Stephanie Cholmondeley

Regional Network: 
Pacific Northwest Regional Network
Class Year: 
2016
Position: 
Visionary
Organization: 
TREEhouse...Growing...Eating...Living
Location: 
Olympia

S. Cholmondeley

"Again and again in history, some special people wake up. They have no ground in the crowd. They move to broader laws. They carry strange customs and demand room for bold and audacious actions. The future speaks ruthlessly through them and they change the world."

As Social Entrepreneur in growing co-operative local, food economy, founder and visionary of The TREE Program; youth led edible education and outdoor classroom TREE Community Garden, and TREE Urban Farm School; Chief Innovation Officer for TREEhouse…Growing...Eating...Living; a Film Maker and Producer, Women in Film-Seattle 2006 recipient ‘Light of the Community’, Social Media Activist for Food, Economic, Environmental Justice, United Way King County Project LEAD – Class of 2011, W.S.U. Community Garden Specialist, W.S.U. Thurston County -Stormwater Stewards, and 2015 Graduate of The Center for Diversity and the Environment E42, Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program….

I am the realization of all of my ancestors’ wildest dreams; daughter of Mississippi’s Thelma Louise Emmanuel Jackson and Blackfeet nation Stanley Many White Horses; granddaughter of Amanda Lee Smith and Grand granddaughter of Anthony Lewis Moore. My origin story is a lived, complicated, messy and richly textured journey that lands firmly in my seventh iteration. With the kind of clarity about my own experience has come with time and distance, I would not be the person I am had I have chosen to dive in the early eighties an academic emersion of four years at seventeen, eighteen, nineteen nor can I dismiss the life lessons that have made me the person that I am; the history of being the hope of all my ancestors that survived and those that could not or chose not survive the journey as stolen cargo from our Mother Land, Emancipation, Reconstruction, the South, Jim and Jane Crow, Segregation, the Great Migration, the Civil Rights Movement, Brown v the Board of Education, and the Watts Riots. In that cellular memory and with all that I do I honor my ancestors, remember and hold them dear; their hope and promise of this caramel latte colored skin, square peg in a round hole, upstart, originator, influencer, and change maker.

My essential core value is fairness and my challenge is to create a place … to leave a legacy for the next seven generations …that demonstrates that I know of them…that I thought of them, that I loved them, their hopes and dreams, that I care about them …my community babies... my future tellers, my truth tellers and history makers in their own life, community and humanity.

I have awaken from the nonsense that I drank as a youth, shielded by the mandate of respectability politics. I took my eyes off the target thinking we had made racial progress with collective national amnesia from our ivory and black towers regarding what is slavery 2.0 with mass incarceration and anti-racism-white supremacy and its relationship to conceptions of citizenship, the rule of law, democracy, and justice that requires redefinition for people of color.   And now we have arrived here at this pre-appointed time 50 years later and paying the price. That success, achievement and pursuing the American dream at all cost as a salve against systems designed to reshape or morph with every penetration.

That I must leave my children’s children, children a world that has lodge a significant impact to dismantle systems of racism, colonialism, capitalism,patriarchy, white supremacy, modern day slavery and environmental sacrifice of our communities to bend the arc towards realization of the fullness of divine humanity, restorative justice, mercy, true equality, equity and stewardship that is collective cooperative in food, social, environmental and economic justice, health and wellness for all people of color.