Collective Care is a written interview series with people who are changing the world. Most often, these folks are working at the intersection of creative, healing, and/or activist work.
I’m in love with the idea of amplifying the work (and self-care practices) of people who are building a more compassionate world. In this series, I get to chat with people who inspire me like whoa.
Today we get to meet Isabella Zizi!
I met Isabella through local climate justice work, and our organizations frequently partner together. She manages to be delightfully positive and incredibly powerful, all in the same moment. She is an incredible leader and it is an honor to organize alongside her in the spirit of climate justice, Indigenous sovereignty, and a livable future for all beings.
Isabella, take it away…
How are you changing the world?
(What is your change-making, healing, and/or creative work? This might be paid, unpaid or a combination.)
I have been giving the instructions and opportunity to use my voice, and to speak from my heart what is most important for me and that is to make sure that the human race steps away from the fossil fuel industry and starts to focus more on natural resources that Mother Earth has to offer us.
As a young indigenous woman in today’s society I understand the importance for sticking to my cultural roots and helping others understand the importance of respecting all indigenous rights and listening to those who feel a closer connection to Mother Earth and make sure that our future generations can live in a way where we have clean air, water and soil.
What challenges your heart in that journey?
The challenges I face are the big corporations and people of power in offices who simply deny climate change and only focus on the profit they make off of these industries.
We need to help shift their minds to understand life is not about the money it is about living, breathing, and appreciating the only earth and the only life that we have to offer and to use it to the best of our ability in a respectful and meaningful way.
What inspires you to keep going?
The children, the unborn, and those who cannot speak up for themselves (plants, animals, air, etc) it has became my duty to make sure that I speak up for our younger generation.
I help those who seem like they have lost all hope in humanity, to understand we have not yet given up, we will continue to be resilient as our ancestors did to make sure we are heard, who that we can live free, and we can continue this beautiful journey and pass it on to the next generation.
How do you support yourself or tend to yourself and your heart in that process?
What nourishes and replenishes you?
I understand that I am only capable of doing so much, and what helps tend myself is simply rest. Health is always top priority. If I feel stressed or anxiety, I simply disconnect from organizing and focus on my mind body and spirit.
Whether it is meditating or simply escaping for a few days away from the city, my mind is not distracted from the continuous work that is needed to be done, it is a time to focus on myself.
How do you experience care within community?
How do others support you in your journey and practice?
In my indigenous community, it is very uplifting and encouraging hearing from the elders. I appreciate all of the stories they share, the different life experiences they had to face, and the dedication in their hearts. I always look up to the elders for advice and knowledge because they have already been through it, and I feel it is so important to keep that intergenerational connection strong.
What’s your best piece of advice you have for people who want to make a difference?
Continue to be respectful and mindful for cultures, religions, and practices. The best advice I can give is speak and act from your heart. Do it with love and continue to share the love with the work that you are involved in.
Paint us a picture of the more compassionate world and future you imagine.
I imagine a world without the fossil fuel industry.I imagine the children, the mothers, and friends playing in the clean waters, digging in the soil harvesting everything that they grew, and everything having an even balance.
I imagine that people only see from what’s inside. I imagine that we as people can live without a government or a system telling us how we need to live our lives, as we are able to come together in agreement of peace, love, acceptance, and respect for one another, the land, our waters, and ourselves.
Isabella Zizi is 22 years old, Northern Cheyenne Arikara (Uh-rick-uh-raw) and Muskogee Creek, and lives in Richmond California. She is a member of Idle No More SF Bay, and has helped organize many actions including refinery healing walks, supporting local indigenous rights, and support for Standing Rock in the Bay Area. She is also youth director for Earth Guardians Bay Area, which encourages youth to take on leadership roles within their community and to get involved and educated around environmental and social justice issues.
How to connect:
More about Isabella’s work:
You can find all of the Collective Care interviews right here!
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