Three great stories we found on the internet this week.
As movements to return land to Indigenous peoples are gaining momentum around the world, a new report by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) shows significant progress. The study found that Indigenous peoples, Afro-descendant peoples and local communities now own 11 percent of the world’s land. Between 2015 and 2020, land legally designated for or owned by these groups increased by 102.9 million hectares (254 million acres).
This is good news not only for Indigenous peoples, but for the climate, too: research has shown that Indigenous protected lands have lower rates of deforestation than unprotected areas, and Indigenous lands include some of the Amazon’s last remaining carbon sinks.
“Where there is the good revitalization of Indigenous culture and worldview, there is also a good embodiment of the traditional lifestyles and values of sustainability,” Gam Awungshi Shimray, secretary general of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, told Mongabay. “Whenever we see that kind of vibrant institutions and the embodiment of those values and practices of leadership who are leading with this kind of visionary way, that’s where we also see good conservation.”
Aurora James, founder of the shoe brand Brother Vellies, is best known as the force behind the nonprofit Fifteen Percent Pledge, which calls for retailers to devote 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. Her new project — the Friends and Family Collective, a fund for Black founders — builds on that work.
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The collective has already invested $25 million in brands that include the chef collective Ghetto Gastro and skincare company Beautystat. For added support as companies grow, Friends and Family Collective also connects founders with a team of advisors.
“We can get all the shelf space in the world, but if we don’t have the resources we need in order to help Black-owned businesses take advantage of the opportunity, then we’re just stuck,” James said.
This year, 300 students in New York City participated in a program designed to lead former foster children toward a more stable future. For each student, College Choice funded up to $15,000 of tuition and room and board along with a $60 daily stipend. All eligible students who applied on time were accepted.
Some of those students graduated this month, including Bangladeshi immigrant Marowa, who entered the foster care system at 16. (Marowa was previously enrolled in “The Dorm Project,” a similar initiative that the College Choice program improved upon.) She is still advocating for children in foster care — and hopes to someday be a foster mom herself.