anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘activism

Teresa Baker

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“Hope is infinite, without it there would be no reason for any of us to move forward.”

-Teresa Baker

Teresa Baker is the founder of African American Nature & Parks Experience, and as an advocate for diversity, works tirelessly to ensure that not only the country’s national parks are more diverse in their staff and visitors, but also the outdoor industry as a whole. She also created the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge, focused on improving representation across the industry, from marketing teams to ambassadors and athletes (learn more about it in this She Explores episode).

She is a powerful voice for diversity, equity, and inclusion, in an industry that—like many others—has long been white and male dominated. I think that Teresa’s work highlights the essential intersection of environmentalism and social justice. But as Teresa reminded me in this interview, it’s not an intersection but a coexistence. For us to make social and environmental progress, we have to stop thinking about them as separate. Nature is for everyone, and we all deserve an equal place on this planet, and we all have to fight to protect it.

What does wisdom mean to you?

For me wisdom is the means to think for myself and not allow outside influences to determine my moral standing.

Is there an influential woman in your life who passed along a piece of wisdom to you? Who and what?

Maya Angelou was and still is someone I look to for intentional grounding of self. Her words are a constant reminder to me of who I am and why I am. It is because of her words that I understand I am a vessel in this life, this life is not about me in the physical sense. I am here to carry a message forward, as are we all, we just need to learn to walk in that understanding. And we can only do this by being courageous. “Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” My favorite quote from her.

You are a diversity advocate, and work on a number of initiatives to promote and encourage diversity in the outdoors. Diversity and equity are obviously something we need to focus on within all areas of society, what about the outdoors made you want to focus on that industry specifically?

What most people overlook about the work I do is that it is all tied to environmental protection. Now more than ever we need more people involved in the protection of our outdoor spaces. And right now the voices that are not involved in this work, as much as they can be, are from underrepresented communities. This is why I fight for equal representation across the board, so that we can have more people on the front lines fighting for the spaces we hike, climb, ski and walk through.

I see a lot of your work at the intersection of environmentalism and social justice. Can you talk about why this intersection is important?

I don’t think there is an intersection between environmentalism and social justice, the two must co-exist. When we separate the two it’s like saying we can have one without the other, we can’t. I don’t think of myself as an environmentalist, nor a torch carrier for justice. I think of myself as someone this society has overlooked for far too long. Someone who gives a damn about the spaces that surround us all. I understand that for myself and many others, these outdoor spaces are sanctuaries where we can go to escape the insanity of our day to day lives. They are roofless cathedrals and we need to protect them as such. And within that obligation, if we are able to put our physical differences aside, we exist under the umbrella of… Justice for all.

What is your personal relationship to nature, and how does that shape the work that you do?

Nature has always been a place of serenity for me, it is my think tank. I escape for self healing and self reflection. It truly is my cathedral, my religion, my shelter. I feel a “different me” when I’m out hiking among the redwoods, hearing nothing but the whispers of the birds, the swaying of branches and the wrestling of my feet as I walk along the leaves that have fallen to the ground. There is nothing that compares to the connection I feel to nature, she is what grounds me. A physical reminder of why the work I do around DEI is so important.

Through the work that you have done, what gives you hope?

Hope is infinite, without it there would be no reason for any of us to move forward. Life is hard no matter our path, hope is what I awake to, hope is what speaks to me when frustrations kick in, hope is what I cling to when doubt tries to creep in. I am nothing without hope and the belief of divine driven purpose that I am doing the work prescribed to me.

What wisdom would you share with your younger self?

A talk with my younger self would go like this….Your self doubts today are preparing you for a life of service that will inspire change beyond your time here. Hold on to your anger, it is part of the journey. Know that you are with purpose. Do not take education so lightly, for it will be of great use moving forward. Surround yourself with the smart ones, the ones whom you will gather with in the future. Do not be afraid that you think and feel differently than the ones you surround yourself with today. Fall in love cautiously and not just because you find him cute. And most importantly, spend more time talking to your parents, those days will past faster than you know.

This papercut and profile are a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Written by Anna Brones

January 22, 2020 at 11:36

Winona LaDuke

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“Power is not brute force and money; power is in your spirit.

Power is in your soul. It is what your ancestors, your old people gave you.

Power is in the earth; it is in your relationship to the earth.”

-Winona LaDuke (b. 1959)

Environmentalist, economist, writer, politician, and activist Winona LaDuke has devoted her life to protecting indigenous lands and ways of life, working on sustainable development, climate-change mitigation efforts, and environmental justice.

LaDuke was born in Los Angeles to a mother of European and Jewish descent and a father from the Gaa-waabaabiganikaag reservation in Minnesota, also known as the White Earth Indian Reservation of the Ojibwe nation. Raised between California and Oregon, LaDuke attended Harvard University and earned a degree in rural economic development. While at Harvard, she met Jimmy Durham, a renowned Native American activist, who sparked her interest in and lifelong commitment to indigenous rights. At eighteen, she became the youngest woman to speak to the United Nations about Native American concerns.

After graduating from Harvard, LaDuke moved to the White Earth reservation. While working as the principal of the reservation high school, she completed a long-distance master’s degree in community economic development from Antioch University. Her work quickly became consumed with land rights, and she became involved with a lawsuit to recover lands that were promised to the Anishinaabeg people by an 1867 federal treaty.

While the case was eventually dismissed, LaDuke went on to found the White Earth Land Recovery Project, an organization whose work centers around land recovery and whose mission is dedicated to “preserving and restoring traditional practices of land stewardship, language fluency, community development, and strengthening our spiritual and cultural heritage.” In 2003 the organization won the International Slow Food Award for Biodiversity, honoring its work to protect wild rice from patenting and genetic engineering. Together with the folk-rock duo the Indigo Girls, LaDuke also founded Honor the Earth to raise awareness of native environmental issues through the arts, media, and sharing indigenous wisdom.

LaDuke’s work showcases the intersection of land and culture, showing that social and environmental rights are inextricably linked. An advocate for food sovereignty, LaDuke grows a variety of foods on her land on the White Earth Indian Reservation, including traditional species of corn and rice. She recently expressed her support for regenerative agriculture with the addition of industrial hemp.

LaDuke has written several books, including Recovering the Sacred, All Our Relations, and the novel Last Standing Woman. An outspoken activist for indigenous and environmental rights, she ran as the vice presidential candidate with Ralph Nader for the Green Party in both 1996 and 2000. Her tireless work and advocacy have earned her many awards, including Ms. Magazine‘s Woman of the Year, and she was nominated by Time magazine as one of the country’s fifty most promising leaders under the age of forty. In 2008 LaDuke was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Winona LaDuke is one of three women from the Women’s Wisdom Project series to be featured in a new article in the TEND issue of Taproot magazine. The other two are Margaret Murie and Jane Addams. I am honored to have contributed to this issue, and encourage you to check out this great publication that’s independent and ad-free. You can order a copy of the TEND issue here.

This papercut and profile are a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Written by Anna Brones

April 26, 2019 at 08:47

Dolores Huerta

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“Every moment is an organizing opportunity,

every person a potential activist,

every minute a chance to change the world.”

– Dolores Huerta

What do we do with the precious time in our lives? Do we consume instead of creating? Are we passive instead of active? Do we succumb to the darkness or do we stand up to it? I think that this quote, from Dolores Huerta, the labor leader and activist who co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, is a reminder of the opportunities that can be found in even the smallest moments.

Born on April 10, 1930, Huerta is still active today, and is the founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Last year at the Mountainfilm festival in Telluride, Colorado, I not only had the chance to see the amazing documentary “Dolores,” which is all about her life, but also hear Huerta speak in person. Her energy was inspiring, and it was a reminder that every moment in our lives is an opportunity to take action, and we can continue to do so for as long as we live.

It’s easy to think of “activists” as people who are very visible or take bold actions. But as human beings, global citizens and community members, I believe that we all have a chance to be an activist in our everyday lives, choosing to stand up for what we believe in, no matter what the scale or what our platform is.

Every minute is a chance to change the world. What will you stand for?

This papercut is a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a yearlong project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women. If you want to support this work, consider doing so on Kickstarter

Written by Anna Brones

February 3, 2018 at 12:46

Simple (and Beautiful) Acts of Vandalism

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[vimeo http://vimeo.com/19374769]

Swedish street artist: “The act is the beauty.”

Written by Anna Brones

March 17, 2011 at 21:20