People of color are the populations most impacted by climate change. Grammy-nominated singer, actress and self-proclaimed “artivist” Antonique Smith heard this stat, but didn’t quite take it in until it was honed in to, 60% of African Americans live within 30 miles of a power plant. “I was so stunned because I could see how that was actually affecting my life now, when I thought climate change was this far away, irrelevant thing.”
The native of East Orange, New Jersey suddenly realized climate change isn’t just about polar bears and ice glaciers, but all communities around the world, particularly those of color. Once environmental justice was on Smith’s radar, she knew she had to get involved. “That is when my ‘artivism’ began.”
One example of how she’s gotten the message out via artivism is by taking part in projects like the animated project featured below from The Center for Cultural Power that explains how labor exploitation breaks down “the impact of extractive economies on people and planet, and why we must work together towards climate and worker justice.”
Smith joins Our Future Now co-hosts Natalie Mebane and Jonah Gottlieb to share how she found myriad ways to get involved, as well as inform and inspire others to take action. “That’s what my job is as an activist.” She’s made it a priority to find time in her busy schedule, one that has included starring in Rent on Broadway, played Faith Evans in the film Notorious and was in the cast of the Marvel TV series Luke Cage.
Of youth activists in the movement, Smith says, “You have the vision adults should have.”
Mebane recalls Smith singing Here Comes the Sun at an event in 2017, a song that has become a core event of the climate movement. We found this version on Smith’s Facebook page and wanted to share it here, too. Hear it live during upcoming #Vote4OurFuture campaign events.
This episode’s vital message: Get out and VOTE! Smith puts it simply, “This election is life or death — I implore you to vote for love, to vote for our future.”
In this crazy time, here’s a little something to warm your heart. 🌞❤️ Been feeling down since losing my friend Alan Merrill to the virus on Sunday. 😔 I needed this song myself. 🙏🏾Sending you love and encouragement. ❤️💪🏾 🙌🏾 #StayInside #QuarantineTunes #Hope #love #faith #Brighterdays #grateful #stayinghome #stayingpositive #be #BeEncouraged #kellypricesongsthatinspirechallengePosted by Antonique Smith on Thursday, April 2, 2020
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PODCAST: Racial Injustice — Our World Is At a Precipice
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PODCAST: COVID’s Impact on Environmental Health and Our Health, Too
PODCAST: Teens Fight For Family Members on Frontlines #YourWorkersMyFamily
PODCAST: How COVID-19 Is Harming College Students
The Our Future Now Collaboration
Our Future Now, a National Children’s Campaign Podcast is co-hosted by Jonah Gottlieb and Natalie Mebane. Gottlieb and Mebane are also co-founders of NCC. Gottlieb, a high school senior from Petaluma, California, is also the captain of One Planet Living and the co-founder and president of Global Awareness. Mebane is the Associate Director of US Policy for 350, an international movement looking to end the use of fossil fuels while promoting renewable energy.
Our Future Now is a collaboration between Parentology, the National Children’s Campaign and Goal 17 Media.
The National Children’s Campaign (NCC) is a national nonprofit organization that amplifies the voices of America’s 74 million children and youth, making sure our nation’s political leaders prioritize issues –health, education, climate and environment, child welfare, gun violence, child immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, and youth civic engagement — that matter to those who are too young to vote. You can read more about today’s episode on the NCC blog here.
Goal 17 Media is a media network producing podcasts, videos and documentaries that inspire individuals and contribute to the common good.