Sustainable Workforce Development Network

Building Sustainable Career Pathways

Sustainability for Black Communities
Illai Kenney
From her mother’s work in sustainability issues, even as a child Illai Kenney understood that marginalized communities like hers are very often the communities most negatively impacted by issues like global warming and climate change. And as a kid, she felt it was unfair that she didn’t have a say in the matter. “We are the ones who are going to be most impacted by the decisions being made. But what recourse do we have? We can’t vote. We can’t lobby. It was a daunting realization to come to,” she says. That the planet, and her right to a healthy, sustainable future, could be ruined because of the decisions of a generation disconnected from her own, was disempowering. So, in 2003, at the age of 12, she decided to form the nonprofit Georgia Kids Against Pollution. This journey toward a more sustainable world culminated with the founding of the HBCU Green Fund – a fund that supports projects that reduce energy and water usage at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.