The Powershift Convergence was an amazing experience. Not only did I get the opportunity to network, learn, and explore Bvlbancha, or New Orleans, but I was able to do so along Shaniqua Gibson, ACE’s Ohio Organizing Manager, and my fellow YAB member Lissie Morales. Powershift was a very inclusive space, tailoring to everyone’s needs and accommodations. Arriving at Powershift, we were greeted by friendly faces. As everyone started to transition into the Introduction room, we were surprised by a band of young native New Orleans jazz musicians. They played all of the favorite songs, ranging from Michael Jackson to Beyoncé — it was a great start to the day.
After introductions, everyone geared their attention toward the Rise St. James panelists. The two founders were ladies who are native to St. James area. The conversation was insightful and motivating to listen to their experience in the climate justice community. One of the ladies explained that she fights everyday to stop big companies from taking over the countryside, St. James area. Both elders worked tirelessly every day to make others aware of the plight and resilience of their communities. While it was rewarding to experience that anyone can join the fight in the climate justice movement, it was saddening to see the toll it takes on individuals within the movement.
Next, I explored the career and opportunity fair. It was full of green job opportunities and companies or organizations representing a wide range of disciplines in the field. There was also plenty of education on digital activism: from social media to articles. Later in the day, I also went to a room that discussed third spaces; how to create them and why they thrive or don’t. In the activity, I spoke with individuals about third spaces in their community — ranging from a community center to a restaurant, there are plenty. This session exposed me to the simplicity in third spaces, and how sacred they are to individuals utilizing them.
Ultimately, I enjoyed powershift because it allowed me to network above all. It was a great space to connect with activists all over the globe. I attended a handful of sessions; I learned how to connect with others in their times of need . I helped create and discuss guidelines for a youth spokescouncil ACE staff member, Tonyisha, is co-creating. This session allowed myself and other attendees to discuss the regulations any climate space should have. Above all, we all recognized and appreciated the opportunity for everyone to have a voice in spaces.
To conclude, I made a lot of connections that will last beyond Powershift. Lissie and I loved exploring New Orleans. The food, activities, and people were amazing. Powershift was a great hands-on learning experience. I learned more about the climate movement and met activists from schools, like HBCU Green Project and even a liaison to the United Nations from Africa. I think Powershift allowed me to realize how many individuals are in this fight, aside from gender, race, and background, we are all aiming to fight in the climate justice movement and become more educated while doing so.
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