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From Youth Organizer to Resiliency Organizer, Nos Quedamos’ Imani Cenac Shares Her Growth in Climate Leadership

When Imani Cenac first saw We Stay/Nos Quedamos’ online posting for a youth organizer position, she was just looking for some way to get involved with her local community in the Bronx, N.Y. 

Then a college senior, Cenac was getting ready for her final semester and knew that she was interested in food justice, environmental issues and access to resources. What she didn’t anticipate, however, was the path that her decision to reach out about the posting set her on. 

In the past year, Cenac, 22, has quickly risen through the organization, from youth organizer to assistant youth leader and now as the full-time resiliency organizer. In her new role, Cenac will be working with community gardens and youth to create spaces where the community can thrive. 

“There’s a lot in store for me,” Cenac said, a smile in her voice. “I’m excited especially to continue to work with the Environmental Justice Youth Project. I personally love the idea of having gardens as healing spaces for community members to support each other. Also, I’ll be working on resiliency hubs which are kind of similar … [in providing] support for communities in times of crisis.”

Youth involvement has been an integral part of We Stay/Nos Quedamos’ work in the Bronx. The organization, which is a Partnership for Resilient Communities partner, has been pushing for more youth participation and exposure, through its youth project and beyond, amplifying these important voices of leadership.

“Before this work, I would think, ‘I don’t know much about this so I can’t share anything until I reach these high positions.’ But in spaces like NQ, you get to move up so quickly. It gives you space to step into your leadership roles and build your skills in the process.”

Imani Cenac, Resiliency Organizer, We Stay/Nos Quedamos Tweet

“Before this work, I would think, ‘I don’t know much about this so I can’t share anything until I reach these high positions.’” Cenac mused. “But in spaces like NQ, you get to move up so quickly. It gives you space to step into your leadership roles and build your skills in the process.” 

Cenac’s biggest piece of advice for people who are similarly interested in becoming engaged? Just put yourself out there. After all, you never know what is waiting for you. 

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