markese-pic-1Roots of Success Instructor Markese Bryant was recently profiled as part of’s ongoing series on People ‘Changing the World.’ Bryant, an Oakland, Calif. native who was thrust “from the mean streets to the green economy” after an arrest convinced him to turn his life around, has emerged in recent years as a tireless advocate for the next generation of African American environmental leaders. “The students I was reaching are going to be leaders in the African American community,” Bryant explains in the article, “I knew if we could mesh their energy with the environmental movement, we could popularize the idea of sustainability.”

Bryant worked for several years with early Roots of Success supporter Green for All, an Oakland-based organization working to simultaneously build the green economy and lift local citizens out of poverty, before being awarded a “black male achievement” fellowship at Echoing Green and launching Fight for Light, Inc. — an initiative working to transform communities by empowering local Black college students to be environmental leaders. Working primarily within HBCUs, Fight for Light will provide access to education in sustainable energy, urban agriculture, and environmental justice — with Roots of Success playing a key role in exposing participants to green concepts and opportunities.