After a long pandemic slowdown, Summer is bringing the bustle back to the ReBuilding Center.
An anchor of Mississippi Avenue’s business district since the 1990s, the building itself stands out with reclaimed facades, murals, and a cob tree sculpture.
Evolving over more than a generation, the ReBuilding Center today is firmly rooted in the movements against climate change and racism, focusing on reuse of existing resources, sharing with one another, and respecting the environment. “We’re here to disrupt the system and work towards environmental justice,” says staff member Alexandra Ferrara.
Organizationally, the Center defines itself as part of the movement toward an anti-racist economy “that is based in sharing and abundance and equity, rather than the racist strategies of extraction and exploitation,” Ferrara says. “This might feel like heavy stuff for a reuse organization, but it’s what guides our work internally.”
They stressed that the Center’s operations rely on community connections — members, volunteers, the contributors who drop off building supplies or send in money, and the students who pay modest fees to learn carpentry skills.
“We see our work as providing countless opportunities for people to see how their individual actions (choosing to reuse or repair, instead of buying new) can have an impact on the climate crisis and racial justice,” Ferrara says.
The ReBuilding Center urges supporters to join them in their fight for climate justice this summer in these three ways:
- Listen to the “Is Your Carbon Footprint BS?” episode of the podcast ‘How to Save a Planet,’ about the value of individual action vs. policy change and corporate regulation. The podcast is hosted by noted marine biologist Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and This American Life producer Alex Blumberg. (Ferrara says: “Spoiler! it’s all important!”)
- Once you educate yourself, consider what you can do, what changes you can make, and how you’ll talk to others about it. By talking to others about changes you’re making (eating less meat, biking more, installing solar, insulating your attic) you can multiply the limited impact of your actions.
- Learn more about how climate justice is linked to racial justice. Some very smart people have written about this if you want to dig deeper, including Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. of the Hip Hop Caucus, and Elizabeth Yeampierre of the Climate Justice Alliance. Look them up online!
- And last but not least, come to the ReBuilding Center! The warehouse store at 3625 N. Mississippi Ave., is full of affordable, reclaimed materials and is open daily, from 11am-6pm. The Center teaches multiple building and repair classes each week, ranging in topics from plumbing, electrical, and carpentry. Learn more about how to get involved at www.rebuildingcenter.org and follow them on social media.
“Sometimes guests come in sad, but leave happy — that means something to me,” longtime staff member Ella Rose says. “That’s not recycling wood; that’s recycling kindness.
“We all have goodness to share and an ability to show love. The more goodness we share and love we show, the better we can make the world.”