We are thrilled to introduce 3 Eco-Justice Connection Fellows that will be joining our NC Council of Churches Eco-Justice Connection team! We are excited about the developments these 3 fellows will be working on during their fellowships. Below you can read more about these 3 social justice advocates:
After graduating from North Carolina State University and Harvard Law School, I became a public defender in Florida and have continued in the field of public defense at a state agency. My work with poor people, especially those of color, has shown me how societal and policy decisions can and often do have an adverse impact on them. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in regard to the environment. Disadvantaged folks live downhill, downstream, and downwind in areas vulnerable to pollution and the consequences of rising temperatures. My concern for these communities, as well as our earth in general, has led me to take action.
Having grown up in Southeastern North Carolina, I am acutely aware of how biogas can make an area unlivable. From my time growing up and smelling the stench of a nearby pulp paper mill to holding my breath as I drive past an industrial hog facility on my way to and from my home town, I have a small idea of what it must be like to endure such burdens on a day-to-day basis. I believe that education, empathy, and a commitment to equity are key to bringing justice to the citizens of these communities and that change is possible if we all work together. My first step in that process will be to coordinate a webinar series for fall 2021 on biogas emissions from hog waste with the goal of promoting understanding of the issue, the community’s concerns about it, possible solutions to it, and how people of faith can assist the community in its advocacy for the health and happiness of its citizens.
I am currently in my last year of undergraduate school at Appalachian State University. My two greatest passions have always been the environment and spirituality, thus I decided to pursue a double degree of Sustainable Development (concentration in Community, Regional, Global Development) and Religious Studies with an emphasis on ancient Hebrew texts. I also hope to one day attend graduate school to obtain a Masters of Divinity or Theological Studies, ideally at Yale or Notre Dame. It is my goal to take this knowledge and apply it outside of the college sphere by pursuing just economic systems, climate change policies, and sustainable and spiritual community building. My belief is that faith is deeply tied to our relationship to the natural environment, and essential in the fight for climate justice.
My spiritual background is deeply influenced by mental illness: as someone who struggles with Scrupulosity, a religious/moral form of OCD, I am acutely aware of how damaging Toxic Theology can be on a personal level. It is my belief that one of the largest obstacles in the fight for climate justice is the prevalence of such Toxic Theology in public and private spaces. Thus, my main focus in school, and eventually my career, is to speak out against spiritual distortions such as humanity’s right to dominate nature, the politicization of faith, gender inequality, labor exploitation, and racism. I hope that through the study and use of Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, I can one day speak to people at large—perhaps in congregational settings or policy lobbying–and help them understand the true, liberating God at the heart of those texts—the One who encourages care for Creation and for all our neighbors. Another dream of mine is to write a book exploring these ideas, and bringing them down-to-earth so that people can utilize them in their daily lives.
I have a passion for drawing and painting, because I want to be an illustrator and a storyboard writer for Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics is notorious for many things, but ever since its creation in 1939 as Timely Comics, Marvel Comics have always used Superhero stories as platforms to speak about political and social issues of the time.
I find the biggest issue of my generation’s time, and the next generations to come to be Climate Change, and I believe that I have a moral obligation as a human being to do everything I can in order to ensure that we take care of our home.
We have 8 years to make sure that the state of the environment will remain sustainable. We are living in an environment where summer ends in November, and starts in January for tropical places, multiple hurricanes within one year happen, there are countless fires in California, and NYC was flooded by a tropical storm. Seeing these awful natural disasters getting progressively worse and worse, I feel as if I need to take part in this fight for the human race to thrive within this planet.