Meet Wangari Maathai

Halloween costume First of all, you have to understand that Halloween in Chapel Hill is very different from any place I’ve known. It is very common for adults to dress up and go to parties and/or to Franklin Street. In recent years there have been about 80,000 people on Franklin at Halloween, which is more than the population of Chapel Hill and Carrboro combined.

I am a strong believer in Adult Halloween because it allows us to dress up in a way we otherwise wouldn’t and act out some part of our id that normally doesn’t see the light of day. In the past I have been J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, a sexy beatnik, and Valerie Solanas, among other things.

So, I procrastinated. Brian and I talked about being Han and Leia, then about being John and Yoko. Those costumes would have required some work, so that didn’t happen. Yesterday I was thinking I might try to use this blonde wig that used to belong to my grandmother. Today I remembered this nice semi-African dress (that coincidentally also used to belong to my grandmother).

I started looking for a headress, and I found a japanese robe in a similar color to the dress, I googled head-wrap techniques, and I got that sucker up on my head. Then I started to think about who I could be. I wondered if there was a fierce African activist I could emulate. Meet 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Wangari Maathai – ecologist, activist, movement leader, Kenyan government minister and member of parliament!

In the world there is a new collective force of people mobilizing around the issue of peace but linking it to the need to protect the environment. But we must assert or collective vision and responsibility to shape that peace not only for our country but also for the whole of Africa.
Dr. Maathai on the occasion of the Mini Beijing Conference Nairobi 1995

We have come a long way from ignorance to deep insight, from fear to courage and from the streets to Parliament. We moved from self to others, from my issues to our issues, from home to communities, from national level to global. Now we embrace the concepts of our common home and future.
Dr. Maathai at a political forum during the climax of political multipartyism in Kenya, 1992

BTW, while I was writing this I have been visited by a total of seven trick-or-treating kids, and they were ALL wearing costumes which is a big improvement over previous years.

4 thoughts on “Meet Wangari Maathai

  1. Awesome, Justin! After I wrote about getting some kids in real costumes, there were two more pairs that didn’t have cosutmes. I gave them each just one peice of chocolate and said they’d get more if they wore costumes next year. But they were 13, ie: not capable of listening to adults.

    I added some earrings before I left the house (but after the photos) that really added to my costume. The highlight of my evening was when I met a guy from Africa and he said he knew I was from his land. šŸ˜‰

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.