Wawa Gatheru is the daughter of Kenyan immigrants. While growing up in Connecticut, she considered herself a social activist but not an environmentalist.
Gatheru: “I didn’t identify with the term and what I thought you had to be or look like to fit into that.”
But then she started learning about climate change, and how its impacts — from drought in Kenya to heat waves in American cities — disproportionately harm Black communities.
Gatheru: “The impacts are harrowing. I know that for a fact.”
And she learned about the generations of Black women who have fought against environmental injustices.
Gatheru: “And having that representation really did make it feel more accessible for me to get involved.”
So to help more Black women feel included and needed in the climate movement, Gatheru created Black Girl Environmentalist.
It started as an Instagram page profiling Black women and gender-expansive people leading on climate.
Now the organization also hosts workshops and events across the country.
Gatheru: “Our movement is only viable if it is one that all people can see themselves represented in.”
So she wants to help build a more inclusive climate movement and empower more Black women to lead.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media