On June 12 in Berkeley, Hesperian and several of our local partner organizations hosted a lively celebration to launch our new Community Guide to Environmental Health. Almost ten years in the making, the book arrived from the printer just a few days in advance of the event, and we were extremely pleased and proud to hand out copies to dozens of our collaborators.
The event featured displays of several activities from the book, including a full-color Snakes and Ladders game (board games are an important resource in a popular educators’ repertoire), a slide show featuring photos from many of our field-test partners, and presentations of the book by Hesperian’s Executive Director Sarah Shannon, as well as the book’s co-authors Pam Fadem and Jeff Conant.
We were also fortunate to have some words from Jayakumar C., the director of Thanal, a grassroots advocacy organization based in Kerala, India. Members of Thanal had field-tested the chapters on pesticides and toxics, and all laughed when Jayakumar proudly asserted that the ulterior motive behind their agreeing to field-test Hesperian’s materials was the group’s desire to use the materials in their own work. “We did what all good activists do,” Jayakumar joked. “We translated the material into our own language (Malayalam), published it as a booklet, and then asked permission to do so. Luckily, Hesperian was kind enough to grant us this permission.”
The great pleasure of the event – aside from the tremendous joy of sending our new book into the world after almost a decade in development – was in being among so many deeply committed, passionate, and experienced activists, advocates, and educators. It is a truly extraordinary crowd that makes Hesperian’s books what they are, and it was a thrill to spend an evening celebrating with so many of them.
Now we can’t wait to see the life the Community Guide… takes on in the world. We hope that you, as a member of the Hesperian community, will have a chance to put the book to use in the communities where you work!