ABOUT MARCELO BONTA (the blogger)
Hi J.E.D.I.s! Thanks for reading my blog. It’s been so wonderful traveling on this journey in partnership with you all. I have been doing the J.E.D.I. thing for about two decades, namely facilitating individual, organizational, and systemic J.E.D.I. change processes, through coaching, advising, training, speaking, writing, strategizing, and co-creating J.E.D.l. tools, approaches, and curriculum.
I was originally trained as a conservation biologist. (My favorite job was monitoring endangered piping plovers and other threatened sea birds along the Massachusetts coastline.) I ended up shifting my career focus from biodiversity to people diversity after finding myself as the sole programmatic person of color at a national conservation organization. That experience was so bad that I didn’t want anything to do with the environmental movement ever again. However, I realized I could not abandon what I loved—those cute little puffy baby piping plovers and all my brothers and sisters having oppressive experiences with environmental organizations. Since the environmental movement could not be successful and sustainable until it got this J.E.D.I. thing right, I went all in. My experiences led me to co-create the Center for Diversity & the Environment, which I ran for a decade, providing transformational trainings for thousands of leaders and organizational change processes for dozens of institutions. I also co-founded the Environmental Professionals of Color, a network for leaders of color to survive, thrive, lead, and innovate.
Prior to J.E.D.I. Heart, I worked at Meyer Memorial Trust, helping the private foundation develop and implement an equity framework to guide its grantmaking, and I served as a Principal in The Raben Group’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practice, supporting foundations and environmental organizations.
I am driven by my vision of a future where my daughters may thrive in whatever occupation and lifestyle they choose; by the need to carve pathways through institutional and systemic challenges; by my love for wildlife; and by my faith.
ABOUT THE J.E.D.I. HEART LOGO
The heart represents love.
The stars that connect the lines in the heart refer to navigation as in navigating justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Observing the position of stars was a form of navigation utilized by numerous indigenous cultures from around the world. I am also giving a shout out to indigeneous peoples many whom have lived sustainably with nature for centuries.
The middle star is the North Star that continues to guide my message and work. The North Star also symbolizes freedom as it was used by slaves in the 19th century to navigate their way to freedom.
Lastly the ombre colors provide a double meaning: sunset and sunrise, which denote the evolution of the environmental movement, the cycles of nature, death and birth, constant change and renewing, emptying and filling, and letting go of the old and receiving the new. The sunset is a metaphor of the old way, setting in glory, celebration, and gratitude. The sunrise is a metaphor for the empty night sky being filled by the brilliance, beauty, inspiration, and co-creation of something new and more powerful. Originally, the colors were inspired by the radiant sunsets I would soak in as God deeply supplanted this blog idea into my heart.
First and foremost, thank you God for your direction, showing me my true identity, loving me fully, so I can love others fully, and planting the seeds of this blog in my heart. To my wife, Micia, thank you for being patient and supportive of my J.E.D.I. work through the decades and holding me through the many painful experiences, including being the only person of color at a conservation organization early in my career and the ups and downs that followed. To my daughters, Kyra & Stella, you inspire me every day to do my best in making sure this world is ready for your inner beauty and brilliance. Thank you, girls, for your art, editing, and overall artistic advice on the blog.
To my mentors early in my career: the late Charles Jordan, who had confidence in me when I did not have confidence in myself. Thank you for leading by example and teaching me how to love and Iantha Gantt-Wright who showed me how to have a big heart and took me under her wing. God bless you, Iantha. I think of you often in this work. Big hugs to Queta Gonzalez, the hardest working woman in the environmental movement, the sage, the wise one, the transformer. I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing the way I am doing it if I did not meet you. A special shout out to Vu Le of nonprofitaf.com who has mentored me with humor and SUPER patience with this whole blog thing. Thank you, June Reyes and Lokyee Au of Kulture Consulting for your web logo and website vision and execution! It’s so darn beautiful! Lastly, big ups to Chante Coleman, the editor in charge. Thank you for making my writing readable. ;)