ThinkingNext aka as ThinkingNext2049 combines two important elements for me. The phrase “thinking next” and the number “2049” speaks to our goal of planning toward the future. I found myself critiquing and irritated by well-intentioned people who seem to always be applying salve to the pains of being black or brown and from the hood. Everyone seemed to be thinking in the now, no one was implementing solutions that focused on thinking next in a way I felt was most effective.
“2049” also reflects where the original desire to change the world started- my grandmother, Ada Mae’s front porch. The sanctuary and pain her house provided and housed now serve as my raison d’etre. In particular, helping those children whom society has already given up on.
So, after years of complaining-about gentrification, the penal system that strategically and intentionally oppresses our communities, those black folks from the hood that don’t give back, those people who come to the hood and plant some trees and then walk away feeling assuaged of their white guilt-I realized that my irritation could be better used toward my own plan of action; so here we are: ThinkingNext2049.
My aim here is to be some of the glue that catches those of us that unnoticeably fall through the cracks. Some of the ways my team and I achieve this are by engaging our communities to donate brand new books to local juvenile halls and schools, creating Q&A panels for local junior college students to speak with black and brown junior college alums who made it to grad school, initiating a “Beautify Oakland” project that focuses on planting flower beds and trees in Oakland parks...like the real Oakland that hasn’t been gentrified and thus forgotten. We have more projects in the distance and would also love to collaborate and hear from you all! Please slide into the DMs if you’re interested in connecting!