Gatheru is an environmental justice advocate, writer, and current graduate student at the University of Oxford. She is a first generation American of Kenyan descent, and the first Black person in history to receive the Rhodes, Truman, and Udall Scholarships. As the founder of Black Girl Environmentalist, an organization which uplifts the voices of those most adversely impacted by environmental inequities, she leads conversations around the climate crisis and joined KUA on Friday to close a week of immersive and reflective events.
Gatheru recommended finding a personal path to a just future for the climate and offered her perspective on how to tackle some of the most challenging social, economic, racial, and environmental obstacles facing the world today.
“The environments that we facilitate have to be a fertile foundation for building a new world among each other, one of kindness and care and community,” Gatheru explained. “All of us will be the ones to make future generations proud, and we will save ourselves and the planet in the process. We must embody the justice we want to achieve.”
In the days leading up to Gatheru’s presentation, students investigated a wide range of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice topics. They completed workshop facilitated by global scholars, alumni, parents, and community experts on subjects including the loss of local bird species, immigration patterns, the current conflict in Russia and Ukraine, and much more.
“Wawa’s words were incredibly grounding and filled with inspiration,” commented Takeo ‘23. “As we navigate through such uncertain times regarding many social and political conflicts, being reassured that there is hope and a way to create a just future truly has resonated with the activist spirits of KUA students.”
The KUA Consortium is sponsored through the generous support of alumnus Timothy Case, who established the Timothy P. Case ’80 Fund for Student Life Programs. This fund provides financial support for education and training for students and faculty to promote individual responsibility, respect for diversity, opportunities for leadership, and develop the virtues of citizenship in the community and in the greater world. In addition, KUA was able to bring Gatheru to campus through the support of KUA alumnus and trustee, Don Lowery ’73.