Many of you may remember Brighton was our preacher during the Season of Creation and for the Environmental Justice Forum in 2018. Here is a letter he sent in August, 2020.
Dear Michele, The Roberts Family, and Friends,
I hope this message finds you in a good state of mental and physical well being. I write this message from my university apartment in New York City. It was around this time last year when I met my friends in Delaware at the beginning of my graduate studies at Columbia. I remember not having a single penny to sustain even my little basic needs; like food. Michele, you never looked at me as a stranger but treated me like one of your own. When I reflect on this past year, I am filled with emotions and deep appreciation that God sometimes sends “guardian angels” during such times when hopelessness seems to be the only option.
Today, I wish to say “zikomo kwa mbili” (Thank you) even when I know that “thank you” isn’t gratitude enough to express my sincere appreciation for your endless love, generosity, and kindness. What we collectively call “ubuntu” in my native language Bemba. “A person is a person through other persons.” You have been a bigger part of my story and for that, I wish you the Lord’s choicest blessings and good health. I can’t begin to imagine how my life would have turned out without your support, morally, financially, and spiritually.
You continue to be a bigger extension of my family. In my daily prayer, “The Lord Will Provide,” I pray that The Lord may indeed grant you the serenity of Mind, the Physical strength to continue pursuing the mission of speaking for the marginalized, and the Will to continue changing more lives. I thank God for you, my family, for welcoming me to your home and your hearts and treating me like one of yours.
With the Lord’s help, this part of my life seems to be “the dawn of a new day” …. with the blessings of a job, this will unequivocally have a positive ripple effect on those around me. For all the support you have rendered, I promise to “pay-it-forward” to those who might be in need of help. I thank you for being wonderful counsellor, mentors, and most importantly an extension of my African family.
Brighton Mukupa Kaoma
Brighton Kaoma, Environmental Activist, visits in 2018
Brighton Kaoma is a 24-year-old Zambian Environmental Activist, Community Organizer and Social Entrepreneur. He’s passionate about inspiring people to live in harmony with nature. He’s the co-founder of Agents of Change – a youth radio and leadership organization. He began his community based environmental protection and conservation advocacy at the age of 14 after being trained as a radio broadcaster by the Childrens’ Radio Foundation.
Brighton has spent the last eight years training thousands of Young People across the African and European continent on issues of Environmental Advocacy, radio production, education for sustainable development and community organizing. He has held exclusive meetings on leadership and environmental justice issues with the world’s greatest thought leaders including former US President Barack Obama, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel with her Cabinet Ministers, and former Irish President Mary Robinson. He was designated as a UNICEF Climate Ambassador in 2010.
In 2012, he was keynote speaker at a post-graduate graduation ceremony at Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands where 400 graduates heard him. He has conducted community organizing trainings with social entrepreneurs, youth community organisers, children and youths in South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Kenya, Germany, Ethiopia, and Britain. He won the 2015 Queen’s Young Leaders Award from Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace in the UK. In 2016, World Wide Fund for Nature honoured him with its top International Accolade, the “WWF International Presidents Award”. Brighton is a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, Royal Commonwealth Society Fellow, and an Alumnus of Cambridge University and the University of Delaware. He holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Environmental Education from the University of Zambia.