Peace RG! My name is Ekundayo (sorrow to joy) Igeleke, the new Chapter Organizing Director. I often do not write about myself, let alone share it with the world but this is my attempt.
RG is new for me in many ways: Working with a cross-class staff, organizing people with wealth and class privilege, the culture and language of our base, working remotely, and much more.
I grew up in a culturally southern Black family and I also grew up in a Nigerian family structure. My Nigerian family has a “no excuse” mentality and values hard work and personal sacrifice for ones family. I was taught that I had to be better than everyone else because of my melanin so nothing less than a “A” grade was acceptable. As an immigrant, my father sought liberation through “ethical” financial means and through formal education. He wanted my sister and me to be doctors or in the STEM field to secure high paying jobs and to ultimately accumulate wealth.
We clearly did not listen because I am an organizer and my sister is an educator. Our wealth is serving the community rather than individual financial success or whatever success mean in the USA.
I come from a radical Black tradition of organizing similar to SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and the Pan African Movement. Since I was 16, I knew I wanted to be a changemaker like Malcolm X, Ella Baker, and Kwame Ture. Initially, I needed college to be my pathway to wealth and success. For college to be a reality, I had to be the best student athlete in the Nevada (My dad did not accept second place). Being an athlete was about survival and using my athleticism as labor. I ended up with a Track and Field scholarship working 20-30 hours a week. So being a full-time student, athlete, I found time to prioritize revolution. I was extremely active on my campus but eventually left the boundaries of the academy to focus on the liberation of my community. From 2010 to the present, my organizing has focused on in system and school-age youth, college students, and overall, education system, and the abolition of the prison system.
After 5 months, I am understanding this community more and the scope of the work. Through my organizing, I understand first hand the scarcity of money and resources, fighting on the front lines, and the frightening, yet courageous experience of staring racist police in the face while snipers are on every roof.
I have seen how philanthropy has not been the healthiest vehicle for true systemic change. I have felt and continue to feel the urgency of fighting for our freedom.
Joining RG, I have learned so much about wealth and class that I did not have prior. I am excited to work on reparations, policy changes, movement building, and activating young people. Though we are a national organization, local power is vital and I plan to focus on the strength of local communities and how RGers impact their communities through chapter organizing.
This is a new direction for me and a new direction for RG by hiring someone with my background. Peace and power to the People!
Resource Generation is a national, multiracial membership-based organization in the U.S. of young people (18-35) committed to the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power. Learn more here.