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Kristi Rangel has many facets: By career she is an educator, public health official, and artist. By passion she explores African American connections to the land in Houston.
When she talks, you quickly learn that her rootedness in nature runs deep. It starts with a three-times great grandfather who, although African, owned a large piece of property in Mississippi. It continues with her childhood adventures in family gardens and her adult efforts to bring raised vegetable beds to Kashmere Gardens Elementary School.
In this episode Kristi tells her story. She also shares her thoughts on property ownership, the conflicted history that connects black Americans to the land, and the need to find healing in nature.
Resources on Kristi Rangel’s Interview:
- Kristi Rangel’s website:
- Locations we mentioned:
- Organizations with which Kristi Rangel collaborated to provide Kashmere Gardens Elementary with services:
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Kristi Rangel Reclaims Space and Place - Episode Transcript
To view the episode transcript, either click here to open the pdf file or scroll through the text below. Be aware that you may end up doing a lot of scrolling!
Table of Contents (Clickable!)
Nivien Saleh:How can you love the land when on that same land your ancestors were forced to perform backbreaking work as slaves? [jingle]
Nivien Saleh:For Houston and Nature, I’m Nivien Saleh. A few weeks ago I visited the Facebook profile of Jaime Gonzalez, whom you met in episode one of this podcast. Jaime explained that together with Kristi Rangel he was organizing the event series “Witness: Exploring Connections between African-Americans and the Lands of Southeast Texas.” Turns out, Kristi Rangel, an African-American woman, is an artist who explores questions of nature and environmental justice. My interest was piqued, and I asked her for an interview. She kindly obliged and spoke to me about history, her work, the series “Witness” and how nature looks from her vantage point.
Nivien Saleh:Welcome to Houston and Nature, Kristi.
Kristi Rangel:Thank you so much. I’m so glad to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
Nivien Saleh:I recently came across the announcement of a new event series called “Witness: Exploring African-American Connections to the Land and Place”. And I thought, “Wow, how interesting.”
Landownership is the basis of prosperityback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:When we talk about the history of African-Americans and the land, it’s a complicated thing. For many of us people of African descent, our ancestors were brought over here, not as people. They worked, and they occupied land, but not as people. So when you talk about who you are and where you come from, typically we cannot point to a place that our ancestors owned. For me, though, I can trace my ancestry on my maternal side back to Hazlehurst, Mississippi. I had a three-time great-grandfather who owned acres and acres of land. He was so wealthy and owned so much land that he was afforded the rights to move and exist as basically a white man. Owning land afforded my family for generations the possibility of going to college. It afforded them wealth, and it affords us now every other year the opportunity to go to a homeland and a place to be.
A sinister aspect of black land ownershipback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:Now, my great grandfather who owned that land was a very fair black man, who of course was the son of a slave owner and a enslaved woman. Because of the misfortunate situation of his mother being owned by someone and him being the product of that coupling, he was afforded land, he was afforded that opportunity. So when we talk about African-Americans and land, it is a very complicated conversation, because we own this property, but then I can also trace it back to enslavement and the question whether or not that relationship between my ancient grandmother and the slave owner was consensual.
Nivien Saleh:Now you grew up in Austin, Texas, and …
The life of Kristi Rangel’s family has been rooted in the soilback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:I was born in Austin. I spent probably the first six, seven years of my life in Austin, and I pretty much grew up in Houston.
Nivien Saleh:How did you experience nature growing up here?
Kristi Rangel:Because my family has roots in Mississippi and my mother grew up in Kingsville, Texas, which is near the Valley where the King Ranch is, my great aunts all had gardens in their backyards. They grew vegetables. We would go to their homes and eat that food, or they would send those fruits and vegetables to our house. in the summers, I spent most summers in Kingsville. So I would drink the honeysuckle nectar, fight crawfish with my cousins, climb trees and be bitten by red ants. So even though I was here in Houston, I was deeply connected to the land and the hot summers of Texas.
A favorite aunt that did not use pesticidesback to table of contents
Nivien Saleh:You said that you participated in the vegetable gardens, you were bitten by ants. Maybe you chased some squirrels around. So it seems that your connection with nature from an early age was not: “Here are the vegetables. They are ours, and all these wild animals that come into the garden are pests.” Is that correct?
Kristi Rangel:Right. So my favorite great aunt. She’s no longer with us. But she was actually a aunt by marriage, and she grew up in very rural Arkansas. As a matter of fact her father was a former slave. The thing about my aunt Gee and her garden is that she did not use any pesticides. It was really this whole thing for her about her garden in her backyard having this type of harmony and this balance.
A home garden that rejecting the “Manifest Destiny” idea of natureback to table of contents I remember thinking how magical this woman was to be able to have a fig tree and pecan trees and to grow any type of vegetable that you could think of, and it was sometimes trial and error. She would say that she was going plant something. And it didn’t turn out right the first time. But she was always experimenting and thinking about moving things around in the configuration of her backyard. It was just magical to see her not fight with the soil and the land, because that’s this other type of thinking, I call it the Manifest Destiny way of thinking of nature – where we’re man and we’re going to bend nature to the might of our will. That idea is not only detrimental to the natural world, but to us as African-Americans, because the bending to the will and the might wasn’t just nature. It was Native American people. It was African-American people. It was also black and brown people who were considered lesser than. The funny thing about oppressive systems is that what they tend to do is rob you of the understanding of that harmony and the beauty of balance. Whether you’re the person inflicting the force or the oppression, or the person who is the receiver of that, you start to see things in this pull-push, plus-minus way versus the realness of how things operate, which is balance and harmony.
Nivien Saleh:The best parallel that I can think of for what you just said is permaculture versus conventional farming. I think conventional farming represents this bending-nature-to-our-will thinking, and permaculture is very close to what your magical aunt practiced.
Kristi Rangel:Her ability to see and know everything was so great that no one ever did anything wrong in her house. You dare not even tell a lie. It just went beyond the garden. She was a very astute lady.
Kristi Rangel’s decision to become a teacher was very practicalback to table of contents
Nivien Saleh:Wow. You moved from being a youngster growing up in Houston to becoming a teacher. How did that happen?
Kristi Rangel:How I got into education was actually a very practical decision. I had just had my daughter. I was still in college, and I wanted to pick a field where I could be with her on the weekends, have summers with her. And I decided to teach. Then I was fortunate enough to be a teacher at a school that was called “Kazi Shule”, which is Swahili for “work school”. At the time HISD had a partnership with SHAPE Community Center in Third Ward, where they co-located teachers and students who were experiencing behavioral issues.
Kristi Rangel is principal at Kashmere Gardens Elementaryback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:They were taught by HISD teachers, and the community center gave wraparound supports to the student and their family. Finally, I became principal of Kashmere Gardens Elementary. I chose to interview for Kashmere Gardens because even though I’m a native Houstonian, I never really had any teaching experience on the north side of town. Kashmere Gardens Elementary lies on the edge of Fifth Ward and one of our city’s poorest zip codes. After slavery people moved out of places like Third Ward and Fifth Ward where the slaves were held into other areas like Kashmere Gardens and Houston Gardens. They were places where the upperly mobile African-American people were able to be. Kashmere Gardens has a very low literacy rate. It has been hit by all kinds of things. It’s a food desert, it’s a book desert, it’s all these things.
Kashmere Gardens’ rich history and prideback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:What brought me there was that I was told I was needed. In my five years as a principal there, we had joy. We had laughter. There was fun. There was reading. We had math, and there was playing. The reason why for me, as a building principal, it was so easy to come and really be a part of that community and find the joy is because I understood that rich history and the pride that the families have there, because being there is a sign of resiliency post-slavery and the ability, regardless of the Jim Crow laws or the other not great things that were happening in Houston, to move into a place. They were able to own their home and to claim space and place for their own. I loved being there.
Drawing students into the arts and into natureback to table of contents
Nivien Saleh:Did your connection with nature stay with you, and how did it express itself?
Kristi Rangel:All along I was very intentional with connecting my students to two things, art and nature. I always made sure that my kids were connected to the community gardens through Urban Harvest. When I was a teacher at the SHAPE Community Center Kazi Shule School, the kids and I would walk down to the community gardens in Third Ward, which happen to be some of the oldest community gardens run by African-Americans. But when I ended up at Kashmere Gardens, I had a history of partnerships with arts organizations and also with nature organizations. Right across the street from Kashmere Gardens Elementary is a City of Houston community center.
Raised beds for Kashmere Gardens Elementaryback to table of contents At that center they have a community garden. My kindergarten and pre-K classrooms had started going across the street with their teachers to tend the garden. A City of Houston Health Department person named Mr. Garner was over the gardens for the City of Houston. We connected and made friends, and Mr. Garner found the funds for us to make our own raised beds on our campus. Not only did he find the funds, he also found people to volunteer. So from there we had our raised beds. And from that partnership, someone told me about the Katy Prairie Conservancy and put me in contact with them. I met Jaime, and funding…
Nivien Saleh:Jaime, Jaime Gonzalez.
Katy Prairie Conservancy builds a butterfly gardenback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:Jaime Gonzalez, who at the time was with the Katy Prairie Conservancy. Through that partnership, I was afforded the funding to start a butterfly garden. Myself and teachers and students, we would go with Jaime on weekends and rescue prairie plants. We would have all kinds of education around our vegetable garden and our butterfly garden.
Empowered by the history of black cowboysback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:We even had the Black Cowboy Museum come out because we found out that Kashmere Gardens sits in a Monarch Butterfly path. And that land was actually prairie land. So we had the Black Cowboy Museum come out, and they talked about Kashmere Gardens as a prairie and the history of black cowboys. In every place that I’ve ever been, connecting with nature has been a way that I demonstrate to kids who have not historically felt like school is a place with possibility, that just with the sheer might and the will and the want, you can take something as simple as dirt and seeds and make food, beautiful flowers and meaning. It’s very empowering to see that you can take these things that on their own you know, appear to be nothing and make them into powerful things like food or flowers that then attract bees and have this whole big broader effect beyond yourself, on the ecosystem as a whole.
Bridging social capital is my superpowerback to table of contents
Nivien Saleh:I don’t have personal experience with the school system. What I had heard was that Kashmere Garden has very much fewer resources than other schools in Houston. When you entered that school as a principal, you knew that you would have many fewer resources at your disposal than you would have had at another school. how did you feel about this? Did that make you dissatisfied? Or did that spawn in you entrepreneurialism?
Kristi Rangel:Everyone has a skill or a superpower. And one of my superpowers has always been that I’m a connector. My favorite saying is that it’s about the work, but the work is always about relationships. Part of understanding the importance of relationships is keen understanding of systems: the one that you’re in and the ones that are around you. There is this thing – and I’m sure you heard of it – it’s social capital. You have two types of social capital: bonding social capital”, which is what people tend to have amongst themselves, and “bridging social capital”. Vulnerable communities tend to have a lot of bonding social capital, because they are disconnected. They have to figure out their own systems. But they tend not to have a lot of that bridging social capital. I wanted to go and bring with me my social capital and my partnerships and my relationships. As a building principal there, I had a partnership with the Grand Opera, with Writers in the Schools, the public library and the Moores School of Music. Part of my work was tasking myself with making those connections and bringing people and things there so that my students would be afforded some of the things that other kids on other sides of town get.
Children pass the STAAR test but go home hungryback to table of contents
Nivien Saleh:Good for you. After almost 20 years as an educator, you decided to join the City of Houston as a public health administrator. And that’s a position that you still hold today. Tell me about your decision to leave teaching and go into public health.
Kristi Rangel:It’s very easy to start to think that because you control a schedule, you control these things, that you are in some way this all-powerful being. Kashmere Gardens really helped me understand that if a kid passed the STAAR test, they were still going to go home sometimes to a house that was food insecure, that was subpar housing. I came to realize that if I really wanted to do what I needed done for my kids and my families, school was only a small little piece of that.
Helping the community at the City’s Health Departmentback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:Going back to my ability to partner: While I was there at Kashmere Gardens, I had built a very good relationship with the City of Houston Health Department. Now they wanted to work with schools, but they knew that they needed to bring in someone who was an expert on schools to help with the planning and the building of programs. So the director Steven Williams reached out. He saw public health as more than shots and measles but that it’s also the social determinants of health. It’s also education, mental health, environment, housing. He was aware that I had grown weary of school and disillusioned with how much good I was really able to do. And I decided to go to the City. And because Kashmere Gardens, Fifth Ward was going to be one of the main areas they were really going to be focusing on, it would be a way for me to leave my building but not leave the community that I care about.
Nature shapes people’s well-beingback to table of contents
Nivien Saleh:When you left Kashmere Gardens, you didn’t just leave it behind, but the community had become part of you. And it seems that it is still very much a part of your life. I like that. The other thing that I see is that you take a very broad understanding of health. My question then is: How does nature play into that broad prospective?
Kristi Rangel:Nature has a lot to do with people’s wellbeing – not just their mental health, but also their socializing. We are part of an ecosystem. Everything makes up your environment: where you live, the green spaces, your air quality, the water quality, all those things are part of building a resilient community. Environmental justice and nature conservation are all a part of public health.
Tree cover in Gulfton and tree cover in Bellaireback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:One of the initiatives I’m a part of is the Greener Gulfton Initiative.
Nivien Saleh:Tell me about that.
Kristi Rangel:So we are working with the community to figure out how to green Gulfton – not for the people of Gulfton, but in partnership with the communities. It’s finding ambassadors, having listening sessions, educating ourselves along with the Gulfton community, so that we’re addressing things like the heat with the proper plant and foliage. Gulfton is one of the most densely populated places in our city. But it also has some of the highest heat indexes in our city. So how do we address heat and greening, and how do we not just advocate for the people of Gulfton, but enable them to advocate for themselves so that we can stop the things that have been in play that make Gulfton hot, but Bellaire, which is right around the corner, really green.
Nivien Saleh:Yeah. I do understand. In fact, I came across a really interesting organization called American Forests. It’s one of the nation’s oldest conservation organizations. And a while ago they did a fascinating study about tree equity. Tree equity is the gap between Americans who live with plenty of trees and those who don’t. And they show you a map of Houston and the differences in tree covers. You can see that the poorer areas have a lot fewer trees than the wealthy areas as you described.
The lack of tree cover symbolizes a lack of empathyback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:Here’s the reality: Neighborhoods that are food deserts are also book deserts, they’re banking deserts, they’re green deserts. What’s not there is a symptom of a systems thing. And I think we have a tendency to identify a inequity and hone in on that and not look at it in the larger ecosystem. A lot of it has to do with the lack of really seeing certain communities and people as full people and having empathy for them. And Gulfton, it’s lots of apartments. They do have houses, but not as many. Bellaire, you have more homeowners than you do people in apartments. And it goes back to ownership. Who owns land. Who’s identified by what they own, and seeing other people as simply people who occupy space, there to do tasks and jobs for people who own things.
Kristi Rangel’s “Witness Trees:” impartial observers and neutral groundback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:The whole idea of “Witness” is that we are living in a time where people are battling over critical race theory and what’s true, what’s not true. And here’s the honest answer. Nature is the one thing that has been here, and it’s seen everything. There is a park called E. R. Ann Taylor Park. In that park are these more than a hundred year old oak trees that I’ll call “witness trees” because they have beared witness to all types of things. A lot of people don’t know the history of E. R. Ann Taylor Park. It’s a park that is named after a couple. The man, E. R. Taylor, was a son of a slave owner, and Ann Taylor was a enslaved woman who was tasked with taking care of him after he came home from the confederacy …
Kristi Rangel:He had TB, and she was charged with nursing him back to health. She ended up pregnant. They were moved to the very edge of town. But E. R. Taylor was never disowned by his family. He traveled, he did business. Ann Taylor pretty much stayed there on the homestead. They had eight children. Six of them lived to adulthood. They were the first African Americans in the State of Texas to go to college. Ann Taylor is actually buried in the park because that park is a part of their original homestead. And in that park where she’s buried, there are these beautiful live oaks. I have named them “Witness Trees”. And so the name of this series is “Witness” because it’s very important for us to acknowledge and bear witness to our own stories. These trees have seen good things and bad things, and they stand there strong and beautiful. That is the reason why this series is called the “Witness” series. In the context of African-Americans, trees are great places, but they were also places that people were lynched and hung from, as African-Americans. So …
“Strange Fruit,” where trees are involuntary accessoriesback to table of contents
Nivien Saleh:There is a song called “Forbidden Fruit.” And when I heard …
Kristi Rangel:“Strange Fruit.”
Nivien Saleh:Oh yeah. When I heard that maybe a year ago, I thought, “Wow.” Nina Simone [sings]: Southern trees bear a strange fruit Blood on the leaves and blood at the root Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees.
Kristi Rangel:So for African-Americans, we have a very complex relationship with nature. It’s not what nature has done to us. It is what people in power have forced African-Americans to do in the midst of nature and what they have used nature to do to them. And in some ways, when we talk about environmental justice, polluting and pollutants, in a lot of ways for communities of color nature continues to be a source of sorrow. Not because of nature itself but because of the systems and the things that have been put in place by the largely Anglo mindset that are geared towards being more beneficial for Anglo people and people who live in places that are populated by Anglo populations.
Nivien Saleh:I wanted to add two things to what you said about E.R. and Ann Taylor Park to add a little bit of context. When you said that E.R. and Ann Taylor were moved to the edge of town. What that meant is they had a sexual … Sexual is not so important, but they had a quasi-matrimonial relationship, which was unacceptable for the white population, white family. So because it was unacceptable, they had to move out of Houston to what was then the margins. And that is where they had land. That is where later oil was found. And that is what resulted ultimately in the E.R. and Ann Taylor Park that we have today. The other thing that I want to mention is: When E. R. and Ann Taylor died, respectively, E.R. was put in the cemetery that is off Washington Avenue, which is …
Kristi Rangel:… For the prestigious, right? Because his father actually owned the Cotton Exchange. That’s where they brought in cotton. And they also brought in slaves. His family was one of the richest families in the city, one of the founding families of the city.
Nivien Saleh:Slave trader. Not only slave owner, but I think slave trader. So he was put in the most prestigious cemetery. But of course, Anne
Kristi Rangel:She was buried behind their home, which was on the homestead. The park land that was donated is the actual homestead. She is buried there along with two of her children who did not live to adulthood. She pretty much lived most of her life hidden away.
Nivien Saleh:And the park, I would say, is a way by her descendants of turning that injustice of having their father in one place that’s far away and inaccessible to them and her mother in a completely different place into something good and create essentially a memorial for …
Two majestic live oaks ion the south side of townback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:To her. And those live oaks are there on that land. And on my very first visit there after seeing her grave site and walking through the park, I came to this clearing. I saw these two big, giant live oaks that were just so big and majestic. I thought, even in the telling of the story of E.R. and Ann Taylor, there’s so many ways to spin and turn it depending on your perspective and what day of the week it is. It struck me that we, as humans, craft our stories and make our own versions of this and that. And really, nature stands here. It is the ultimate witness. This series is called the “Witness” series because, if we ground ourselves and attach ourselves to the most neutral observer, which is nature, and start to unpack our own histories in relation to this neutrality, then we’re able to come to some type of personal understanding for ourselves and have healing.
Kristi Rangel’s canvas: Dark-skinned women in fields of flowersback to table of contents
Nivien Saleh:Thank you. We’re getting a sense of the fact that you’re a woman of single-mindedness and determination. Your transition to becoming an artist is a really good example of that. Please tell the story of how you once you were a public health educator then became a newly-minted artist.
Kristi Rangel:I’ve always known I was an artist. Embracing my art and stepping out as a painter has a lot to do with confidence. Because when you say you want to be an artist, then the question is, okay, how are you going to pay your bills? And unfortunately, in the art world, just like a lot of different places, black women are not valued as much as other artists. Zora Neale Hurston, who was a writer that I love, she has the saying, “black women are the mules of the world.” And I tell people that when we talk about life in general, we tend to view it in the context of a white man. We talk about feminism, we view it in the context of white women. We talk about justice issues, it’s viewed in context of black men. Black women could be the helper and the doer and the person in between, but it’s very rarely that things are seen from our perspective. And for me, it was a matter of maturity and confidence. Right after Toni Morrison passed away, I was involved in a book club. We were reading a book a month about Toni Morrison. And what a lot of people don’t know about Toni Morrison is that she didn’t write her first book until she was in her forties. So I’m sitting in this book club, and we’ve just finished discussing one of her books, Sula, and we’re talking about her and her life. And it comes up that she didn’t start writing until she was in her forties. And she became one of the most celebrated writers in American literature, not just as a black woman, but in general. So I had a talk with myself, and I was like, you know what? I’ve spent all this time telling everybody that they could do whatever they wanted to do if they felt like they wanted to do it. And I’ve always known that I’m a painter. I’ve been married now to my husband for almost 30 years. So I go home and I say, “André, I have always been a painter, and I’m going to enroll at HCC and take a painting class.” And he was like, what? Cause I had no canvas, no paint, nothing. I’d never even talked about being a painter. And so he was like, okay. So I enrolled at HCC. I took two classes in person. Then the pandemic happened, and we went virtual. But I continued in the class, painted all the assignments and then some. I just painted and painted. From my first painting when I put the paint on the canvas it turns out, I am a painter. So in the summer I should be graduating with my associates in studio art. And it’s very important for me to do that because in this next phase of my life, which I want to dedicate to art and community-making, I want to live it the way that I’ve lived all the other parts of my life.
Give up the things that weigh you down, and reclaim your joyback to table of contents
Nivien Saleh:On your website, you connect your art to nature specifically. You make that a central part of your work. And when one looks at your paintings, you can see local flora and fauna. So I noticed there’s a Northern Cardinal there, a yellow crowned night heron. These are really local animals. And I saw a painting in which you pay homage to Toni Morrison. And that beautiful painting has a statement on it, ” if you want to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down.” It’s surrounded by a woman that holds flowers and by much bigger flowers. The painting is very colorful, bright and cheerful. And it speaks to me.
Kristi Rangel:Thank you. When we were brought here, our ancestors, they were brought here to do a task, like a hammer or a shovel or a tool, not as people. So the goal wasn’t to come and to thrive and to be here long-term. It was to stay as long as you’re useful. And after that, you’re sold, you’re bought, you die, whatever. Not being brought here to live and thrive, a part of that thriving and flourishing is happiness and joy. Many times when we depict African-Americans and oftentimes black women, they are not pictured as beautiful and being able to have joy and to have happiness.
Commune with that flower regardless of who you areback to table of contents
Kristi Rangel:That quote about letting go of the things that weigh you down goes back to nature being this impartial thing that is there. The flower does not care if I am a black woman, what side of town I’m on. I can commune with that flower regardless of who I am, however I show up. That quote with that woman, with the flowers is an illustration of joy and happiness and the fact that nature affords everybody that opportunity to experience that joy.
Nivien Saleh:And you don’t have to be African-American to be touched by that quotation because it
Kristi Rangel:We all have … it’s universal, right? The ability to connect is largely dependent on being able to empathize with somebody or something. That you can look at that picture and feel that joy and feel a connection, is the point. The whole idea is for people to look at those women in the context of nature and see them as people with full feelings and emotion because many times we stopped viewing people as full human beings that should be afforded not just empathy, but respect.
Nivien Saleh:People of complexity.
The “Witness” series: Experience dialogue in natureback to table of contents
Nivien Saleh:Oh, and where you can see one of the paintings is on the announcement for the series “Witness”, correct? So we see that the series “Witness”, in a way, is the culmination of everything that you have done so far. Tell me about ” Witness.” It is a series of four events, correct?
Kristi Rangel:Yes. It is a inclusive conversation that is open to everyone, hoping that everyone comes. It’s not a pre-scripted, written out, come-and-learn thing . But it’s inviting people to come. We’re really calling them to come and be with each other and experience the dialogue and the communing with nature and the unpacking of history with hopes not of giving any answers but sparking interest and curiosity, and really get people to think about African-Americans and the land. Get people to step away and stop being stuck in this us-and-them white-or-black thing. Be present not only with nature, but with ourselves and with others.
Nivien Saleh:The natural locations that you have chosen were deliberately not the usual ones.
Kristi Rangel:Each one of these locations are centered in the heart of communities that are historically black and brown. They are the sites of lots of history. And the organizations that are leading a lot of the work inside these communities are organizations that are working to not just be inclusive of black and brown people, but allow people with lived experience to be the lead and really embrace the green spaces where they live. It is about creating the safe green spaces where people of color, who feel that these environmental conversations are for other people, can come and understand that environmental justice, climate change, conservation, they’re not just other people’s conversations. They’re all people conversations. All of us need fresh air and water and green trees and worry about the heat index, because we want there to be a thriving environment for those who come after us. For me, from my art to the Witness series, it’s about legacy. It’s about what am I going to do to ensure that the people who come behind me are able to flourish and enjoy the same natural spaces that I have been able to enjoy.
Nivien Saleh:Thank you Kristi. Thank you.
Kristi Rangel:Thank you so much. It’s been great.
Nivien Saleh:We’ve arrived at the end of another interview, and it’s time to tell you that the excerpt of the song “Strange Fruit” was performed by Nina Simone. For more information on the topics we discussed, head to HoustonNature.com/21. That’s HoustonNature.com, a slash, and the number 21 for episode 21. There you can also sign up for my newsletter, “The Nature Memo,” and be notified whenever a new episode comes out. As you know, I don’t have a fixed publishing schedule but publish when I get around to it. On the website you will also find links to Kristi and Jaime’s Witness series. The first event took place in the Houston Botanical Garden in February. Event 2 is a group hike along Sims Bayou on March 12. Events 3 and 4 will happen in April and May, respectively. Consider joining. It would be great to see you there! If you liked the episode, please share it with a friend! For Houston and Nature, I’m Nivien Saleh.