Graduate Chantel Kemp on Justice

March 27, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog   |   Comments Off on Graduate Chantel Kemp on Justice»

The following remarks were written and delivered by Chantel Kemp for the Urban Farm Corps Cohort 14 Graduation on March 20th, 2018 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Chantel reflects on the Green City Force pillar of Justice.

 

Hello, my name is Chantel Kemp and I am proud to say that I am one of the graduates from Cohort 14’s, Urban Farm Corp. I am also glad to announce that I am going to be employed by one of our amazing community based organizations, Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance Foundation where I have the opportunity to take leadership roles, learn and become immersed in the agriculture field.

To start off, I would like to thank everyone in attendance today. For those of us that have persevered through immense trials I am proud to know you. For staff who have had to suffer through our tantrums and family who have heard all the details; I commend you as well.

When I began this program I didn’t think I would stand here today and talk about Justice, maybe agricultural science or maybe tell funny stories about my team – I do have a lot of those by the way! Yet here I am and I can’t help but think that this was the unconscious reason I joined anyway. I started GCF with the thought that I wanted to be healthy, me. Of course, I figured I could help others along the way but ultimately I was the one who needed the most fixing. So as I went through this program and was exposed, to the harsh realities of urban areas especially when it comes to food, I was shocked. At myself. I grew up in a low income community, shopped in the super markets, watched countless people die from heart disease and diabetes and never once made the connection back to food. I mean I did say vaguely to others “You better watch what you eat.”

But I had no advice, no follow up quote, just a one liner essentially condemning them of their food choices and absolving me from future guilt. Now that the rose-colored lens are off I see the true meaning of Justice. I see low income communities being forced into a judicial system that means to rip their families apart and a food system that operates in the same fashion. So I have vowed to not let my quest for food justice end here today, standing at this podium – challenging  you all to uphold justice. Justice for the beautiful children living in circumstances out of their control. Justice for the children who watch me here today and feel so inspired to pick up a book or a rake. Justice for my ancestors who gave up their lives just for me to speak and Justice for the generation who cannot yet speak for themselves.

Thank you.

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Graduate Chantel Kemp at graduation.

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