Heather McTeer Toney
Heather McTeer Toney (Photo credit: Moms Clean Air Force / Flickr)

Today is the third day of Kwanzaa.

“For me personally, it’s a period of reflection, of preparation, of really centering myself in my culture and my spirituality and celebrating African Americans,” says Heather McTeer Toney, senior director at Mom’s Clean Air Force.

As an environmental activist, she takes time during Kwanzaa to celebrate ways African Americans are taking climate action, and she reflects on how their efforts embody the holiday’s seven principles.

For example, she says Green the Church – a group that mobilizes black congregations to fight climate change – demonstrates Imani or faith in action.

Fresh Start Farms, a co-op of immigrant and refugee farmers in New Hampshire, shows Umoja – or unity.

And she says Ujima – collective work – is exemplified by the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.

The nonprofit was started by community members who came together to reduce stormwater flooding. They helped residents collect water samples and protected local green space.

McTeer Toney says it’s “truly a real-life example of not only collective work, but the responsibility that we all feel to take care of our environment and to take care of each other at the same time.”

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Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Religion & Morality