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Meet Thought Leader, Dominque Drakeford

Raised in Oakland but residing in Brooklyn, Dominique Drakeford is a thought-leader harnessing her Leo energy to disrupt un-sustainable systems while simultaneously celebrating her Blackness. With a BA in Business Environmental Management and a Master’s Degree from NYU in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Fashion, she has been a non-traditional environmental justice and sustainability educator for the past 10+ years. Additionally, as an impact influencer, she stylishly works at the intersection of sustainability and lifestyle to bring a fresh perspective to indie and global brands to heal our relationship with Earth and spark equitable change. By building workshops, creating youth based curriculums and and sharing through creative story-telling outlets, Dominique creates an accessible framework, specifically for how the Black diaspora absorbs information, gains clarity and becomes more sustainability liberated. Most importantly, as a mother, Dominique has has intentionally become a lifelong student and teacher for building a mosaic of local sustainable eco-systems.

What are you working on right now?

Over the next few months I am giving a series of workshops around sustainability / sustainable fashion emphasizing the root issues in the system as it relates to race and exploitation while highlighting the Black diaspora as vanguards of sustainability throughout history! Additionally, I'm part of a local collective (via Sustainable Brooklyn) that's developing an accountability tech tool so that businesses prioritize the the safety, comfort and agency of Black consumers. Additionally - I'm working with Conscious Chatter to develop a digital fashion program that redefines circularity and supply chain accountability. Lastly - I'm a new mom to my 7 month old so - so my fiancè and I are working on balance, self care and beautiful moments of family time.

What made you passionate about doing this work and what is your 'why'?

The global climate crisis not only affects planetary health but disproportionately affects Black and brown communities in various ways. But also Black/ Brown Indigenous communities have been leading sustainable and regenerative philosophies and practices with very little agency in the scope of larger movements. Our art, educational expertise, innovations, front line leadership, sustainable small business development and preservation ethos all while combating systemic oppression deserve to be the heartbeat of conversation, leadership momentum and stakeholdership. I became passionate about non-traditonal education and creative storytelling out of necessity.

How can our community get involved?

Challenge mainstream narratives and open portals for education where Black communities and BIPOC communities EQUITABLE lead conversations and are in positions of power.

What historical Black figure or event would you like to spotlight and why?

Fannie Lou Hamer - She created a beautiful blueprint for sustainability. Her political practices, antipoverty strategies and community economic development was about creating a new system of sustainable Black liberation. She physically created functioning and regenerative ecosystems to live off the land without aligning with already established entities. She is the founder of the Freedom Farm Cooperative in 1967 which started on 40 acres of prime delta land. The co-op consisted of 1500 families who planted cash crops and mixed veggies. Together they purchased another 600+ acres and started a “pig bank” that distributed livestock to Black farmers. With the state denying Black folks public assistance and social service along with extreme hunger and malnutrition … She created tangible solutions! Bruh … she built affordable, clean and safe housing in the Jim Crow South!!! She had a small business incubator and an agricultural cooperative despite the BS FDA only giving subsidies to white land owners. This Black phenom created a community with healthy food, health care, distributed scholarships, had disaster relief funds, employment opportunities, etc. FCC provided all types of vocational education opportunities - construction/home building, food preservation, childcare, etc. There were even sewing cooperatives where members made clothes & accessories and recycled gently used clothes. She literally is my rubric for sustainability … not the white folks I studied in school who maintained white power structures in the name of environmentalism!

Tell us about the charity you would like our $10,000 donation to go to:

The MoCADA youth program. MoCADA (mocada.org) has been a leader in preserving traditional art from the African diaspora while also being a catalyst for showcasing the political, spiritual and creative avenues of local artists. Black art from ritual to revolutionary has a huge voice in sustainability and is often overlooked as a key to building regenerative solutions. MoCADA is such an exciting place for connection and celebration and is especially meaningful to me as they held Sustainable Brooklyn's first event which was a community-centered Sustainability Town Hall meeting - this catapulted SBK's work in true localized community development and BIPOC centered programming. There is no community or sustainability without art!

You can follow along and learn more about Dom at www.dominiquedrakeford.com and @dominiquedrakeford

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