Ki'Amber Thompson

Roles at NAAEE:

30 Under 30

Charles Roundtree Bloom Project

San Antonio, TX, United States
Age: 25

Ki’Amber's work brings outdoor healing justice for youth of incarcerated parents in San Antonio, Texas.

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

Through the Charles Roundtree Bloom Project, I am building out a culturally relevant environmental education curriculum that helps youth connect with and explore outdoor spaces that many of them are being exposed to for the first time. The goal is to inspire them toward environmental stewardship and help them envision new possibilities for their lives, for their communities, and for our world. I am using education to create access to healing through nature and to support the development of the next generation of leaders who will make a positive impact in the world we share.

Tell us about your journey to where you are today. 

I grew up in neighborhoods that were hyper-policed and hyper-incarcerated. Several of my family members were incarcerated and I saw the compounding impacts of incarceration on families. When I got to college, I discovered the outdoors as a space of healing. I studied environmental justice and was involved in student organizing for prison abolition and fossil fuel divestment. My organizing experiences grew my leadership skills and revealed to me that education work is where I felt most engaged and in my element.

After spending a summer in Flint, Michigan, piloting a youth water testing and education program and a year in Washington, D.C., at the Ocean Conservancy doing storytelling and policy work, I decided to return home to start the Bloom Project. Here I am able to use my knowledge and expertise to uplift youth impacted by incarceration by providing them with something I could have benefitted from as a kid.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders?

Dream big and don’t believe the naysayers. Set goals for yourself, make a plan, and find people that will help you reach your goals. Find good mentors. Remember where you come from and all the people that helped you get to where you are. Speak up because your voice is powerful.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I would have the power to have multiples of me so that I could be in different places, living out multiple lives and experiences.