Update from Raleigh, NC partners at Shaw University
Editors note: The author Zaid Steele is a student working with the Humanities Action Lab's partners Dr. Kwinn Doran and Dr. Valerie Johnson at Shaw University and Naeema Muhammed from the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCJEN)
June 1st, 2022
The month of February 2022, is when I joined Dr. Kwinn's class for environmental justice. I enjoyed the class very much. It had familiar faces but most importantly the class spoke about environmental concerns. Concerns that I have been noticing since COVID-19 began. Later, in the semester Dr. Kwinn started to invite outside environmental justice individuals to come speak at our class. That is how I got introduced to Mrs. Naeema Muhammad, Bobby Jones, Reverend Kerney and a lot more important speaker. I would say that each speaker had a major impact on me. Each speaker gives important historical information on why our communities need advocates such as myself to help them conquer and take back their community.
Working on my project, I wanted to make sure it gave an arts & crafts look to it. The arts & craft format was important because it helped with the stories I was revealing. Behind the scenes of the project I had some difficulties finding an appropriate way to not disrespect the companies that were hurting significant communities. Each story was heartfelt and sad because many people in these communities suffered for so long. Many of them were in harm's way long before I was born.
When I hear these people or individuals' stories I still smile because they are still working hard to make sure their kids will grow up and live in a better environment. Seeing parents, teachers, and neighbors come together and building is a beautiful thing.
Mrs. Naeema Muhammad once said in my interview “to give someone power, that they thought they did not have is a beautiful thing”.