“As someone who didn’t have support when navigating the environmental field, I asked myself who I wanted to be for others, and that’s an educator.” – Isaias Hernandez
Our online summer program is off to a wonderful start! We wanted to design a digital program that directly addressed creativity, sustainability and social justice, while also providing less-visible voices in the environmental movement an opportunity to share their work with a broader audience – enter: Intersections!
We launched last week with our first guest speaker, Isaias Hernandez of Queer Brown Vegan! He joined our Executive Director, Chrissy Spehar in a live chat via Instagram for a really lively and engaging conversation on topics ranging from graphic design, virtual activism via social media and models for environmentalism that go beyond just a trendy “eco-friendly lifestyle.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Isaias experienced environmentalism from a different angle as a low-income person of color, and explained that much of his activist roots stem from the frustrations and invisibility he experienced growing up. He recently gained his degree in Environmental Science at UC Berkeley, and has been doing diversity inclusion activism, academic research, and creative work in environmental spaces since then. Isaias talked with us about co-creating Alluvia Magazine, which highlights BIPOC environmentalists through visuals and storytelling about climate justice. Later, he started the Queer Brown Vegan page and blog intentionally as an educational resource and safe space for like-minded folks to learn terms and concepts from the environmental movement while empowering them to take action.
He explained to Chrissy that back in college, he often struggled to connect complex terminologies and concepts together. Upon graduating, he realized how important it was to simplify and breakdown each term to help improve others’ understanding and knowledge of eco-justice. Isaias’ mission now is to amplify other voices and delve deeper into sustainability and environmentalism – especially where contextual histories have been oversimplified, white-washed, or even erased entirely.
You can access the whole interview with Isaias on our IGTV if you missed it, and be sure to follow Queer Brown Vegan for approachable information on topics like veganism, zero-waste, eco-justice for info on his upcoming projects.
P.S Make sure you’ve got your calendar set for 10am PST – every Wednesday in July we’re going to be hopping on Instagram and chatting with more amazing folks!
Over the last few weeks, we have dedicated much of this pivotal time to learning about the anti-racism movement, and how we can support these efforts from within our small organization. We have pledged to continue standing in solidarity with the activists & protestors of Black Lives Matter and are committed to continual education and unlearning of unconscious racism.
This is an important time to remember that environmentalism and activism do not exist in a vacuum, and neither does art. Our work has always been found at the intersection of creativity, sustainability and social justice. We work hard to design programs that provide vulnerable populations free, artistic opportunities focused on improving their communities and amplifying their creative voices.
In that same spirit of intersectional, creative sustainability…we’re excited to share our summer program with you!
INTERSECTIONS is a new online program from RuckusRoots that aims to amplify the voices of local artists, activists and scientists – with a focus on BIPOC communities.
We’re inviting all folks involved in the intersectional environmentalism movement to open their studios/workspaces to our community this summer (virtually, of course!) You’ll get to know each featured guest and learn about their work via Instagram Live all summer long. Pretty cool, right? We’re so excited to share the work of so many incredible voices!
If you or someone you know is an activist, visual artist, urban gardener, community organizer, writer, or other professional working towards equality and sustainability – contact us for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Hi RuckusRoots friends and family! It’s time for another program update…
If you’ve been keeping up with us via email or on the ‘gram, you’ll know that our TRASHFORMATION collaboration with FEAST For All went through a bit of an evolution this spring, as we were met with the COVID-19 crisis just one week into the start of the program! Our initial plan was to create an on-site mural installation made from collaged food packaging in our weekly workshops with Teaching Artist, Allegra Bick-Maurischat. As Feast for All’s mission is to make cooking classes, nutritional education and fresh produce accessible to low-income families at their SouthCentral L.A location, we designed a mural inspired by seasonal fruits and veggies for our project with them. But when the pandemic hit Los Angeles mid-March, we quickly canceled these in-person workshops and hopped online!
Our iteration of the above program turned into Food for Thought – a free, weekly Zoom class where Allegra taught different collaging techniques to participants using recycled food packaging as material inspiration. Each week, we had local vegan chef, Carmen Karlsgodt come on to chat with us about a seasonal fruit or vegetable and share a recipe using that item for the participants to try at home with their families. We then focused our creative project for the day using that same fruit or veggie as our inspiration! The kids (and adults) who joined in each week learned to combine creative re-use with traditional design skills like pattern, color and texture into mixed media works of art. At the end of our sessions together, we all had individual Spring/Summer Harvest-of-the-Month Food Calendars featuring items like artichokes, strawberries, cucumbers and more! So much tasty seasonal goodness 😋
While there was certainly a learning curve when it came to moving things online, these workshops quickly became the highlight of our week – providing an opportunity to connect with members of our community and make art together in a new digital space. We had kids and families participating from across the country, friends and supporters dropping in just to say hi and get creative, and new folks joining the workshops up until the last session!
A quick shoutout to our program funders at the California Arts Council and the L.A Department of Cultural Affairs as well as our partner Feast for All! Thanks for all the support as we quickly adjusted to the times, and got this program up and running online! Now, more than ever, we feel very blessed for the ability to continue providing free and accessible programming to our community, and it’s our plan to keep doing just that by bringing you more online content in the coming months.
P.S if you missed these Food for Thought workshops, or just want to continue creating with us at home, Allegra designed these downloadable coloring book pages inspired by artwork from the classes! Each of these six Spring/Summer Harvest-of-the-Month Calendar includes a coloring page and the recipe for that month! Check them out 😉
In keeping with safety recommendations for the City of Los Angeles to curb the spread of COVID-19, we have canceled all of our in-person programming and events through April. But our spirits are high, and we’re so inspired to see all the incredible ways the community is coming together during this time!
Read on to learn how we’re adjusting to stay connected and creative…
In light of recent news, we’ve changed the format of our spring TRASHformation workshops with FEAST For All. Until further notice, you’ll be able to login via ZOOM each Wednesday at 3pm to create recycled art with Allegra – for free!
Once registered, you’ll receive a link you can access on your computer or smartphone using your browser or the Zoom App. You do not need to create a Zoom profile to participate!
We’ll be creating calendars – each month inspired by the seasonal produce available during that time of year – all using recycled materials found in our homes! This is not only a great way to occupy those stir-crazy kiddos for an hour or so, but also a wonderful opportunity to simply be together and create a sense of community during this challenging time. The workshops will be geared towards school-aged children, but all are welcome to join in the fun and benefit from the activity!
Check out what one of our high school interns, Anthony, has to say about his experience so far with RuckusRoots…
As part of our RuckusRoots internship, one of our main goals is to reduce waste, become aware about waste consumption and where it goes. We scope out the neighborhood and surrounding areas to look for trash. We identify what type of waste they fall under. We went out and talked to different businesses about their waste buildup. We got to see the differences between neighborhoods and how their trash buildup compares to different areas. On one particular day, we went along the LA river in the Frogtown area and cleaned up the trash around there. (Pictured below is the data we collected that reflects the types of waste we found!) We are also learning about how trash can be repurposed into other things for different uses, as RuckusRoots has programs at schools to teach the younger students about waste reduction. I am looking forward to visiting classrooms to teach kids about their waste and how to reduce it!
So far, we’ve learned:
About the different types of trash and the many materials they are made of
Ways of using alternatives to reduce our waste on disposable objects such as reusable water bottles
All bout the life cycle of trash – from product to waste and pollution that ends up on around our neighborhoods
How to design graphs about the data we collect and input the information
How to create surveys to collect information and accurately assess data
The process of making a change in our community by taking action
The many resources that available to locals who want to make changes in our area
I like the Ruckus Roots internship because it has made me more aware about my trash consumption and how much waste I produce. I’ve learned about the cycle that trash goes through and the many ways it pollutes our communities. I’ve learned how to contribute towards reducing my neighborhood’s waste and trash buildup. Overall, being an intern here has helped me reduce my waste and become more sensible about how much trash I’m producing. I’m glad I got the opportunity to have Ruckus Roots as my internship.