by Sarah Thompson and Cherice Bock
Sarah Thompson contributed an excellent chapter to Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith & Practice entitled, “An Ecological Beloved Community: An Interview with Na’Taki Osborne Jelks of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.” I loved reading their thoughts and conversation focused around the question, “What might it mean to be in solidarity with struggles in other watersheds to build the ecological Beloved Community?” (102). Recognizing that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (Martin Luther King, Jr. in “Letter from Birmingham City Jail”), Osborne Jelks and Thompson discussed the concept of SSDP: “Same Struggle, Different Place,” between the communities with whom they work. Osborne Jelks has been working with the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) to advocate for the predominantly African American community living in a region of northwest Atlanta where a sewage overflow system results in raw sewage running through a creek in residents’ backyards. Learning about WAWA’s activism and successes is an inspiring read, and covers some important ground regarding the intersection between racism and environmental degradation.
I also wanted to learn more about Sarah Thompson. She shares a bit of her story in the chapter, and what she shared made me want to learn more about her own work, and the directions she would like to go with watershed discipleship. Until recently, Thompson worked as executive director for Christian Peacemaker Teams, so I was particularly interested in hearing her insights about the connections between nonviolent direct action, international conflict, civil rights, environmental justice, and faith. Read more