New York 2 X Coalition, or NY2X, was founded by a group of Beacon High School students in 2007, in response to the lack of aid in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It is a youth-led organization operating on consensus-based decision-making, dedicated to learning about environmental justice especially in its connection to systemic racism and classism. In February, I travelled for a week to Albuquerque, New Mexico, along with 22 other New York City high-school students. We stayed at a hostel in Albuquerque and walked each morning to a farm called Los Jardines Institute, two miles outside of Albuquerque, across the Rio Grande. The mission of Los Jardines is “to build and support healthy and sustainable communities and workplaces by providing opportunities that promote multigenerational, community-based models of learning, sharing and community building. We prioritize traditional land-based ways of knowing in the places ‘where we live, work, play, pray, and go to school.'” At Los Jardines, we worked for six hours on the fields, hoop houses, and gardens of the farm, then returned to the hostel for a workshop each night on a different system of oppression, and its effects and practices. Within the workshops we held conversations about the concept of intersectionality as the system in which all forms of oppression co-operate. I think the trip was a very definitive point in my education because it not only taught me essential information about the methods of different systems in my current life; it also it taught me to be confident in my voice–In our discussions we often spoke about the notion of unapologetic activism, but to reach that type of relationship with one’s work, one must be confident in their voice, and consequentially the truth that their voice is projecting, instead of receding into fearing the reaction of their audience. The trip has also helped me understand the relationship I have with the Earth, how it must be a sustainable and respectful relationship, instead of a consuming and violent one. By physically interacting with the Earth I now understand how my sustainability learns and draws its practices from the cyclicality of nature.
NY2X’s website: http://www.ny2x.org