Grind for the Green: an interview wit’ organizers Ambessa and Zakiya

by the Minister of Information JR

Grind-for-the-Green, Grind for the Green: an interview wit’ organizers Ambessa and Zakiya, Local News & Views The dynamic duo of the Bay Area’s “green movement,” Ambessa and Zakiya, have been organizing the Grind for the Green Festival for a few years in an effort to get Black and other youth of color interested in “sustainable” living practices. Mixing the music industry with environmental politics seems to be the ticket on how they have managed to get hundreds of youth from all over the Bay to be their captive audience. Past guests have included Bicasso of Living Legends, Charlie 2na, and Dj Backside. This year the keynote speaker will be M1 of dead prez. Check out what Ambessa and Zakiya have to say about this year’s Grind for the Green conference, which kicks off July 18th at 10am in San Francisco. 

M.O.I. JR: What is Grind for the Green? And why is it needed?

Ambessa: Grind for the Green is a Bay Area non-profit organization that aims to move youth of color from the margins to the epicenter of the sustainability movement. We do this through the culturally relevant medium of hip-hop culture. We are needed because very few organizations focus on supplying youth information on and access to the growing Green Movement.

M.O.I. JR: What is happening at this Grind for the Green? Who is going to be presenting at this festival?

Grind-for-the-Green-0718091, Grind for the Green: an interview wit’ organizers Ambessa and Zakiya, Local News & Views Zakiya: Well on July 18 we’re fully launching our summer series with our pedal powered conference between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at San Francisco State’s downtown campus. We’ll have a keynote address by M1 of Dead Prez and Gian Fiero, a professor at SF State, will deliver a music business industry speech.

M.O.I. JR: Who were some of the past panelists? What has the response been in the past?

Ambessa: The response from the community locally and nationally has been crazy. A lot of folks have been excited about the program as a new model of how to organize the movement. Past panelists have included Talib Kweli, Radioactive, Stic Man and Hieroglyphics.

M.O.I. JR: What do you think is the most important issue facing the environment?

Zakiya: Us, people! We aren’t saving the planet; we are saving ourselves from ourselves. So that is the biggest issue facing the environment: us. Also consumerism is contributing greatly to global warming. Africans in the Diaspora have been taught to consume their problems away.

M.O.I. JR: What are two simple things that we could do to take care of this in our everyday lives?

Ambessa: Live as natural as possible with the goods we use, buy and consume. Become committed to ending all sorts of oppression.

M.O.I. JR: When is the Grind for the Green Festival? How can people get in touch with y’all?

Zakiya: The festival kicks off July 18 at SF State’s downtown campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and goes on all summer long.

Email POCC Minister of Information JR, Bay View associate editor, at and visit