Afro-Diasporic Environmentalism Series, Fall 2018

  • “Nkisis, Orixás and Ancestors: The Role of Religion, Creativity and Environmental Ethics in the Afro-Atlantic Diaspora” 

    A Symposium Curated by Rachel Harding, Sterling Brown ‘22 Visiting Professor in Africana Studies 

    EVENTS:

    • "Afro-Brazilian Religion and Environmental Ethics," public lecture by Makota Valdina Pinto (Tuesday, September 18, 2018)
      • Makota Valdina Pinto is an ethicist, environmental justice activist and an elder inthe Congo-Angola tradition of the Afro-Brazilian religion, Candomblé.  Ms. Pinto is also a specialist in the ritual pharmacology of the Afro-Indigenous religious traditions of northeastern Brazil.  She travels widely – throughout Brazil and internationally – as an eloquent and esteemed spokesperson for devotees of African based religious traditions.  Ms. Pinto has received numerous honors and recognitions for her work, including a “Grassroots Wisdom Master” award from the Gregorio Mattos Foundation of Brazil, the Clementina de Jesus Trophy and the Maria Quiteria Medal awarded by the Salvador, Bahia city council.
    • Ancestors, Art and Black Ritual Diasporas, a public conversation with artists Junior Pakapym and Daniel Minter (Wednesday, September 19, 2018)
      • Antonio dos Santos Cerqueira Junior (aka Junior Pakapym) is a digital artist and painter whose work draws on the rich iconography of Afro-Brazilian religious and cultural imagery.  Mr. Cerqueira is a Candomblé initiate and member of a family with a longstanding tradition of racial and environmental justice advocacy. His art has been the basis for posters, banners and pamphlet covers related to grassroots organizing efforts in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.  As a millennial, Junior represents a generation of young Afro-Brazilian artists who are approaching ancestral traditions of ritual art with the tools and sensibilities of anime, graphic art and contemporary digital modes.
      • Daniel Minter is an award-winning, Maine-based painter, sculptor, illustrator and assemblage artist whose work is profoundly influenced by his roots in southern African American culture and his decades of exploration of artistic and religious traditions of the African diaspora.  Minter’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally at galleries and museums, including the Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Bates College, Hammonds House Museum, Soren Christensen, Northwest African American Art Museum, Museu Jorge Amado and the Meridian International Center.  In 2004 and 2011, Minter was commissioned to design the Kwanzaa stamps for the US Postal service.
    • Block Printing Workshop for students and community members, led by Daniel Minter and Junior Pakapym (Thursday, September 20, 2018)
    • “Healing, Sovereignty and Activism: Perspectives from Candomblé and the Mohawk Nation,” a conversation circle with Candomblé and Mohawk elder/activists, Makota Valdina Pinto and Louise Herne (Thursday, September 20, 2018)
      • Makota Valdina Pinto (see description above) will be joined by Louise Wakerakatse Herne, a Clan Mother of the Mohawk Longhouse of Akwesasne.  Ms. Herne, is a respected ceremonial leader, counselor and community organizer responsible for protecting and passing on traditional spiritual and cultural teachings.  She is also an activist whose work combines organizing for environmental and gender justice and advocating for the rights of indigenous people in North America. 
    • The Water Mothers: A daylong retreat for self-care and community wellbeing (Saturday, September 22, 2018)
      • Drawing on resources and rituals from indigenous Afro-Latin, African American and South Asian traditions, this workshop encourages participants to apprehend healing in its broadest connotations – as both personal and societal/environmental; physical and psychological; material and spiritual.  The workshop offers approaches that acknowledge the sacred feminine in various forms – particularly in aspects of the natural world like water, wind and earth. Workshop facilitators, Gloria Rodriguez, Lakshmi Nair and Rachel Harding share activities with participants that include physical movement that balances our energies (dance and yoga), guided meditation, plant wisdom from Candomblé and southern African American traditions, theater and intergenerational storytelling.  Gloria Rodriguez is a psychologist, workshop facilitator and tenured professor at Bronx Community College in New York.  She is also an initiate in the Yoruba/Lucumi religious tradition and director of DeAlmas Women’s Institute. She specializes in developing seminars and workshops focused in Afro-Indigenous spirituality and social justice advocacy.  Lakshmi Nair is a 4th-generation yogi and founder of the Satya Yoga Teacher Training Program in Denver. Ms. Nair teaches yoga not primarily as a form of physical exercise but as a resource for activism and healing. Satya Yoga is one of the nation’s first yoga teacher certification programs designed specifically for people of color who are committed to teaching yoga in Black, Latinx, Asian and Native communities.  Rachel Harding is the Sterling Brown visiting professor at Williams. She is also co-director of the Veterans of Hope Project where she regularly develops workshops at the intersection of a spirituality of compassion and social justice activism. 
  • EVENT“Environmental Justice and Equity in the Face of Climate Change”

    DATE: Thursday, October 25, 2018

    TIME: 7:00pm-8:30pm

    LOCATION: Paresky Auditorium
    The Environmental Justice movement grew out of community activism and advocacy for better standards for protecting the health of people of color and low income communities. Although there were existing laws and regulations designed to protect human health, these protections were not afforded to all communities equally. Minority communities were left to languish in the shadow of industrial facilities inundated with toxic chemical pollution.  It was their struggle for justice and equal protection under the law that; (1) changed the culture of an agency; (2) shifted a research paradigm with the creation of a new approach and methodology that embraced community involvement (Community Based Participatory Research); (3) motivated the development of citizen science as a credible discipline; and (4) produced science that was more protective of communities. This presentation will review this transformation and analyze its impact on vulnerable communities.

  • EVENT“The Quest for Environmental and Climate Justice: Why Race and Place Matter”

    DATE: Friday, October 26, 2018

    TIME: 3:00pm

    LOCATION: Griffin Hall 3

    Referred to as “the Father of Environmental Justice,” Dr. Robert Bullard has been the leading voice against environmental racism for decades, including the Flint water crisis and hurricane recovery in Houston and Puerto Rico. Dr. Bullard is the recipient of numerous awards, including: the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award,  the Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation, the Building Economic Alternatives Award from Co-op America, and named one of thirteen “Environmental Leaders of the Century” by Newsweek. He is the author of eighteen acclaimed books demonstrating his expertise in sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity.

    This event is organized by the Departments of Africana Studies and Geosciences as part of the Afro-Diasporic Environmentalism Series: Explorations of environmental racism and justice. It is co-sponsored by the Class of 1963 Sustainability Fund, the Lecture Committee, the Center of Environmental Studies, the Justice and Law Program, the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Phi Beta Kappa, the Davis Center. With support from W. Ford Schumann ’50 Program in Democratic Studies as part of a yearlong series on Race and Democracy.

  • EVENT: “Afro-Diasporic Environmentalism, Reconsidered” with James Manigault-Bryant and José Constantine

    DATE: Friday, November 9, 2018

    LOCATION: Griffin 7

    TIME: 3:00pm-4:30pm

    Professors José Constantine and James Manigault-Bryant will consider the numerous insights and wisdoms gained from the fall lecture series on “Afro-diasporic Environmentalism: Explorations of environmental racism and justice.” The series has included talks by Drs. Robert Bullard, Beverly Wright, and Walter Johnson, as well as a symposium on the Role of Religion, Creativity and Environmental Ethics in the Afro-Atlantic Diaspora.

    José Constantine is Assistant Professor of Geosciences. James Manigault-Bryant is Associate Professor of Africana Studies. Sponsored by Africana Studies, Geosciences, and the Davis Center.