ecoFEST: A celebration of Earth Day

todayApril 25, 2024

share close

WURD Radio celebrated Each Day on April 20 with its annual ecoFEST. Hosted by ecoWURD Magazine’s P.O.C. at Belmont Mansion, the event focused on eco-friendly practices and workshops while compelling conversations provided an in-depth look at sustainability in our communities.

The day included several panels including:

  • “One Philly: Uniting for Safe, Clean and Green Futures” featuring Casey Kuklick, Deputy Director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office for Clean and Green Initiatives 

  • “Black Green Voices, Bold Actions: Empowering Activism within Environmental Justice” featuring Erika Johnson, founder of Black + Planted; Maurice Sampson, Eastern Pennsylvania Director of Clean Water Action; and Tommy Joshua, community organizer and founder of Philly Peace Park  

  • “Voices Heard, Change Required: Diversity and Representation in Green Spaces featuring Jiana Murdic, Founding Director of Get Fresh Daily and Kermit O, writer, organizer and member of the Philadelphia Environmental Justice Advisory Commission in the Office of Sustainability 

  • “Exploring Holistic Healing in Nature” featuring Dr. Paul Hopkins, host of Dr. Paul’s Holistic Health and co-host of The Green Hour on WURD Radio, and Latiaynna Tabb, founder of Black Girls with Green Thumbs 

Created in 1970, Earth Day is an international celebration focused on safeguarding the Earth’s natural resources. ecoFEST, and the ecoWURD initiative, brings attention to how climate change and other environmental issues impact Black communities.  

P.O.C.’s conversation with Kuklick explored how Philadelphia residents can civically engage in environmental issues with the city government. Kuklick shared information from studies that showed improved natural environments resulted in gun violence reduction. 

“PHS did studies with the University of Pennsylvania that showed in Philadelphia that when they cleaned and greened vacant lots and neighborhoods, it had a 29% reduction in gun violence,” Kuklick said. “Gun violence is probably one of the biggest public safety and health issues in our city.”


He also detailed air quality, explaining how trees are not planted in less affluent neighborhoods, causing heat to rise 22 degrees higher than neighborhoods with more tree canopy coverings. “ a public safety issue,” he said.

The second panel, titled Black Green Voices, Bold Actions: Empowering Activism within Environmental Justice, featured Erika Johnson, founder of Black + Planted, Maurice Sampson, Eastern Pennsylvania Director of Clean Water Action and Tommy Joshua, community organizer and founder of Philly Peace Park.


“Black Green Voices, Bold Actions” focused on themes of environmental justice and the work that Mayor Cherelle Parker’s administration has outlined in its first 100 days. Sampson, of Clean Water Action, made important connections between poverty and climate change and deemed dumping and littering “environmental violence.”

“Until Black people specifically are given justice, none of the environmental issues that we are addressing can be dealt with,” said Tommy Joshua of Philly Peace Park


“That’s why I’m so happy that there’s an emphasis placed on ownership and power disruption, because we must be careful about being green and clean,” Joshua said. “For us, environmental justice is closely tied to Black empowerment. And this is why within our community, the best thing that we can do is support organizations such as the ones that’s represented here at this ecoFEST.” 


As the panel discussions progressed throughout the day, themes emerged on how individuals can holistically heal with and through our environment. Attendees also were able to engage in communal yoga, double dutch matches and more. 


Host of ecoWURD Magazine, P.O.C., reflected on her time at ecoFEST on Evening WURDs with Dr. James Peterson, highlighting how the show and the festival uplifted communities to find their own agency to improve our ecosystem.“ecoWURD is a program that’s highlighting Black and brown communities, not just in the city of Philadelphia, but also in the state of Pennsylvania,” said P.O.C.

“Anywhere from talking with different people who are representing migrants who were in different working conditions that are not habitable, or people who are in schools where they still have lead and asbestos,” she said, “we want to make sure that we keep that connection – that boot-on-the-ground type of ear out for the people who are doing the work.”


Black Talk Media sent straight to your inbox.


The forWURD Movement is your way to
protect and preserve Independent Black Media.

Written by: Kiara Santos

Post comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Skip to content