The Good Fight for our Humanity, Mother Earth and our Uni-verse – Taishya Adams
My earliest childhood memories always involve trees. Big trees. Trees that were three stories tall and imaginably transformed into homes with my family and friends in the trees around me, my community. The outdoors can mean many things to many people. To me, its as expansive as playing golf with my grandpa as a kid to climbing Kilimanjaro last year. It’s connection, it’s adventure, its responsibility. As an Outdoor Afro leader in Colorado, I build on their 10-year legacy of reconnecting black people to the outdoors and our role as leaders in it. I believe that human relationships are at the center of our work towards justice, the foundation each of us can build upon. I will always remember hearing a 6-year-old Outdoor Afro participant yell “believe in yourself” to his grandmother as she carefully scrambled up Red Rocks in Boulder, Colorado. This moment of intergenerational connection was healing for many of us and as COVID-19 has disrupted life as we know it, these connections become even more crucial. Our outdoor community has been transformed into a thriving virtual one where members now meet others across state lines and time zone. Creating a space for healing through sessions on meditation and nature journaling. In addition to connection with each other, Outdoor Afro raises the awareness of our members about the environmental issues impacting their families and communities. Empowering more Black people to become informed and engaged in recognizing the need to protect wildlife and their habitats, promote more equitable access to green spaces in their own communities are a critical part of a healthy human ecosystem.
As an educator, trainer, organizer, collaborator, and leader, I stand firmly at the intersection of education, health, and the environment, to help create a more humane world and sustainable planet. My service journey began with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School program in the mid-1990s. Marion Wright Edelman spoke about servant-leadership and believed that in order to be a successful leader, you must learn how to serve. Outdoor Afro also has provided me with opportunities to expand my own civic engagement. In 2019, I was appointed by Colorado Governor Polis to serve on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission. As the first black women to serve on the Commission, I believe it is critical to create more culturally and linguistically responsive policies, protocols, and practices. We must unpack our own bias and privilege to collectively address issues of access and representation head on while increasing opportunities for meaningful participation. Giving agency and voice to Coloradans throughout the state and intentionally centering members who have been historically in the margins has been a priority. In addition, I am eager to strengthen bridges across local, state and federal agencies, organizations, communities, and funders.
In my volunteer civic engagement roles on the Commission for Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) and with Outdoor Afro Colorado, I have been able to leverage experiences and expertise gained in the public education sector to drive meaningful change in the environmental space. I look forward to deepening these connections to fight the good fight for our humanity, Mother Earth and our Uni-verse.