Cesar Almeida

Roles at NAAEE:

30 Under 30

DJ Antonio Cesar showcases green spaces in Chicago one artistic performance at a time.

How are you using education to build more sustainable and equitable communities?

“The preservation of ancestral form is meaningless without a genuine development program.”

As an artist, educator, and global meaning maker, I design artistic and educational programs for youth and young adults to conserve and uphold ancestral forms, including environments, cultures, and languages. This work challenges Western Colonial approaches to education by centering the learner’s identity, embodying youth-led approaches, and validating new media as literacy. Ultimately, I recognize that the environment is not only about the birds, bees, and trees but is about the places we live, learn, eat, and sleep. 

Photo of DEJ Episode 1 in action. Tell us about your journey to where you are today.

Today, I am in a state of Sankofa, which means I am revisiting my past to retrieve what is valuable for my ascension. This ascension is a spiritual and physical ascension into a place of broken cycles, curses, and ancestral guidance.

What are you happiest doing?

Health is the most important thing in my life, so I am happiest when I am working out, eating well, and feeling energized. 

What book, film, or art piece has had the greatest impact on you?

My favorite genre of movies is psychological thrillers because they make me think until the next morning.