Monday, March 12, 2012

Giving Life to a River: Sustainable from the Ground Up

Image provided by Cymone Bedford

Morgan Powell is a local historian and landscape designer from the Bronx. A few years ago he undertook a historical research project funded by Fordham University's African American Studies Program to uncover the many unsung heroes of ecological restoration and redevelopment along the Bronx River. Today, he is the Director of the Bronx River Sankofa, a local movement to put African Americans back into environmental history. Its work is to celebrate African American ecological and social history in communities and institutions based near the Bronx River by hosting landmark walking tours and events with green activists.

Last Saturday, Powell gave an hour's presentation on his findings working in the Bronx. He also opened the stage for Cornell graduate students and researchers to ask questions about how to best incorporate and collaborate with the environmental and community development efforts of people of color in poor urban communities. The event had an excellent turnout from the Department of City & Regional Planning, Art, and Architecture as well as from the Departments of Development Sociology and Natural Resources. Cymone Beford (MRP 12'), the organizer of the event, said it, “represented a step towards further collaboration between CRP graduates and URS undergraduates concerned about diversity. Planning Students for Diversity (PSD) and Minority Organization of Art, Architecture and Planning (MOAPP) helped put this together.” Others who assisted in organizing the event that should also be recognized included Brandon Taylor, Ujijji Davis, and Nicolas Savides.

(Information provided by Cymone Bedford)