The Deep Ecology Education Program (DEEP) will target low-income and minority students located in urban heat islands across the Metropolitan Richmond region with an educational and organizing campaign. Backed by Highland Support Project, it aims to bring decades of organizing and cultural experience developed through direct partnerships with Indigenous communities of the Americas back to Richmond, Virginia.
Much of urban Richmond areas are heat islands, and a study conducted by the University of Richmond demonstrated that areas occupied by people of low socioeconomic status or minority groups disproportionately experienced extreme heat and impacts on health and quality of life. There is also not equity of opportunities across the Richmond school systems, and many migrant families struggle to find supervision or safe activities for their children and teens after school.
This program will create mutually beneficial and productive relationships between migrant families, Highland Support Project, and academic resources from Virginia Commonwealth University. We will be creating an environmentally-focused afterschool program that will both provide a safe and educational environment, while also equipping a cohort of empowered young adults with the skills and tools needed to create a more sustainable and equitable future for Richmond.
The purpose of DEEP's programming is to develop community partnerships capable of addressing environmental justice issues and improving the quality of life through a methodology that provides individuals with opportunities for leadership, participation, and social capital formation. It has the potential to equip the next generation of Richmond citizens to create successful futures for themselves and the city at large.
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