Connecting with Reza Rites and Friends, Connecting for Change in New Bedford

by Reza Corinne Clifton 


NEW BEDFORD, RI – From October 25 to October 27, if you were a community activist living in the Northeast, there was a chance that you were attending the Connecting for Change Conference that was held in New Bedford. 

The annual “Bioneers Network Event” is presented by the Marion Institute, an organization that works “with individuals, schools and communities to inspire change in the areas of health and healing, sustainability, green economics, environmental education, spirituality and much more.”

One of the ways in which Marion accomplishes this is through thoughtful, progressive and motivating speakers like Tanya Fields, whose video is featured here. Fields’ mantras and lessons included the declaration that “diversity does not ensure inclusion” and a laundry list of things “the hood does not need” including “missionary-style” philosophies and practices in regards to today’s “food justice” movements cropping up to address the absence of edible fresh fruits and vegetables and/or locally grown/produced foods in certain neighborhoods.

Another keynote speaker was Dr. Tricia Rose, the Brown University faculty member and acclaimed scholar and social commentator. On the 25th in New Bedford, Rose spoke on the topic of “pain, passion and possibility,” – particularly how we learn from difficult situations and how not to let strong feelings of guilt stop the sharing of anecdotes and data-gathering of painful topics like the legacies of slavery and everyday acts of racism. 

To view/hear the keynote talk by Tanya Fields, click on the youtube video above or here; follow Fields on Twitter @BlkGrlInc. To view/hear the keynote by Dr. Rose, click here; follow Rose on Twitter @ProfTriciaRose.

For more information about Connecting for Change (CFC), visit

To hear an audio wrap-up and review of the conference, including snippets from the talks by Fields and Rose, click on the graphic above or here to access a recent episode of Sonic Watermelons, my weekly Brown Student and Community Radio (BSR) show; in the episode, my co-host, Jose Ramirez, and I discussed CFC as well as other recently held or upcoming events that are sure to be of interest to a diverse group of audience members.