Amiri Imamu Baraka
Poet Laureate, Playwright, Speaker, Activist
– Alice Walker—–HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
“Stories that come to me in the middle of the night from folks I don’t know. Don’t have nothing to do with me except they know I know how to get a pray through and a story straight.”
Story #2,262.017, Week 8 Reflection – In this calm after last night’s storm, I am reflecting on Mother Earth, Mother of the Water (Mami Wata) and Mother of the Wind (Oya). Much of the conversation this week has been weather-related (the warm winter in the Northeast, the torrential rain in California, the powerful wind whipping across the globe, the summer snow in Hawaii, etc.). In the name of greed and expansion, the Mothers are being subjected to abuse and misuse daily. They warn us in their own beautifully unique and expressive ways, of consequences. A (s)hero of mine, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, professor and political/environmental activist, Dr. Wangari Maathai, understood the language of nature and heeded the call of the Mothers. She founded the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in 1977 after witnessing the severe ecological effects of deforestation in rural Kenya. The water sources were drying up, the land, no longer bound to the earth by the roots of trees, was incapable of holding seed, and food (and by extension, medicine) resources were diminishing. The GBM, under the leadership of Dr. Maathai, worked with the women of Kenya (the cultivators of the earth) to grow and plant saplings. They essentially reforested the land and restored the food and water reserves. Today, the GBM continues to provide income opportunities for rural Kenyan women. To date, more than 51 million trees have been planted in Kenya and there are GBM tree nurseries thriving throughout the entire country. Current projects include the preservation of forests and rainforests globally and climate change programs, protections and policy. Mother Earth, Mother of the Water and Mother of the Wind are sending us messages in their beautifully unique and expressive ways. Are we listening?
Alice The Poet (Alice Nicholas) is a PhD student in the Department of Africology and African American Studies at Temple University. Her research interests include Black Diasporic literature, Black literary theory, Black love and Black liberation. She has presented papers and research at national conferences and cultural festivals. Her articles, essays, poetry and other writings have been published in both scholarly and artistic publications including African American Review, Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America, Imhotep and the Zora Neale Hurston Society. In 1999, she created the10 Million Stories series (collections of poetry, short stories and essays) as a demonstration of self-discipline, self-definition and self-publication. She is currently completing volume 9.
Lulu Artist Spotlight: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/alicethepoet