DecolonizePhilly at West Philadelphia’s One Art Center for WURD Radio’s ecoFEST. Speaker: Keyssh Datts.

At West Philadelphia’s One Art Center, the essence of community and activism melded beautifully against the backdrop of colorful mural art as WURD Radio presented ecoFEST — a clarion call for climate activism and environmental justice. Celebrated on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, ecoFest is an extension of the Black-owned and operated radio station’s multimedia environmental justice journalism initiative, ecoWURD. The free event amplified the urgency of the environmental crisis and underscored the deep-seated social inequities that Black and Brown communities confront amidst climate change. 

The live broadcast was hosted by P.O.C who also hosts ecoWURD’s weekly radio show. The five-hour event amplified the voices of local land and climate activists. Their collective energies and insights laid the groundwork for a transformative dialogue in the center’s rear garden. Engulfed by the ambiance of nature, over 50 attendees participated in breakout sessions, discussing ways to make land more accessible and infuse justice work to rectify deeply rooted systemic disparities.

DecolonizePhilly, an environmental justice organization on a mission to put power back into the hands of the community, presented a workshop titled, “The Fight for a Land Revolution Pt. 3.” The workshop, held in the rear garden of the One Art Center, with about 50 ecoFEST attendees explored advocating for “a land revolution” and raised awareness about the importance of land reform. The event included presenters, meditation, and breakout sessions for people to exchange ideas and explore solutions to issues like gentrification, community displacement and exploitative commercial development. According to Keyssh Datts, the founder of DecolonizePhilly, hosting the workshop at ecoFest and the event’s setting was paramount. 

“Hosting the workshop on land and in a nature environment, hearing the natural sounds and elements in a space that is not confined was the best part.” Moreover, anchoring the event on Indigenous Peoples’ Day was an intentional attempt to bridge contemporary concerns with historical challenges — all stemming from the claws of colonialism. As Keyssh poignantly remarked, “We’re all fighting the same fight.”

For Marisia Robinson, a workshop participant, the power of ecoFest was not just in the setting, but in the hearts of those doing the work. “It was helpful to know what activists and the presenters were doing in the different spaces and how they all link back to land sovereignty,” she said. “It was nice to get to talk to people in the space and to know that this isn’t someone who just posts online, they actually show up.”

WURD Radio’s ecoFEST. Photo by Jos Duncan Asé.

Beyond the robust discussions, ecoFEST offered attendees an eclectic mix of vendors, dynamic performances, and a delightful array of food. A testament to ecoWURD’s commitment to foster a spirited dialogue about the promise of Black Green Futures.

In this crucial era, where communities grapple with both the dangers of climate change and societal injustices, initiatives like ecoFEST are not just events. They’re part of a bigger movement. Anchored in love, resilience, and community, they serve as guiding lights for a more just and sustainable future, and redefine the narrative for Black and Brown communities. 

To learn more about DecolonizePhilly visit decolonizephilly.com

To learn more about ecoWURD visit ecowurd.com