Thanks to Emerald Cities Collaborative for being our fiscal sponsor and temporarily hosting our landing page. Website coming soon!

For details about artist showcase jump to this section.

We invite you to explore the journey with us below. 

Our Belief

Ubuntu: an ancient African word meaning ‘humanity to others’, 

often translated as  “I am Because You/We Are”


We are responding to the call from our ancestors to return balance to our environment. They tell us that all is not well. They are asking for our help to return our environment and our community to a state of harmony and balance. They tell us that it is NOT too late; the time is NOW.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” (African proverb)

Our Values

Nyansapo - Wisdom. A symbol of wise leadership, ingenuity and intelligence. It conveys the idea that ‘a wise person has the capacity to choose the best means to attain a goal’ thereby rejecting false solutions to climate change

Sankofa (alt) - Go back and fetch it. Sankofa is an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The literal translation of the word and the symbol is “it is not taboo to fetch what you forgot that is at risk of being left behind.” It asks us to look back to our ancestral earth-affirming beliefs, values, and practices to learn from it to move forward.

Wawa Aba - Seed of the wawa tree. A symbol of hardiness, perseverance, and strength. It symbolizes the strength needed for transformative change.

*These are all Adinkra symbols from the Akan tribe in Ghana.

Our Vision

We envision a joyful world. One that celebrates our ‘Oneness’ and recognizes our interdependence with each other and mother earth. A world in which investments in relationships and communities are valued above material resources.

Our Mission

Catalyze a Climate movement rooted in Ubuntu values dedicated to the Commons, restorative economies and lifestyles. Through the cultural reweaving of traditional, ancestral, and innovative African and pan-indigenous communal world views, values, and practices. 

who we are

We are a U.S. based, global network of African and Pan Indigenous creatives, community leaders and organizations, academics, and all allies working to rebuild our relationships with each other and nature to mitigate and adapt to climate change by advancing eco–centered vs. ego-centered cultures, knowledge, policies, and practices.


We are reclaiming our Afro-descendent and Pan-indigenous practices and knowledge, we believe our greatest act of love and contribution is to steward Mother Earth’s regeneration, heal our communities, re-story our current consumer-based, ego-centered world-view to the story that understands and celebrates interdependence, cooperation and interspecies harmony. 


We are a mycelial network of leadership, talent, knowledge and community. 

We have been here for a long time. 

We are ready


“I am because you/we are”


I/We ___________ support the Ubuntu Climate Initiative to heal both people and the planet by targeting

the cultural underpinnings of our climate crisis and building a movement for the cultural reparation of

destroyed traditional communal belief systems, values, and practices of Black, Brown, Indigenous, rural

communities as an asset to climate mitigation and adaptation for the most vulnerable.

Get Rooted in the Ubuntu Movement

THE UBUNTU CLIMATE INITIATIVE’S 2024 CLIMATE ARTS AND STORY-TELLING Showcase finalists have been chosen! We asked for the community to generate the response to our call “Ubuntu, I am because, we are”. Now we are excited to share the creative stories we received  about  a joyful world, celebrating  ‘Oneness’, recognizing our interdependence with each other and mother earth. 

We had 147 submissions from elders, youth, returning citizens, women and the general category from across the country. Our team whittled it down to 40 winners to share in the $100,000 prize money. These amazing productions were shown during our live streamed event on April 22nd, Earth Day. We’re excited to announce the following winners:


1st Place – Loren Waters, Meet me at the Creek

2nd Place – Mika Martinez, Portland Catrinas

3rd Place – Maryam Tahmasebi, Nan is Jan

Honorable Mentions:

Micknai Arefaine, Women of Ashenda

Amelia Ray, Asking for a Friend

Kelly Blaser, Unbuntu: Beyond the Anthropocene

Anbiya Oshum Smith, Answering the call: Creations and Stories Inspired by Mama Earth

Alexa Trevino, Unbuntu to a portrait photographer



1st Place – Quincy Davis, Rebelwise – Land Back

2nd Place – Cameron Oglesby, A Peek into Piney Woods

3rd Place – Mary N.N. Black, A Network of Mutuality

Honorable Mentions:

Chief Walks, Allensworth: A Narrative of the Spirit of Unbuntu and Sustainable Community

Jasmine Jackson, The Last Barbershop

Syon Davis, Marquishia

Aerin Monroe, Sowing Seeds: Racial Justice and the Environmental Movement

Shley Suarez-Burgos, The Enviroment From My Eyes


Returning Citizens

1st Place – Antwan Williams, Every Second

2nd Place – Jerome Alexander Sloan, Nishiati

3rd Place – Cass Severe, Meet Her At The Gate

Honorable Mentions:

Anthony Pickens, Interconnectivity

Joe BIll Munoz, The Strike

Toshiko Wallace, The Many Facets of “Toshiko”

Jazmine Valadez, JOE JOE

Johnny Broadway, Ubuntu: I am because we are



1st Place – We Are One, Bobs Our Uncle

2nd Place – Charlyn Griffith-Oro, The Aunties

3rd Place – Chantal Lemoine, Seeds of Kindness

Honorable Mentions:

Carol Franicis, Ubuntu

Mela Miles, Out my Black Door

Dana DeLaski, Remembering York

Ashebavibe None, Asheba – We Got to Save

Fen Hsu, The Subject was Mod Podge


1st Place – Jendaiya Hill, Right to Thrive (Inseparable Oneness

2nd Place – Marielle O’Neill (submitted by: Jeff Kitchen from the Charles R Drew Charter School), Ubuntu as Folding Art

3rd Place – Tiaret Aryanna Renee Mitchell, “Oness”

Honorable Mentions:

Norah Dunlap (submitted by: Jeff Kitchen from the Charles R Drew Charter School), Painting Ubuntu

Chloe Rockmore, Jordyn Hanes (submitted by: Jeff Kitchen from the Charles R Drew Charter School), Ubuntu as Dance

Gabriela Garcia, I am Because We Are Community

Bobby Baker, Ubuntu – The Spirit of Milwaukee

Jai Bazawule (submitted by: Jeff Kitchen), Bring Back Ubuntu

The Juneteenth: Taste of Freedom Mini-Grant Program Launch

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our Juneteenth: Taste of Freedom Mini-Grant Program. Through this program, the Ubuntu Climate Initiative is offering mini-grants of up to $5,000, along with additional resources, to support Juneteenth Commemoration Events hosted by Black towns and settlements, community gardens, community arts organizations, and other community-based organizations. The deadline to apply is May 15th, 2024.

MORE INFORMATION (check all that applies):


OUR advisors

Denise Fairchild, Ph.D

2021 Climate Breakthrough Awardee President Emeritus, Emerald Cities Collaborative

Jacqui Patterson

Founder and Executive Director of the Chisholm Legacy Project Legacy Project

Afia Zakiya Ph.D

Water Infrastructure, Environment & Climate Justice; WASH & Public Health Expert

Colette Battle

Vision & Initiatives Partner for Taproot Earth, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy

Dayna Cunningham

Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean of Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.

Tara Marchant

Writer, Storyteller, Creative, sound/song alchemist, council holder for healing and meditaion. With fifteen years as a Non-profit Director in the Green Economy, Community Resilience and policy forums.

Hunter Jones

Multidisciplinary Creative & Storyteller Eco-Communicator at Emerald Cities Collaborative

Elfleda Utiaruk

Project Coordinator for the Ubuntu Climate Initiative Project, Visual Artist & Healer

Mary Lee

Consultant, Attorney, and Community Advocate


Education Circle:

Dr. Joyce King

Founder of Guardians of Heritage youth civic leadership collaborative


Dr. Wade Noble

Professor Emeritus, Black Psychology and Africana Studies, San Francisco State University


Candace Hollingsworth

Director of Programs, Corps Network


Angelica Mayolo

MIT Mel King Fellow and MIT Environmental Solutions consultant,

Former Minister of Culture of Columbia


Rosa Garcia

Executive Director of The Community Learning Partnership


Martin Kalungu

Founder of Presencing Lab and faculty at the Presencing Institute at MIT


Ali Moussa Iye

Founder of Afropectives


Douglas Edwards

Co-Founder of The Revitalize STEAM Greenhouse Program 


Dr. Melissa Spreight Vaughn, Ph.D.

Vice President of Public Discourse & Engagement, Africa Center for Strategy & Policy


Dr. Folami Prescott-Adams

Lead Facilitator, CREATE

(Advisors: Afia Zakiya)

Cultural Arts Circle:

Mustafa Ali

Executive Vice President, National Wildlife Federation


Sterling Cunio

Spoken word poet, 

Arts for Social Justice  Fellow and Oregon Literary Arts Fellow


Pat Prescott

Radio Personality, WBGO

(Advisors: Hunter Jones, Tara Marchant, Elfleda Utiaruk)

Alternative Economies Circle:

Omar Brownson

LA Community Gardens Director and Full Spectrum

Co-host of the Gratitude Blooming Podcast


Sonia Kikeri

National Director Of Policy And Civic Engagement at Emerald Cities Collaborative


Ife Kilimanjaro, Ph.D.

Incoming Executive Director, US Climate Action Network 


Maria Stamas

Energy Justice Attorney and Strategist. 

Founder and Principal at EnerGaia Consulting LLC


Yorman Nunez

Co-founder of 20 Moves & Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative


Desiree Williams-Rajee

Founder, Kapwa Consulting and PolicyLink Fellow

(Advisors – Mary Lee, Dayna Cunningham, Colette Battle, Jacqui Patterson)


For more information about
E-Contractor Academy, contact:

Northern California: Avni Jamdar
Southern California: Wendy Angel
Northwest: Steve Gelb
Northeast: Daryl Wright

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