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Category Archives: youth

Film makers for a project called California is a Place produced this short film about Scraper Bikes. They showcase the Scraper Bike King of East Oakland, CA and his Captains.  It’s a really uplifting story about Black urban bike culture and how it’s keeping kids out of trouble while simultaneously embracing a green (and fly) mode of transportation.  Check out the video here

These bikes are just one of just one of many types of California bike culture I’m aware of: the lowrider bikes, beach cruisers, fixed gear, etc.  I love the aspect of personalization;  maybe some friendly competition and showmanship will get kids dedicated to biking more.   

(photo via Know Your Meme)

Inner city youth are often cast off as failures and drop outs who cause destruction in their communities. But the Earth Conservation Corps is trying to channel that energy.  They are a youth development and environmental restoration organization based in Southeast Washington D.C. The Corpos employs troubled young adults from the area and puts them to work cleaning up the Anacostia river.  The Anacostia river is not only one of the nation’s most polluted rivers but also runs through one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods; Anacostia.  

Located only a few blocks away from the US Capitol, Anacostia is choked by high crime, poverty, and heavy pollution.  It isn’t surprising that the river has just as many problems. About 20,000 tons of trash are dumped in the river each year and every time it rains in the district, raw sewage overflows into the river resulting in a total of two billion gallons of raw sewage every year.  

Corps members, who often come from criminal backgrounds, clean up debris, educate community youth about native wildlife and the environment, and investigate to find pollution sources.  Over 400 students have graduated from the Earth Conservation Corps. While in the program, members are paid minimum wage, given health insurance, and receive a $5,000 scholarship if they choose to go onto college. 

But they can’t save everyone. The Earth Conservation Corps has lost at least one member each year, many of which were the result of violence.  Diamond Teague, a 19 year old who completed 7 months in the ECC was murdered in 2003.  He was shot in the head while he was sitting on his front porch.  Another member, Aaron Teeter, was a high school dropout and former drug dealer before he joined ECC.  When he became a member, he became interested in journalism and video making.  But he too was shot in the head while sitting on his front stoop.   

The Earth Conservation Corps now documents all of it’s activities on video in hopes to tell the world about not only the environmental injustice in Anacostia but also the harsh realities young adults face every day.

Photo courtesy of Ali Sanders

John Asante

 I’ve been producing these 30-second “audio postcards” for a segment on Atlanta Public Radio, WABE. Each story highlights a person participating in a cultural event, a hobby, their own job, or telling the oral history of an Atlantan landmark.  In this “Atlanta Sounds,” my editor, Dave Barasoain, visited Smoke Rise Elementary in Stone Mountain, GA and asked some 3rd and 4th grade students about the right and wrong way to wash your hands. By “right way” and “wrong way,” the kids refer to the amount of water being going down the drain.  

When I was a kid, Nickelodeon’s “Big (Green) Help” turned me onto water conservation.  I’m not sure where these kids are hearing the message today, but they clearly get it.  Recently I’ve been visiting a few Clean Air Campaign-affiliated schools and speaking with students just like the ones you hear here.  Can’t wait.


Photo by jendayee