G. Maris Jones, Blacktivist Scholar & Creator

New Orleans, LA/Nassau, Bahamas

"I am not only a casualty, I am also a warrior. What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you sicken and die from them, still in silence? Perhaps for some of you here today, I am the face of one of your fear. Because I am woman, because I am Black, because I am lesbian, because I am myself--a Black woman warrior poet doing my work--come to ask you, are you doing yours?"

-Audre Lorde, "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action," Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (1984).

 

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want to have done something for my people, in collaboration with my people. Presently, this takes the form of research focused on climate change vulnerability and adaptation in coastal communities and small island states across the African diaspora. By collecting oral histories and presenting them as data alongside climate science, my research has the potential to radically transform the way the public understands climate change, as well as disaster risk and recovery, and most importantly, the potential to preserve human life. I want to advocate for multi-stakeholder inclusion in the policy development process, so that that it is informed by, and operationalizes, community-based adaptation practices. Through my work, I hope to amplify the voices of climate-vulnerable communities and have a tangible impact on the climate change policies so that they better meet community needs. Representation matters--there should be more people who look like us that teach us and fight for us. As a future professor, I am committed to exposing my students to, and centering the work of, scholars of color. I strive to create a classroom environment that allows students to engage in experiential learning that leads to long-term collaborations among communities, researchers, and policy makers in order to support climate justice.