Calumet Stewardship Initiative

Blacks In Green (BIG)

Blacks In Green (BIG) is a national network for advancing “green‐village‐building” – our signature initiative. Through our programs, activities, courses, and enterprises, BIG™ reminds generations of their great cultural legacy of land stewardship and collaborates to reinvent that legacy here in the age of climate change.  Informed and inspired by America's great Underground Railroad story, our system teaches the primacy of self‐help and the importance of allies across the bounds of race and class. We also teach the disproportionate negative impacts of global warming on communities of color and the health/wealth opportunities of the new green economy ~ with special focus on recreating community wealth by cultivating next generations of green manufacturers and engineers. Through our strategic operating system – The BIG Village™ – BIG Hub™ – BIG Paintbox™ – we foster and sustain these all-important green, neighbor‐owned businesses in communities of color. 

BIG’s green‐villages are walk‐to‐work, walk‐to‐shop, walk-to-learn, walk-to-play communities anchored by such neighbor‐owned businesses, which become the agents of “jobs‐driven development.” Only jobs‐driven development stabilizes neighborhoods through the health/wealth enhancement of present residents, avoiding forced or voluntary neighbor migration to “better” neighborhoods, or the influx of “better” neighbors – benign or hostile. Resident money stays active locally supporting community self‐interests, and the heritage of a place is preserved. They embody our core philosophy that “only a whole-system solution can transform a whole-system problem.” 

Around the world, the case has been made for interdependent local living economies as greenhouse gas reduction strategies. Such sustainable community initiatives are critically important for black neighborhoods. Thus, in 2011 BIG™ launched a 5-year green‐village‐building proof of concept in the Chicago TIF District of West Woodlawn, and to fill the void of blacks in green neighborhood revival, Naomi consults other communities through emerging partnerships within our national network. 

BIG™ is partnered with the University of Chicago Center for the Study of Race Politics, and Culture to teach “The 8 Principles of Green-Village-Building.” We welcome the inquiries and participation of other institutions and individual community activists seeking training in this system in order to lead where they live.  

Contact Information:  Naomi Davis (773) 678-9541 or at [email protected]

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