'No Climate Justice Without Racial Justice': Rev. Yearwood and Leo Cerda with Tracy Rector

May 10, 2023 Nia Tero Season 3 Episode 4
'No Climate Justice Without Racial Justice': Rev. Yearwood and Leo Cerda with Tracy Rector
Show Notes Transcript

We’re asserting joy in this conversation about Black and Indigenous solidarity work in the climate justice movement. Seedcast’s Executive Producer Tracy Rector talks with global leaders who are connecting Black and Indigenous communities in their shared work toward building a healthier society and Earth for all. Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. is President and CEO of U.S.-based Hip Hop Caucus, which activates the Hip Hop community to create racial justice, healthy communities, and a sustainable planet. Leo Cerda (Kichwa from the community of Serena in the Ecuadorian Amazon) is at the center of global climate change and Indigenous rights conversations as the creator of the Black Indigenous Liberation Movement, a coalition of collectives, peoples, grassroots organizations, and social movements across Turtle Island and Abya Yala (North and South America) counteracting racism, discrimination, violence, colonialism, extractive industries and the ravages of racial capitalism. 

Hosts: Jessica Ramirez & Tracy Rector. Producer: Stina Hamlin. Story Editor: Tracy Rector 


Seedcast is a production of Nia Tero, a global nonprofit which supports Indigenous land guardianship around the world through policy, partnership, and storytelling initiatives.

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'No Climate Justice Without Racial Justice': Rev. Yearwood and Leo Cerda with Tracy Rector

Seedcast Season 3 Episode 4

May 10, 2023

[Jessica and Tracy laughing together] 

[00:00:00] Jessica: Okay, here we go! 

[00:00:01] Tracy: A little too excited for this convo!

[theme music begins, plays in the background]

[00:00:18] Jessica Ramirez: Hi, I’m Jessica Ramirez, your host of Seedcast. This episode is about Black and Indigenous experiences; how solidarity within the movements addressing climate change are essential to the wellbeing of our planet. Today we will hear from Seedcast Executive Producer Tracy Rector in conversation with Rev Yearwood, founder of Hip Hop Caucus; and Leo Cerda, co-creator of Black and Indigenous Liberation Movement.

Theme song by Mia Kami: We are standing, hear our calling, we are rooted to the ground we’re here to stay. No staying quiet, we stand united, we are rooted to the ground, can't tear us down, we’re here to stay…

[00:01:12] Jessica: Before we jump into the conversation, I want to talk to Tracy about the importance of Black and Indigenous solidarity, and understand more about what it means to her. Tracy is the Executive Producer of Seedcast, and also the Managing Director of Storytelling at Nia Tero, and she's my boss. She's a mixed-heritage person and has been an activist in the climate movement for over 35 years as a filmmaker and community organizer.

Hey Tracy, welcome to Seedcast! 

[00:01:42] Tracy Rector: Hey Jessica. Thank you. I'm really happy to be here with you today.

[00:01:46] Jessica: I'm so happy you're with me too! We're going to get to hear a lot from you, which is really fun because you're usually behind the scenes, and I know it's a shift for you to be on the mic.

[Tracy laughs, and Jessica laughs with her]

 When we were planning out the episodes for Season 3 of Seedcast, you brought this to the team as a subject area that you really wanted us to cover.

 What is Black and Indigenous solidarity? 

[00:02:10] Tracy: For me, Black and Indigenous solidarity is an important shift in consciousness, socially. Both groups—which oftentimes overlap too; there are many people who are Afro-Indigenous as well—are realizing that it's time to work together, build bridges, and draw from shared lived experiences for a better future for all people. And I think about the shared goals that we must have if we are in fact going to address the climate crisis. We need to learn to work together and not be divided. Division is what the oppressors want, and Black and Indigenous solidarity work is an antidote to capitalism, to oppression, to systemic principles that have kept us apart, and it's essential for future generations. 

[00:03:17] Jessica: So this is a big deal, right? It's like a big deal to see two groups of peoples come together and say that we are enough. We have the skill, we have the knowledge, we have the tools to work together and be in dialogue with each other, and that's really powerful! And that is the antidote, right?  

[00:03:41] Tracy: Absolutely.

[00:03:43] Jessica: I am excited to hear more from everyone. Thanks, Tracy. 

[00:03:46] Tracy: Thanks, Jess.

[piano music that sounds like an old record plays, transitions into a hip hop track]

[00:04:13] Tracy: Hey everyone. It's good to be here with you today!

[upbeat hip hop music plays in the background]

[00:04:17] Leo Cerda: Thank you, Tracy. Likewise. 

[00:04:19] Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr: Yeah, so good to see you. 

[00:04:21] Tracy: We are talking about the importance of Indigenous and Black liberation in this moment of time, especially in relationship to social justice and addressing climate change. And both of you, I've been following your work. I've been in spaces with you and have admired the way you hold yourselves and the way you build community together. So, I am hoping that we can just talk about that today and just have some time to share some tools too, and the way the work can look, and has worked for each of you in your own way. Because I think people are looking for solutions. Actually, I know people are. And sometimes that's just some seeds of knowledge, right? Planting some seeds, and recognizing how the work is taking shape.

[upbeat music continues]

[00:05:16] Leo: Hello, I am Leo Cerda. I am Kichwa from the community of Serena in the Ecuadorian Amazon. I consider myself to be an Indigenous creative land defender. I am one of the founders of the Black Indigenous Liberation Movement. We fight for climate justice with racial justice, because we believe that there is no climate justice without racial justice. So we bring along communities from all over the Abya Yala on this continent together to talk about solidarity, and how to move our movement forward, and create these spaces in which we seek the liberation of our brothers and sisters from Black communities, and the communities from the African diaspora in the Americas; and sovereignty for Indigenous communities, because a lot of our problems are similar and our communities have been devastated by similar impact. So I think that together we're stronger, and that if we continue to work together, we'll find liberation of our peoples and the sovereignty that our communities need for our self-determination.

[00:06:42] Reverend Yearwood (Rev): I'm Rev Yearwood, and I am from Louisiana on Turtle Island, and I am the President and the CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, which is based in both Washington DC, and Los Angeles—the other LA, not the real LA, I say from Louisiana; but the other LA. The Hip Hop Caucus turns 19 this year, and when Hurricane Katrina hit almost 18 years ago, we were right there, and we've done many things I would say from the cultural side. We've done things from the campaign and advocacy side. We've done stuff from the demonstration side. We've all thrown down [on] the streets. We've been arrested a couple times. And we got involved in this simply because we saw that in the richest country in the world primarily Black, brown, Indigenous, and poor white people were left behind to die. And so that was key for us, that this climate crisis is one that impacts and affects first and worst—those are people of color. But now even more so, we've seen that this struggle isn't just for those of us on Turtle Island, and we've linked our struggle to those across the globe and across this world. And we are with our family who are on the continent, and the Caribbean, and the Global South, and throughout this world.

And so that's the thing, that's the great thing about the culture of hip hop, that we were able to really connect ourselves and so we are able to use our cultural expression that’s been shaped by our political experience. And that's where we are now. So I'm just really honored to discuss how we can broaden our movement, and have real talk.

[00:08:19] Tracy: Thank you, Rev. I recognize the power of hip hop, the power of music, the power of art in broadening the opportunities for people of color to participate in social justice and the protection of our cultural, environmental futures. We are communities that have been often disregarded, misunderstood, left aside, not invited in. And the work that you do, it's amazing to me as a person of color because I feel seen, I feel welcomed in. I feel part of something.

[upbeat guitar music plays]

Leo, the work that you have done to bridge between—not only the Global South and the Global North, but between Indigenous Black people, it's necessary. And this is the time, this is the moment this is how we need to be leveraging our resources together to do the work. Can you share a bit more about what inspired you to reach out and to build with Black communities?

[00:09:41] Leo: Well first of all, we need to tear down white supremacy, settler colonialism, racial capitalism because it's the system that is oppressing us. And that same system that has dispossessed Indigenous territories, that enslaved our brothers and sisters, have divided us, because we are facing similar problems. And instead of demanding systemic change, the system has made for us to pull us apart and confront each other. And for me, like growing up and seeing that it was like, what is the best way? Together I think we're stronger. 

We need to have spaces just to think. I think that is the very first step because we need to think outside the institutions that oppress us. We need systemic change because our oppressors have their institutions, their ideologies, and we need to think outside that. I’ve been an advocate for Indigenous rights my whole life. But after seeing what is happening in Brazil, you know, the racial struggle is huge, you know, Brazil, Ecuador, Latin American in the US—what happened with George Floyd, what happened with Ferguson. It was like, why is the climate movement not talking about the racial issue? Because that is the main thing that has oppressed our peoples. Why aren't we talking about this? Why we don't talk about Black liberation, Indigenous sovereignty, LandBack, how we can move forward? Because a lot of the time, people think that who is the one who's suffering the most—it's not that. We need to think about how we take that and we know our history and move through that trauma, because we need those spaces to heal trauma, and then move forward to envision the future that we want. And how we do that is by starting the conversation. And that's why I think we need those spaces, those safe spaces, in order to do that. We are the ones that can create those spaces for ourselves. So I think that is the first thing. 

And the second thing is just like, dream together. Talk about liberation, talk about Indigenous urbanity, talk about LandBack, talk about the projects within our communities, because as the Reverend said, like, yes, we do advocacy. But the only thing is, as I see with the Hip Hop Caucus, is the creativity, the music, the imagination that we need. Because we can be in the streets, but we can also create things together—art, dancing, music, medicine—to heal our communities. We need to find what is the right approach for our communities and then flourish, move forward in solidarity. Because if we're not in solidarity with each other, there is nobody that will do it for us. And sometimes I feel like we have forgotten that we are the civil society that can make that change happen.

[00:12:42] Rev: I love that. Toni Cade Bambara said it best. She says that sometimes our imagination is colonized. And so what Leo is saying is so important, because many times we allow ourselves to allow for the colonizer to take our imagination, our spirit, our joy, away. And we have to take it back. And matter of fact, we can't give it to them in the first place, to be honest. And so we have to start there. And I think we have to imagine what it looks like to do this work, to save us without anybody else. And I think that's an important piece of this. I think many of us are now beginning to create institutions, and create coalitions, and create safe spaces in which we can come in our terms and our way.

The one thing that I'm always amazed, and I've been amazed in this movement since Hurricane Katrina up until now, you know, me being from Louisiana, all we do is have music down in New Orleans. And I mean that’s what nobody, I mean, between us and Brazil, I mean, you wanna find a carnival or a Mardi Gras, now you about as good as it's gonna get. I mean, you might wanna find—maybe Trinidad can get on the list there, but I don't know who else can get on that list. But, I'll just say this, that in that aspect, I'm always amazed at how people do not use music, and art, food, poetry, dance. Love. Just loving our sisters and brothers together, just having a spirit where people feel comfortable, where they feel safe, they feel invited. They feel like they are at family. They, I don't—I never seen something with a soul just so bland and so just not—and I'm always wondering why they're always trying to say we need to broaden the movement. I can see why.

In my many years of doing this work, the one thing that I have realized too, the larger climate movement will have said they want culture. “We want culture. No, we want that Rev, we want that!” And, but, in reality, it's a little bit being disingenuous because they have their own culture. And they're not honest about that. It's that mentality that you're not actually comfortable with the genius and the culture of other communities. And that's the one thing that I think that as a movement now, because we're now, this is—the climate crisis is real and we're dealing with a serious adversary with the fossil fuel industry. Ones whose business plan means a death sentence for our communities. So when you're dealing with something when they're literally—how they make money is based on your death—you're dealing with something that you have to take very, very seriously. They are okay with us crying over the casket. They are okay with cutting down our forests and our trees. They are okay with us being polluted and not having clean air and clean water. And when you're dealing with something that is okay with that kind of madness, you have to know that even—we've had victories in the past. We've overcome so many things throughout centuries of things we've overcome. We are now dealing with a global foe that is intent not only on our destruction, but on their own suicidal mission. And so I think that we now have to dig in our Indigenous cultures, every tool in our toolbox to take down that Goliath. 

[00:16:27] Tracy: I feel oftentimes that we are dispensable casualties, yet at the same time we're being tokenized. Right? I mean, how often are either one of you called up into movement spaces by well-meaning greenwashed organizations? Because there is that certain aspect of your presence that lends validity, and it's that picture moment, that opportunity, that photo op. 

[00:16:52] Rev: Go ahead, Leo. You asked, I see you took a breath on that. Go ahead. 

[everyone laughs]

You can exhale on that one. I saw you, I told you. That’s why I tell you inhale, you can exhale on that one!

[00:17:04] Leo: As we said before, the system, the corporations, they commodify and profit from our oppression. So the whole system is built up on that because like we're, we're entering this chat right now—that's what they think. But we bring creative systems to protect Mother Earth, to create medicine, to steward our land, to be the guardians of the planet. And they just said, “Oh, Indigenous people just entered this chat.” Like we've been already doing that! And I think as communities, we certainly need to think about this. Like how to dismantle the system, because the system eats on and profits from our oppression. And I think we need to be aware of that. And I think that is why we are in capacity to drive our own future, and that's why we have organizations like the Hip Hop Caucus, the Black Indigenous Liberation. Because in my communities, I have my own organization in my community, and we are moving our projects forward with our vision, and we are the ones who know what we need in our community.

But most oftentimes they said, “No. Indigenous people can't do it.” And we shouldn't have to demonstrate that we are the ones that can drive our movement forward. We have to fund directly our institutions, our organizations, our communities, because we are the ones that know. And governments, organizations, have to fund Black and Indigenous communities directly.

[00:18:42] Rev: Yeah. So that's a heavy thing right there, right? ‘Cause this is, obviously, this is chess, not checkers. The first thing I gotta say to my brothers and sisters and my nonbinary cousins out there, if you're Black, Brown, Indigenous, person of color that you were not created just to be a person of color in a higher place to make other folks happy. If for some reason you've been blessed to be in that position, you've been blessed there to make sure to transfer, to pass along information. I'm being serious here. A lot of our folks are here trying to be celebrities in this movement. And a lot of y'all just up here happy and you will go here thinking your role is to be some kind of translator. We don't need you to be a translator. We need you to be a freedom fighter, to be in that position, to know your role. So if you are working for an entity, whatever it may be—a foundation, might be a non-governmental organization, some civil society in government—you're there. You were given a gift. You survived the trauma. You survived, when others of us didn't survive, to be in that position. I'm just gonna make sure to speak to them first, ‘cause they are very important in this equation. But if you're in a position for some reason, you should be able to pass along information so that other groups, other coalitions, can grow. And that's important in that process. 

The other thing here is that we have to get resources to use them to build up funding and financing our own organizations. We're funding and financing our own movements. And that's important because until you have your own, you ain't got nothing. 

[EXTRA: Rev Yearwood recommends the book ‘The Spook that Sat by the Door,’ by Sam Greenlee]

And so I think that's the next step to this, is that we have to make sure we have that, and we're actually seeing that. But we can be in the situation where we can be funding our movement and be authentic. And I'm saying all this because I said there's three things there. One, for those of us who are in the movement to recognize why you're there. Two, that we understand there are people who can come into this movement, who will not be respected, and we have to be there for them. And three, if there are those who can bring money to the movement, how can we then work with them so that movement is really going to our liberation. We have to highlight and look at ourselves in this movement, too, and be like, why is it—again, to the point of Toni Cade Bambara—why is it that the imagination is being colonized, and can we ourselves break that? 

[00:21:18] Tracy: I love that you bring so many ancestors into this space, Rev, because I think—and I know that's how we roll, right? As Black, Brown, Indigenous peoples—we know that we are here because of the service, and the sacrifices, our ancestors have made to allow us to step up and use our voices, use our bodies, use our minds to make change.

[upbeat hip hop music plays]

Leo, you recently—I believe it was in the fall of 2022—had a Black and Indigenous Liberation Conference where you brought voices together. You know, in the way that we're talking how revolutionary it is, just to even have a small conversation like this, the impact that has. You brought many people together. 

[00:22:25] Leo: Yeah, we did the first ever Black and Indigenous Congress in Ecuador. Ecuador is like the middle of the world. So basically we decided to go there, and we brought people from 22 countries to just talk about: What is Black liberation? What is Indigenous sovereignty? What is solidarity between Black and Indigenous peoples? And one of the things that we have from that is that first, we need those spaces. And second of all, we were thinking about like, how to organize ourselves. That was the main thing because we got a funder and the funder was like, “Oh, I would love to see a structure, like a president, vice president, blah, blah, blah.” And I was talking with the people in the congress and it was so funny because we said, “Okay.” We did the whole structure and we were about to approve that, and then at the end everybody was like, “Why are we doing this? Why do we have to attain to the same system that everybody does?” These conversations that we're having are beautiful and we don't need to attain to their structures. We need to think outside the oppressor's perspectives and the institutions.

The thing with the Black Indigenous Liberation Movement—and there's like a lot of people from the south, you know, these conversations are happening from organizations coming from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador; we have people from Canada, we have people from the US. We are bringing the light from the south to the north, and vice versa, and connecting us, because Turtle Island is huge, and we have different perspectives. We believe that Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty are compatible, you know, against white supremacist white colonialism. And we need to find ways to dismantle that, and one of those ways is through creativity and imagination. Amber [Starks], she's an author and she usually says, we need to envision a world more brilliant than our oppressors plan for us. 

[00:024:41] Tracy: We are at a time where we're having these conversations, where we're creating our own realities, and we hear that in Indigenous Futurisms, Black Futurisms—the assertion of joy, the assertion of promoting our successes, talking about our powerful selves. And people are starting to feel uncomfortable, the dominant culture is feeling uncomfortable; and so we're seeing a backlash because people are feeling it and they're taking action. We've heard from people that Black and Indigenous solidarity and co-liberation, this movement, this thinking, these methodologies are happening now. And in your own experience, what's some advice you might offer to people who want to begin these conversations? 

[00:25:30] Rev: Well, I would say this. One, I'm so excited that we are having this conversation in regards to Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty. I think that it's one that isn't new. It has been around forever. We have seen that throughout the generations of freedom fighters. So we just want to make sure that we don't forget about the ancestors who were doing this for years.

I think the key thing there is this, we need to first and foremost begin to simply organize and gather us together. Leo said it best. Those gatherings are so important, and if it's five, 15, 500, whatever it is, we need to continuously be bringing us together. That's important. Because I think that we need to see one another, and feel one another. And it's, there's particularly, we're getting more virtual in this kind of movement style. We need to make sure we can feel one another and see, and see people fill the room with energy. I think that's important. So the gathering, continuing to have gatherings, and supporting those gatherings. 

The next thing, I think for the next step is, is really to begin to have the conversation that challenges our movement. I think we mentioned this call about philanthropy. We had that about resources. For those who don't think that this is real, I just wanna give them a stat. The New School did a study back in 2017 in which they studied 12 environmental foundations, and out of those 12 foundations, they gave out $1.3 billion in a one year span, and out of that $1.3 billion, only 1.3% of that went to BIPOC and Indigenous organizations. And so that right there shows you that while we are calling for a Justice 40, we don't even got a Justice 1% really, in our own movement. So we need to call it out. And so post-George Floyd and post-Breonna Taylor and post-Berta Cáceres, and post-those who've been killed in the movement; we have to continue to lift up those voices. 

[00:27:35] Rev: The next thing I think is this. I do think that we need to have really strong political education seminars that are very important. I do think that we have a movement that needs that education; that they need to know how to fight what they're fighting against. I don't want to set up people to be put in positions where they are hurt in the long run, they're getting out front in a movement. Because we are dealing with a foe that literally will do everything to keep its bottom line. And we've seen that from Berta Cáceres and Tort [Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, known as Tortuguita] and many others. They will go as far as to literally assassinate and kill climate defenders—particularly across the globe, but now even on Turtle Island. So I just wanna lift that up, that we have to have political education so we’re not putting young people particularly, or people in our movement, in a position where they're hurting. 

And then finally, we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. What I mean by that is this, I have so many friends who have not enjoyed themselves in this movement and have gone on to become ancestors; bitter, cynical and jaded. We can't forget to have joy. The most important thing that will drive our enemy mad will be to see us happy, see us fighting a revolution with a smile on our face, see us with our fist in the air and laughing and chanting. We will use the foolish things to confound the wise. We will use our power and our energy to change things. I think that's one thing we have to do. I have seen so many elders who are just broken down, bitter, because they are so upset. They were just all work, work, work; freedom fighting, freedom fighting, freedom, fighting; all day every day, 24/7. Do not allow that to be. If you do nothing else in this movement. Please incorporate joy and self-care in your process.

[00:29:40] Leo: Most oftentimes as activists, we get burned out. When I come into the, like that tipping point, it's like, okay I need to go back to my village, recharge, be in community, be in the river, be in connection with nature, and take some time. I think what a lot of people fail, and like advocates, is like “Oh, I want to reach out to a million people!” If you cannot reach out to your own community, why you want to reach out to a million people? So that's the first thing. We need to start [at] home and start with your family, with your cousins, with your friends, with your relatives, and then we can grow the movement together. When people ask me like, “What should I do?” I was like, “What are you doing in your home? What are you doing with your neighbors? What are you doing with your city? And then we can start a conversation, and then we can start real change.” This is a collective work. You know this like anything that we want to accomplish for the future is not gonna be done by one person or by one organization. It’s going to be done by the collective work.

[00:30:49] Tracy: I love that. I hear in what you're saying, Leo, and also what you mentioned, Rev, is that for those of us who've been doing this work, it's encouraging—sharing of knowledge, sharing of experience, creating spaces of co-learning, creating educational opportunities, training, help prepare people for the work that's to come. And that doesn't happen alone. That happens in community. And we all have a different set of skills, tools, lived experiences to help foster a holistic way of education—now, and for future generations—that's not built on systematic impossibilities to overcome. We are able to—and we have the ability—to create anew, and to envision a better future and to manifest a future that holds all of us and holds seven generations forward.

[00:31:44] Rev: That's right. That's right. And that's key. Because I love y'all. I love it. I mean, I love my allies, my freedom fighters. But I really do love you. This is not a game, so we need us to do well. And I would much rather us fight and be happy and lose, than be like, “Well, listen, y'all gonna have some dirty water. Y'all gonna have some dirty air. I'm sorry. We fought hard, too, we wasn’t makin’ it but we did.” We can have both. We can fight for clean air and clean water, and we can have joy. We can do well, and also we can make sure activists and people in this movement can be taken care of. That's the thing about this main thing, people can be okay. There's no right to passage. That's not what this is about. Our goal is to stop white supremacy and the mechanism they're using to kill our people. That's it. That's our mission. And if we use our joy and our power, and our love, our spirituality, our essence, who we are; then we can win. That's actually the funny thing about this. Who we are is actually our best tool. Let's let your light be a joy so folks can be, “What are you fighting for?” “I'm fighting for our liberation. I'm fighting for our freedom and we gonna win.”

[upbeat hip hop music plays]

[00:33:17] Tracy: Whew! That was a good conversation! 

[00:33:19] Jessica: Yay. Let's do it. Wooo! Let's win together!

[Jessica and Tracy clap, snap their fingers, and laugh together]

[00:33:28] Jessica: It was really cool to hear from both Leo and Rev Yearwood about what is happening for them, the spaces that they are creating. I wanna know for you, how are you witnessing the tangible ways that solidarity is happening on the ground? 

[00:33:48] Tracy: This solidarity work is invigorating, it's inspiring, it centers the realities of those who are on the front lines of being impacted by the climate crisis. And I'm just seeing that the tone and the conversations are changing, because the people who are directly impacted by the climate crisis are now becoming part of the conversations, and unapologetically so—not part of the conversations to benefit those who are in power, or who are dominant culture to feel like, “Yay, we've done a good job, we've invited these people to this space.” No. Black and Indigenous solidarity looks like creating new spaces, having new conversations and being real. There's no time to wait, and we need to join together to make a shift. 

[00:34:43] Jessica: So being a part of the conversations and then, I mean, that's just one piece of it, but to be centered is just as vital. What can people do to support their work? 

[00:00:00] Tracy: Look up Hip Hop Caucus. Look up Black and Indigenous Liberation Movement online. Check out the events that they are organizing in months to come, in the years to come. Make sure to financially support Black and Indigenous-led organizations and movement work. Resources are needed to ensure the sustainability of these movements. And you know, if you're a person who is learning to become an ally in this work, show up to their events, volunteer, be humble, and give what you can whether it's time, financial resources. Learn to understand about why it's so important for those who are most impacted by the climate crisis to be centered in the conversations.

[theme music begins, and plays in the background]

[00:35:55] Jessica: Thanks to Tracy Rector. And special thanks to our guests, Rev Lennox Yearwood Jr. and Leo Cerda. To learn more about The Hip Hop Caucus, go to and visit to follow their work. Remember to check out our show notes for a deeper dive into topics mentioned in this episode.

[00:36:17] Tracy: This episode was produced and edited by Stina Hamlin. Our story editor was Tracy Rector. Oh! Wait! That's me! [laughs] And the sound mix is by Jenny Asarnow. 

[00:36:30] Jessica: Nia Tero is a Seattle-based foundation. We're both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples with a mission to secure Indigenous guardianship for all vital ecosystems. That means we provide support to Indigenous peoples globally who are protecting their homelands from colonization and destruction. Their practices are one of our best guides for making Earth livable for generations to come. 

[00:36:54] Tracy: Here at Seedcast, our guests represent themselves. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Nia Tero. We honor their honest perspectives and lived experiences. And you can learn more about Seedcast, and about our work at Nia Tero, on our website,

[00:37:13] Jessica: And Seedcast is on Instagram, and this is new for us! So go find us, @niatero_seedcast, and please subscribe to Seedcast on your favorite podcast platform to keep up with new episodes this season.

Our Executive Producer is Tracy Rector. Our Senior Producer is Jenny Asarnow. Our consulting producers are Julie Keck and Stina Hamlin. Our fact checker is Romin Lee Johnson. Our social media is by Nancy Kelsey. Our transcripts are by Sharon Arnold. The Seedcast theme song is Rooted by Mia Kami. I'm your host, Jessica Ramirez.

[00:37:50] Tracy: Thank you, Jessica! 

Theme song “Rooted” by Mia Kami: Like the wind we still move, like the waves we rise high, like the sun we never die. No staying quiet, we stand united, we are rooted to the ground, can’t tear us down. We’re here to stay…