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Earth Conservation Corp - Watched an inspiring story on Bill Moyer's NOW program about the Earth Conservation Corps in Washington D.C. The story has been covered by a lot of news outlets, including 60-Minutes' Bill Bradley. The Earth Conservation Corps is a non-profit on a mission to save both a polluted D.C. river and the disadvantaged teens that live in a violent D.C. neighborhood.

I was weeping by the end. Diamond Teague's death. The fate of others, especially Darius and Jerome, just hit me at my core. Some of the lives of these teens were cut short, which is especially tragic and unfair given the changes their participation in the Earth Conservation Corps started. But those that survive often change the direction of their lives in huge ways. And, perhaps even more important, their success inspires others to do the same.

Founded by a Hollywood producer and environmentalist named Bob Nixon, the Earth Conservation Corps began in the early 1990's. With money from Nixon's own pocket and a $50,000 grant from Coors, the clean-up began.

In the Moyer's story I saw imposing black men weep at the death of a friend. I saw imposing black men transformed into hopeful, enthusiastic leaders. What an inspiration. One Corps member described a scene where another member, a black teen, taught environmental science to school kids on a field trip to the Anacostia River. He noted that these kids (many black) had never seen a black man in that kind of position before. Seeing this teen's example inspired those young kids, gave them hope and a sense of possibility. What could be more important?

Unfortunately, that young man (Jerome?) died of leukemia, which was diagnosed at his death. Had the disease been caught early and treated, think of the contributions Jerome could have continued to make with his life.

Yet another reason why we need national health care program...and support for programs like the Earth Conservation Corps.

Earth Conservation Corps Links

NOW with Bill Moyers. Society & Community - Endangered Species . The Earth Conservation Corps | PBS
"NOW's presentation "Endangered Species" tells a story of urban blight and community faith. One of America's gleaming symbols of freedom and prosperity, Washington, DC is also home to one of the most impoverished and polluted neighborhoods in America. On the banks of the Anacostia River, the Southeast section of the nation's capital has been an environmental disaster area and a home for violence. But today a non-profit group called the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC), composed of young adults from under-resourced communities, is bringing hope to this neighborhood under siege." I watched this piece and was weeping by the end. Diamond Teague, Darius, Jerome. Powerful, stuff.
Earth Conservation Corps | Welcome
"The Earth Conservation Corps is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 as a White House domestic policy initiative. The Earth Conservation Corps provides hands-on education, environmental training, professional experience, and leadership skills for disadvantaged young people between the ages of 17-25 years old. As corps members improve their own lives, they rebuild the environmental, social, and economic health of their communities."
Race Matters - Earth Conservation Corps, Anacostia, DC
The Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) was founded in 1989 and takes as its mission "providing hands-on environmental education, job training and community service programs for people of all ages from diverse backgrounds, with an emphasis on serving at-risk youth from the inner-city neighborhoods of Washington D.C."
Earth Conservation Corps MySpace Page
Contains lots of videos and other media. Wonderful stuff. These kids, these young adults are amazing--especially given the shit-hole environment they live in. What an inspiration.
Saving Their Community , Ed Bradley Reports On Environmental Mission In Washington D.C. - CBS News
(CBS) Anacostia, which is just a few blocks from Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., has been called one of the worst neighborhoods in America. It is polluted by poverty, drugs and violent crime....The murder rate there for African-American men is so high that some see themselves as an endangered species. It's cut off from the rest of Washington by the Anacostia River, which is as polluted as the neighborhood....Saving both the river and the neighborhood is the goal of a group that teaches young people about the environment, and uses that experience in an effort to change the neighborhood and their lives. Correspondent Ed Bradley reports. Anacostia is a neighborhood where unemployment is epidemic and 38 percent of its residents live below the poverty line.

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