Je’jae Daniels

I can say that Green City Force is one of the best experiences I will have as an adult. They provided me with an immersion of professional development, communication skills, team building, and most importantly, love and support for my own journey. I originally joined GCF to build my vocational skills in agriculture and urban farming; I wasn’t expecting I would be providing a tremendous public service to people in need of fresh produce, and resources for a healthier neighborhood. Prior to GCF, I was doing internships in production, and not finding consistent full-time work, stable pay, and fulfillment in my roles.

One of the most important things I learned while being in GCF: “always advocate for yourself and don’t conform for anybody.” As an out, non-binary AmeriCorps Member working with a team and communities that aren’t fully educated about my identity, being yourself can be extremely difficult. I remind myself that if I am to respect others, I expect the same, and educate individuals about my pronouns, safety, and ways I can be accommodated. It has been challenging to serve my country in a time when our Presidential Cabinet doesn’t support my rights, but my cohort and the people I serve see the resilience, leadership, and compassion I bring to the table, all by being true to who I am.

I have been inspired by my experience with GCF to continue the legacy of AmeriCorps and serve other needy communities. After GCF, I plan on working with ArtistYear as a Teaching Artist working in public schools in Queens, NY, with youth that don’t have access to a well-rounded education. To me, being an AmeriCorps Member is not about serving my country–a country that doesn’t respect my rights; regardless of other people’s lack of progress, I but will continue to provide a resource, support, and empathy in developing stronger communities through the arts. I also plan to seek out opportunities to organize and lead campaigns, like for my community board, to address the needs of residents and ensure that my focus and intention is always at the heart of the public.

There are many people I would like to thank for their contributions to my development. I would like to focus on two individuals. I would like to express thanks to Amelia Kreski, who worked with me individually and humanized my challenges at home, with finances, etc., and has guided me with support, resources, and pure kindness. Amelia lives with a pure heart, a sensitive ear, and a mindful soul, and graciously works to support all individuals regardless of who they are. Her wisdom and healing have provided me the strength to fight for a better environment and develop a stronger me. If every community would have an Amelia, the world would be a more hopeful and loving place. Finally, to the women of GCF, as a feminist, I am inspired by the wisdom, strength, and power that women at GCF, and in the green movement hold. The female leadership at Green City Force is proof to the world that women are more than capable to accomplish anything they set their minds to. I am hopeful the future will bring about great progress because of our diverse representation of women leaders at GCF.

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