Osceola Ward is a recent MA graduate of the UCLA African American Studies program. During his tenure at UCLA, Ward completed the Leaders in Sustainability certificate program through the University’s Institute of Environment and Sustainability (IoES). It was on his journey to obtaining the BA in African American Studies at Howard University that he grew interested in the intersections of race, class, and the environment. He began to explore the disconnect between environmental health, food access, and socioeconomic status, while encouraging Black and Brown communities to reclaim their space in nature. Ward’s close work with local non-profit’s to expose marginalized youth to the outdoors earned him a fellowship from the Los Angeles Sustainability Collective.
Through this work, he has found an opportunity to combine his goals for communal advancement with his desire to provide sustainable solutions to the health and environmental crises of these vulnerable populations. Ward has since returned to the Bay Area where he is deeply engaged in movements for food justice, environmental justice and health equity. His holistic approach to pursuing justice centers compassion, mindfulness, and mutual understanding. Ward hopes to advance intergenerational, trans-communal and interfaith dialogue in all the work that he does.
In 2015, Osceola earned his official certification as a lead instructor for Outward Bound Adventures, a non-profit organization dedicated to exposing underserved students in the Los Angeles area to the outdoors. Through this work, he has found an opportunity to combine his goals for communal advancement with his desire to provide sustainable solutions to the health and environmental crises of these vulnerable populations. Ward has led numerous hikes, and during these tours he imparts wisdom based on knowledge gained from the graduate classroom, travel, and community involvement. He weaves together his theoretical framework around environmental racism and his own praxis of engagement which creates a safe space for reciprocal learning and growth between himself and his students. Ward was featured in a recent Fusion article, entitled “A New Kind of Role Model” for his outstanding work.