Nailah Pope-Harden is a community organizer in south Sacramento who focuses on environmental justice and community development. She serves as an appointed member of the Mayors' Climate Commission and participates in the commission's Community Health and Resiliency Technical Advisory Committee. She is also part of the environmental justice group advising the city on its new general plan. She frequently brings her infant son, Naeem, to climate-related meetings, reminding everyone why it's important to take strong action. Nailah is active in social justice campaigns in Sacramento and across the country. She believes that people are moved to action by building relationship and creating a shared vision. "Not only am I interested in passing down family traditions to my son, I'm interested in passing down a healthy planet," she says.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am south Sacramento born and raised. I have spent the last 12 years working as a community organizer in some capacity. I believe in the power of change and community. I love south Sac and love raising my soon to be one-year-old son in south Sac.
How are you making a difference in your community?
The issue I am always the most passionate about is access. I want to make sure that my community has access to the same resources as anyone else. That's why the Morrison Creek Revitalization Project is so special. It's a creek that is gated and locked from the community and we are fighting for access.
What inspires your community efforts?
I'm a black woman, every right I have has been fought for - literally every right. I don't take that for granted. I'm inspired by the people that paved way for me to have what I have. I just want to do my part to make my son's life better.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I'm just proud that people in my community respect me.
What have you struggled most with in your life?
I struggle the most with balance. I have a one-year-old, a disabled mother, and a community I love fighting for. There is little to no time for myself
What kind of lessons do you think are important to instill in future generations?
I think the most important lesson is that we can't take our freedoms for granted. We all need to be engaged and stay engaged.
If there is one problem in our community that you wish you could fix, what would it be?
While the conditions in my neighborhood are not idea. We are disadvantaged and have many negative health indicators but growing up it never felt like that. My neighborhood was always warm and welcoming. It was a place where you got creative to survive. So while I could give a list of issues, I'm going to just say the perception other people have of my neighborhood.
How do you decompress?
I'm embarrassed to say it but reality TV. If not some juicy drama on a reality show its cooking and baking! I'm starting to get into bread making.