The power of Dr. King’s dream changed my life.
Growing up as a child in East Oakland, CA, poverty and pollution were the backdrops of my day-to-day life. A major freeway poured exhaust fumes onto my elementary school grounds, and the creek in my backyard ran thick with waste. We were just kids, chasing tadpoles despite the stench. But I grew up fast. I lost my mother to the streets when I was only six. Soon after, I lost my father to prison.
Despite losing my mom, the draw of the money that I saw young men making selling drugs was strong. I decided I’d get mine too. In January of 2005, I was arrested for possession with intent to sell crack cocaine and marijuana.
It’s a familiar tale, right? My story, though, turns out differently than too many of the people I grew up with.
Given the choice of jail or school, I chose to enroll at a community college. While there, I learned about the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. I decided I needed to build something lasting for my community. I began the journey that would lead me to Dr. King’s alma mater, Morehouse College.
At Morehouse, I discovered Green For All and the movement for green-collar jobs. My calling to change my community became action. I started educating and organizing for a movement that Dr. King would be proud of: an inclusive green economy, one that lifts people out of poverty while making communities cleaner and streets safer.