If you’re having a serious conversation about the Black Belt Region or agricultural land retention for those who are underserved, I’m there. Any time I can join national and international panel discussions focused on African-Americans in agriculture and the South I do because it directly ties to my personal background and my career-long academic research.
One memorable event I was invited to and participated in last year was the African Diaspora Earthcare Coalition Agricultural Land Retention Side Event. A long name, I know. As part of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, this side event gave me the opportunity to speak about black land retention within the Black Belt South. I also worked with coalition partners of the UN International Decade for People of African Descent, which joins influential international groups and people of African descent to strengthen full and equal participation in all aspects of society.
We talked about ways to encourage local ownership and the full use of food production for marginalized populations within the African Diaspora. As busy researchers and educators, it’s oftentimes tough to attend such occasions, but they’re well worth it. Here are my five reasons why you should get involved with these global opportunities as much as possible:
1. They keep you in the know about topics related to your area of expertise;
2. They introduce you to upcoming and veteran researchers who can help advance your work as well as theirs;
3. They deepen your understanding about a particular problem and many times offer never-heard-before solutions;
4. They can lead to new collaborative programs and projects for great pay; and
5. They leave you with this sense of satisfaction and newfound confidence to continue on your path to create meaningful community change by way of your research.