“Have you ever heard the story about the little girl who put the world back together?” I can hear my dad’s voice coming through the phone like it was yesterday. I was standing outside a subway station in Bedstuy, Brooklyn bawling my eyes out after a particularly challenging day working as a teaching artist at an inner-city high school. “ No “ I whined, wondering where he was going with this..
Here’s my retelling of it..
Once upon a time there was a little girl who woke up every Saturday morning at the crack of dawn and ran to her mama’s room wanting to play with her. “Can we play a game mommy?” She’d say, jumping up and down on the bed. “Not right now, my love”. Her reply was always the same. “Maybe later..” “You always say that but we never do it.” The little girl snapped. What could her mama do?
Breakfast must be made.
The laundry must get folded.
The floor needed to be swept and mopped.
Surely those things could not wait, especially for something as frivolous as a game. “I’ll tell you what” mama said, glancing at a magazine on the night table. “We can play a game as soon as you do one thing for me. Do you see this picture of the Earth?” She tore the page out of the magazine. “Yes!” exclaimed the girl, excited about the proposition. “This is map of the world. I want you to put it back together” she said, tearing it into little pieces.
“Well how am I supposed to do that?” chirped the girl - hand on her hip. “I’m just a little girl, I don’t know where all of the countries and oceans go.” “You’re smart. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.” This should keep her busy for hours, mama thought.
She had not even yet put the sugar in her morning coffee before the little girl ran into the kitchen with the page all taped together, “I figured it out!”. Mama was in shock and utter disbelief. But sure enough, there was the picture of the world, all put together, every piece in its place. “That’s amazing! How did you do that?” “It was simple. On the back of the page was a picture of a woman. When I put the woman together the whole world fell into place.”
“We can’t change the world alone, Joi”, my dad said. It’s simply not in our power to do. But what we can do is change one person, fix one problem, solve one challenge. And those small little changes add up.
The Green Store is my little puzzle piece.
We equip you with the tools to change your life and change the world (little by little).
My vision for the future is for my children to inherit a world in which The Green Store doesn’t need to exist because we respect the earth and only produce products that are kind to it. It’s a planet where every child has access to healthy food and clean drinking water. A planet where no one’s child is killed (or discriminated against) for the color of their skin.
In this space, we are collectively reimagining a better, more sustainable future for ourselves, our communities and future generations.
In 2017, I launched “The Green Store”, a pop-up retail concept that focused on promoting an eco-conscious lifestyle while highlighting sustainable, ethical, purpose-driven brands. Much more than just a place to shop, The Green Store hosted a robust program of fun, engaging and educational events in an effort to spread awareness about environmental sustainability and equip people with the tools to live a more eco-conscious life. From “Recycling 101” to Zero Waste Cooking classes, it was a place to come, hang out, take a yoga class, drink a green “inner-G” smoothie and discuss how we can suck less as humans and build a better world. The following year I was invited to pitch The Green Store at the Global Youth Forum in Dubai and came in first place in the category of Environmental Sustainability.