block
  6. Here are steps Philly could take to cool urban heat islands
  7. The gas prices conversation we should be having
  8. Reclaiming Black land is challenging but not impossible
  9. Black clergy: Churches can sway views on climate crisis
  10. Can old Philadelphia refineries be cleaned up and restored?
  11. Here’s how Black Philadelphia can help in the environmental justice battle
  12. City Launches Environmental Justice Advisory Commission
  13. FIXING THE STRUGGLE SPACE
  14. SOLAR POLICIES ARE FALLING BEHIND – SO, HOW DO WE CATCH UP?
  15. IS PHILLY’S “TAP” WATER PROGRAM WORKING?
  16. Ian Harris
  17. Melissa Ostroff
  18. THE WATER BILLS ARE WAY TOO HIGH
  19. THE KEY TO APPROACHING FRONTLINE COMMUNITIES ON ALL THINGS GREEN
  20. ICYMI: Watch highlights, panels at ecoWURD’s 2021 Environmental Justice Summit
  21. BLACK MOTHERS NEED CLEANER & SAFER ENVIRONMENTS – IT’S A PUBLIC HEALTH IMPERATIVE
  22. USING DANCE TO SAVE A RIVER
  23. TRACKING PHILADELPHIA’S AIR QUALITY
  24. GETTING RELIGIOUS ON CLIMATE CRISIS
  25. WE NEED MORE BLACK PEOPLE IN AGRICULTURE
  26. WHEN THERE’S NO CLEAN ENVIRONMENT, WE HAVE NOTHING
  27. A PREMATURE END TO EVICTION MORATORIUMS
  28. THE LACK OF BELIEF IN CLIMATE CRISIS IS JUST AS MUCH A THREAT
  29. YOU CAN’T HAVE RACIAL JUSTICE WITHOUT FAIR HOUSING
  30. RUN OVER THE SYSTEMS: THE FUTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
  31. PENNSYLVANIA IS “WAY BEHIND” ON SOLAR. HOW DOES IT CATCH UP?
  32. Pandemic Relief For Black Farmers Still Is Not Enough
  33. A BLUEPRINT FOR THE NEXT URBANISM
  34. THAT ELECTRONIC & CLOTHING WASTE PILES UP. SO WHERE TO PUT IT?
  35. THE WOMB IS THE FIRST ENVIRONMENT
  36. WILL THERE BE ANY MASS TRANSIT LEFT AFTER PANDEMIC?
  37. A FRIDGE FOR EVERYONE WHO’S HUNGRY
  38. OLD SCHOOL FOSSIL FUEL ECONOMY VS. NEW SCHOOL CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY
  39. ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IS THE TOP SOCIAL JUSTICE PRIORITY
  40. IN 2020, DID “BIG GREEN” BECOME LESS WHITE?
  41. CLIMATE ACTION CAN POWER OUR RECOVERY
  42. IN PANDEMIC, AN HBCU DOES IT BETTER
  43. A DANGEROUS LACK OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTECTIONS
  44. HOW FAST CAN A BIDEN PRESIDENCY MOVE ON CLIMATE ISSUES?
  45. CRAFTING A BLACK-DRIVEN CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE “STIMULUS” AGENDA
  46. Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia school district to help public school children
  47. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  48. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  49. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  50. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  51. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  52. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  53. THE PLAN FOR A 100 PERCENT CLEAN FUTURE IS SAVING NATURE
  54. WHAT SHOULD A PRESIDENT’S ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AGENDA LOOK LIKE?
  55. THE NEED FOR ABOLITIONIST TEACHING
  56. PUBLIC LANDS & SAVING NATURE
  57. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  58. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  59. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  60. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  61. THE NATURE GAP
  62. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  63. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  64. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  65. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  66. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  67. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  68. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  69. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  70. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  71. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  72. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  73. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  74. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  75. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  76. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  77. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  78. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  79. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  80. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  81. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  82. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  83. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  84. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  85. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  86. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  87. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  88. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  89. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  90. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  91. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  92. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  93. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  94. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  95. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  96. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  97. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  98. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  99. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  100. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  101. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  102. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  103. THE LACK OF DIVERSE LEADERS IN THE GREEN SPACE Environmental Advocacy Organizations – especially the “Big Green” – Really Need More Black & Brown People in Senior Positions
  104. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  105. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  106. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  107. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  108. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  109. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  110. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  111. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  112. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  113. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  114. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  115. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  116. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  117. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  118. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  119. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  120. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  121. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  122. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  123. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  124. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  125. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  126. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  127. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  128. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  129. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  130. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  131. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  132. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  133. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  134. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  135. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  136. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  137. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  138. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  139. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  140. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  141. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  142. Are You Going to Drink That?
  143. The Origins of ecoWURD
  144. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  145. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  146. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  147. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess

Author: Kai Davis

 

When I tell people I’m a poet for a living I’m often met with surprise. I get a lot of, “How do you make that work?” and “I didn’t know there were people that did that full time.” The truth is, I get it. There aren’t a lot of stable working writers who aren’t also teachers or students or occupying some other working class job. There especially aren’t a lot of Black women doing poetry full time. As a result, my journey has been marked by trial, error, and a good dose of luck.

 

 

I started doing poetry as a way to communicate the concerns in my life as a young Black girl. I dealt with a lot of emotional turmoil as a result of growing up in both the whiteness of private school and the disadvantages of public school. In a lot of ways poetry was a remedy for that turmoil. I got involved in a youth poetry organization, which led to local poetry slams, which led to national poetry slams. I worked hard on my craft, constantly seeking edits, practicing my performance in the mirror, and taking every opportunity to perform. I wasn’t the only one working this hard. That’s where the luck comes in.

 

 

I competed in a poetry slam with a poem entitled, “F*** I Look Like” and suddenly I had a viral video. Filmmaker Sharvon Hales happened to be filming that day and happened to ignore orders not to post online and someone with a lot of Tumblr followers happened to see it and it spread to youtube, worldstar, and blogs across the web. I don’t want to downplay what happened. I wrote a poem that spoke to people, especially Black girls across the country who were struggling to articulate their condition and looking for representation. However, it was luck that allowed it to reach them. Had that poem not gone viral, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

 

 

There seems to be an unspoken rule amongst entrepreneurs and self-employed folks, to not mention luck as a factor in your success. I find that to be incredibly harmful, especially for marginalized people. We are so often told that we are the one thing that is holding us back. We are told that our conditions can be changed if we put mind over matter. But what about predominantly white institutions not hiring us because our names look too ethnic, or banks denying us loans, or the algorithms on apps like Tik-Tok that keep Black creators out of the spotlight. These are barriers that aren’t always circumvented through hard work. Telling creators who are just starting out that the obstacles they encounter aren’t real or difficult perpetuates the racist idea that we can simply pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. It has the potential to destroy people’s self-esteem by encouraging them to blame themselves for their oppression.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in accountability. I believe that success is possible through consistency, which is fueled by passion in what you do. That’s the only reason I was able to flip viral success into a career. I kept creating, got booked for college shows, gained more of a following, kept people abreast to what I was up to and that worked… for a while. Then I discovered that I was being severely underpaid, which is not uncommon for Black poets. Especially for Black poets representing themselves.

 

 

By happenstance, someone I knew personally was starting an agency and was open to representing me. This is that luck I was talking about. I rose to the opportunity by providing info for a media kit, getting headshots, and re-working my workshop descriptions. Yet, the thing that made the biggest difference was that my agent is a white woman. It’s not always you, it’s the system.

 

 

As a Black woman who performs poetry that is unapologetically pro-Black, Queer, and in defense of women, it was hard representing myself to institutions that wrote the big checks. Once I got my foot in the door and was able to stay there with some consistency, I used it as an opportunity to challenge the culture of the universities, to educate staff and students, and advocate for poets like myself by inviting them to shows and paying them. If I eat, the homies gotta eat too. I’ve gained knowledge on the way from poets who were candid with me about their process. I started managing my income with quickbooks, updating my bio regularly, using social media to stay connected with other poets, and affirming the work of my peers as often as possible. I then pass that info along to my community because my community isn’t my enemy.

 

 

I try to be honest about my journey because that’s the only way we will all survive. It’s important to be generous with resources and information because that generosity always comes back. That’s what sustainability is all about. It is also paramount to the success of those around us who face the same hurdles that we do. Hard work and passion are not the only things we need. We need opportunity. Hard work and passion allow us to be prepared for the opportunities once they arise, and generosity and honesty allow for our successes to not exist in a vacuum.

 

 

My success in the poetry world is not common. I am the exception to the rule as a result of being in the right place at the right time. That doesn’t make me better than the poet next to me. What it does is put me in the position to reach audiences that were once inaccessible, to gain knowledge that was once inaccessible, and to share that with my people. White supremacy, elitism, and capitalism are antithetical to our work as artists because it turns everything into a competition. If we are lucky enough to be the exception, then it is up to us to make someone else lucky.