Tag Archives: Politics

21Nov/19
Cassia Herron

Cassia Herron is Leading Policy on Climate Change and Food Deserts

Climate change is not a new concept. Neither is environmental racism. Unfortunately, the lack of intersectionality and prevalence of anti-Black microaggressions are barriers to progress. Mainstream activist communities often silence the voices of Black leaders within the Climate Change movement. As with many feminist movements, Black bodies are used to gain traction, but Black organizers are largely missing from many of the conversations. Shout out to our Native brothers and sisters who are also ignored, despite this being their land.

Isra Hirsi, (daughter of Rep. Ihan Omar and climate change activist) is an excellent representation of the power behind Black youth leaders. Jerome Foster, (author, National Geographic explorer, and Climate Justice leader) gives us hope about the future of the planet. While there are far too many Black climate change activists to name, there is one Black woman in the climate change fight who you definitely need to know.

That sister is the outspoken Cassia Herron.

Cassia HerronCassia Herron is one bad sister. As the board president for the Louisville Association for Community Economics (LACE) she has worked diligently to bring sustainability to marginalized communities. Whether it involves confronting hardcore Trump supporter Gov. Matt Bevin about his racist practices or holding white community organizers accountable for their lack of Black representation, she is a force to be reckoned with. This sister is on a mission to offer healthy, locally sourced food to low-income communities that suffer from food insecurity. In a recent panel conversation with NPR, Cassia discussed the urgency of addressing climate change at every stage–particularly the state and federal levels. Her organization, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, has been at the forefront of the fight in Eastern Kentucky to support the well being of coal miners. 

She points out that “trillions of dollars are spent on fossil fuels, and there are not many funds that are being invested in renewables. It’s time for us to dial it back and figure out new paths.”

While Cassia helps lead a number of climate change initiatives, the food insecurity solution is probably the most vital. There is a huge difference between the health of the predominantly Black West End of Louisville, Kentucky and the more affluent East End. In Metro Louisville, Black males have the lowest life expectancy (about 71) compared to the city’s average (around 77) and white males (81). The challenging reality of health is exacerbated by climate change. Poor air quality, doctors who don’t believe Black patients can be in as much pain as white patients, and the high levels of lead poisoning for Black families are worsened by climate change. Black families are disproportionately impacted by the lack of concern for our environment. 

Cassia Herron does the work that most of us forget about. 

Cassia HerronClimate change isn’t an issue that can be resolved overnight. For years, she has been fighting to keep the Black community at the forefront of the conversation. She went toe to toe with Walmart when they attempted to violate urban planning codes to further disenfranchise Black residents by blocking their access to public transportation. She is a rider when it comes to sustainability–especially for marginalized folks like when West Louisville was subjected to heavy environmental impacts. Rubbertown is a predominantly Black community in the West End. It is called Rubbertown because of one particular company that has polluted the surrounding neighborhood for decades. They are the number one violator of air pollution regulations in the city. A few years ago, The American Synthetic Rubber Company applied to have their production capacity increased above the recommended levels. Long story short, they were approved and they currently pollute Black communities even more. Similarly, when Louisville Gas & Electric started their tirade against protected natural land in Kentucky, Cassia was there to fight for sustainability. Despite the massive corporate/legal budget of LG&E, she has stood up to help protect Bernheim Forest from a deadly pipeline.

These fights are exhausting. Black women are already expected to work ourselves to the bone regardless of factors like racism, sexism, and health disparities. We are not allowed to be depressed or angry or too assertive. Still, Cassia Herron persists. There are so many other women in Kentucky doing work just like this. In the fight for environmental justice in Louisville, there are dozens of Black women putting their reputations, bodies, and mental health on the line to uplift our community. We want to recognize that Cassia is not the only one. 

From the global Taji Mag community all the way to Kentucky, we are sending you love, appreciation, and self-care, Sis.

27Jan/17

We Are The Universe Pretending To Be Individuals/As Per the Airport Detainees

It isn’t as if POTUS Cheeto has managed to clone himself and send his minions to enforce the executive order. Those that are implementing these shameful and immoral dictations are citizens like you and I (saying that as referentially as possible, fully acknowledging the entire rank and system is one big delusion of grandeur). They are people who have to work for a living, rely on their jobs for healthcare, and likely have immigrants no more than 3 generations removed. If there was a twinge of consciousness and concern, it was likely overruled by instinct to maintain their own livelihood first. This delusion has become the means by which we are made to feel that standing for what is right risks our own survival.

In any war or oppression, the citizens are the ones to carry the burden of some power-hungry, greed-stricken aristocrat. It could be said that the armed forces and the like are just ‘doing their job” but not speaking against what is wrong silently reinforces it. An injustice to some is an injustice to all, with the opposite being true as well. We as humans have such a capacity for love that we do not necessarily get to exercise within this manufactured society. I don’t believe that true freedom is in being able to choose which color refrigerator we want or which ecosystem disrupting fuel we use to heat our home. I truly believe that true freedom is not a solitary movement.

What if majority of those who are responsible for carrying out these tyrannical sanctions simply refused? What if the man power that is necessary to abuse and oppress were to fully awaken to its TRUE power? It may seem far-fetched, but it is entirely possible sine what a man can think, he can do. Why “squabble over pieces of the Earth”, when in our truth we ARE Earth. We are slowly coming to realize that our true freedom lies in the fortification of the collective and our ability to outwardly manifest the sanctity and oneness of all. We are crawling towards awakening, but there are plenty who are still mired in darkness. For now, that is okay, as they are as necessary to our advancement as our own vertical movement is. We can spread our light simply by continuing to be that light, but it is going to take a lot more than just doing so for ourselves. We have to be as adamant and soaked with conviction as those of us who choose to preserve hate. What if we ALL found ways to show and share our light consciously so for the benefit of Humanity? Especially within our own Cultures and Communities where we have adept influence. How much more powerful will we be when we choose to put our lights together and perpetuate a greater good!

It is easy to wish the climate were more conducive to our growth but if man had nothing to resist him, he would not exist. More so now than ever, I am consistently asking myself how I can contribute to our united ascension. We must each pick our avenue; for some it will be fiery protest while for others it will be watery ritual and visualization. Some will plant the seeds and some will build the shelter, but we all must do something. I am glad you are on your electronic device reading this, but in knowing better, we are required to do better as well. I know you have a life to live and a self to preserve but your soul is eternal and you are a part of the whole. What will YOU do? We need you.