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Majora Carter

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Majora Carter founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 and secured funding for the 2007 groundbreaking of the South Bronx Greenway, which will bring 11 miles of bike and pedestrian paths to this urban community. A 2005 MacArthur Fellow and recipient of New York University’s 2007 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Humanitarian Service, Carter has served on New York Governor Elliott Spitzer’s Energy and Environment Transition Team and the Clinton Global Initiative’s Poverty Alleviation Panel. www.ssbx.org

How the hell did a poor girl from the South Bronx get here? Imposter syndrome aside, statistically speaking, I really shouldn’t be here.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

We need leaders who are not ashamed to stand up and say we are not willing to leave this world in the sorry state as the one we created. And I say "we" created – none of us just stumbled upon it. We created it – we are all responsible.

Oppose destruction with creation.

When you’re a woman and you try to touch the power – when you stick your head up and take a powerful stand on behalf of others – somebody’s going to take a swing at you.

That’s how you know you did something right, when the power that’s out there is afraid of the change you are going to make – so I gather my strength from my sisters.

Society gives women two roles – only two, victim or aggressor. Both can be used successfully to elicit responses, however, the real power comes from finding that sweet spot between the two. Where you can explain the problem, and bring people along with you, to a solution. Now I can’t say I always do that, but I can tell you, that I always regret when I don’t do it.

…Putting dollars into community supported infrastructure and land-use plans that benefits the majority of the people first.

Why aren’t we putting a cap on our poverty emissions? Poverty is violence. And like all violence, women are often it’s first casualty of war.

If you feel helpless, the best thing you can do is help somebody else.

Everybody needs someone to love, something to do and something to hope for.

Now think about it, if you feel you don’t have anything to offer, or anything to gain by being a part of a community, and there’s no predictable connection between the effort that you exert and the outcome – violence will happen. Violence will happen.

In the same decade that we’ve seen such unbelievable economic growth, poor people of all colors are getting poorer and communities are getting more toxic. That’s not caring economics.

The business of poverty is too expensive a bill for humanity to pay any longer. All of our solutions must incorporate poverty alleviation and policies that acknowledge and medicate the environmental inequities that poor communities have traditionally experienced.

We need to create strong markets for healthy consumers and healthy producers so that it is possible to be both.

Environmental justice for all is civil rights in the 21st century.

People are aching for leaders who inspire them to believe that there is a better way.

We are there now, and we can do this work together going forward.

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