The Story of Turkey Creek: Self-Determination and Resilient Communities
IN THIS EPISODE
[01:46] Derrick Evans is introduced.
[01:55] Derrick shares his background, which led to the Turkey Creek Community Initiatives.
[14:46] Derrick reflects on what it felt like when he first moved to Boston and what kept him there.
[22:31] Derrick talks about the impact of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita on Gulfport and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
[31:59] Is the Gulf Coast Fund what Derrick meant by resilient communities?
[32:48] Derrick discusses his definition of climate change.
[36:03] Derrick agrees that people in Gulf Coast communities saw the climate changing.
[37:34] Derrick describes the documentary film “Come Hell or High Water” and mentions the impact it’s had on Turkey Creek.
[43:43] Derrick tells about the things that communities can do to make themselves better prepared to withstand or recover from climate impacts.
[46:35] If environmental-protection responsibility gets pushed back to the states, what will that mean in terms of work with Gulf Coast communities around resilience and Mississippi DEQ? Are there good working relationships there?
[49:08] Derrick adds his closing thoughts.
[56:06] Derrick provides one change that would lead to more resilient, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
[56:31] Derrick states the action that listeners can take to help build a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable future.
[56:43] Derrick shares what resilient Gulf Coast communities look like 30 years from now.
Derrick Christopher Evans is the director of Turkey Creek Community Initiatives and a managing advisor to the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health. Since 2001 he has worked to help protect and revitalize his coastal Mississippi community and sister communities throughout the region. Prior to that he taught civil rights history at Boston College and social studies in the Boston Public Schools.
“My community went from being entirely undeveloped—swamplands—to being sort of a pastoral, forested, agricultural type of thing where people were subsistence farmers and fishermen to a community that was the site of multiple coastal timber-industry employments and facilities.”
“This is what, pretty much, TCCI’s m.o. has always been was to recognize the very long list of community ailments and challenges, turn those into an equally long, if not longer, list of possible prescriptions or remedies, including things that we had never thought of before, like coastal ecological restoration, which now is bearing fruit nearly twenty years later; historic preservation; even looking at a historic longstanding, uncleaned, EPA-toxic cleanup site and saying, you know what, that’s a historic site as well as a headache. Let’s use some creative visioning to frame this in such a way that it makes our circle bigger. When you have that list of possible solutions, it attracts from within the community and from without the community potential contributors to the problems that need to be solved.”
“I had a teacher once—the greatest teacher I ever had—who told me that is was no accident that the overwhelming majority of the most impactful ‘spokespeople’ for the race—the black race—historically, like, Frederick Douglass, Dr. DuBois, even Louis Farrakhan, and so forth and so on, had spent formative time and years in and around Boston, Massachusetts.”
“I remember when Hurricane Katrina hit, and my first thought was that this event is either going to…finish off Turkey Creek and its sister communities or open a door for their survival and transformation, particularly as the most not only impacted but instructive places on what not to do again.”
“We’re not resigned to injustice, we’re not resigned to the structuring of privilege and access and inequitable ways; but we will not be resigned at all to inefficacy on our own parts.”
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