In keeping with the Pittsburgh Platform’s core purpose, the Education Team’s focus is on empowering marginalized communities, particularly communities of color. The Team is currently working on a business model by which opportunities for environmentally sustainable job training can be identified by gathering stories relevant to the people’s lived experiences in these communities. The approach contrasts with traditional strategies that emphasize outside organizations’ attempts to convince disenfranchised populations of the need to create a sustainable environment. This project’s transformational idea is that the potential for economic uplift towards a sustainable future rests within the communities. When fully developed, the Team’s creative visioning will lead to a social entrepreneurial corporation that matches community needs and aspirations with the educational resources necessary to effect such positive social change.
KCK PATHWAY OUT OF POVERTY
The KCK (Kansas City Kansas) Pathway out of Poverty partnership with the Pittsburgh Platform is inspired by the life long journey of one man, Richard Mabion. Richard’s own path towards social and racial justice started early in his childhood, as his mother was centrally involved in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. This passion merged with an environmental consciousness-raising resulting from the Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The combination of addressing urgent societal priorities in order to achieve environmental health equity is embodied in Richard’s work. At the same time, Richard has the uncommon understanding of the immense challenges involved with bringing an environmental consciousness to marginalized, disenfranchised communities such as those that exist within Kansas City and every other metropolitan area, including Pittsburgh. The singularity of Richard’s vision stems from his insights into the dynamics of inner-city culture as well as from his vast environmental network of partners. Including governmental agencies, private corporations, non-profits, institutes, academicians, and well-respected environmental change agents both nationally and internationally. Using Kansas City as a model, we intend to promote an approach whereby environmental consciousness comes through economic uplift within the communities through a pathway of environmentally sustainable job creation and business opportunities.