Emily Ryan
The Commons

Author Leah Penniman to speak in collaborative series on climate justice

Mon, 01/31/2022

LAWRENCE – The collaborative virtual series inspired by contributors to the book “All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis” returns to the University of Kansas in spring 2022. The first event features farmer, food sovereignty activist, author and soil steward Leah Penniman at noon Feb. 17 in conversation with local food policy activist and grower Cody Haynes.

'All We Can Save' series posterThis series spans the knowledge across and beyond disciplines and features the writers whose works comprise "All We Can Save," edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine Wilkinson, to center individual and collective agency around the urgency of climate change. Recognizing that the effects of climate change are most immediately and disproportionately felt by minority and low-income communities, this series highlights activists, scholars, thinkers, creatives and doers whose life work generates and speaks to ideas for action, survival and nourishment.

“Students across campus are engaged in classes, discussions and action around climate change issues and are yearning for solutions,” said Ali Brox, assistant teaching professor in the Environmental Studies Program. “We are fortunate to have someone as inspiring as Leah Penniman join the ongoing conversations at KU as part of the 'All We Can Save' series.”

Leah Penniman. Source: WikiCommons.The editors of the book observe that climate change is often discussed in scientific terms but that the response to climate change must include diverse expertise. Highlighted among additional perspectives are global social movements and grassroots activism, cultural and creative practices, religious and spiritual engagement, and food production, among other realms.

Penniman’s work brings food production into conversation with these additional realms. "Her work with Soul Fire Farm puts theory into practice, demonstrating the power of good relationships with land to uproot racism and heal communities and ourselves,” said Megan Kaminski, associate professor of English. “Guided by Afro-Indigenous ancestral wisdom, Penniman’s land-based activism and writing builds sustainable, just and equitable futures rooted in food sovereignty and community self-determination. Her work informs and inspires research and action across disciplines and vocations.”   

This series is led by The Commons, with support from the Environmental Studies Program; the Indigenous Studies Program; the KU departments of African & African-American Studies, English, Geography & Atmospheric Science, and Geology; the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity; the KU Sawyer Seminar; the Office of Multicultural Affairs; the Global Awareness Program; the Health Humanities and Arts Research Collaborative; the University Honors Program and the Global Awareness Program.

All events are free and open to the public. Link to Zoom Registration for the Feb. 17 event.

Photo: Leah Penniman. Credit: WikiCommons.

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