Where is home after a climate disaster?

Subscribe to Lemonada Premium for Bonus Content

19-year-old Chanté has been forced to leave her home twice because of climate disasters: first when her family fled New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina, then again when Hurricane Harvey hit her new home in Texas. This left her processing a lot of trauma and questioning where she really belongs, while her mom, Stasia, struggled to take care of her family and start over. Today, Chanté wants to ask Stasia: what does home mean after being displaced twice by environmental disasters?

Looking for resources? Visit ineedtoaskyousomething.org for info on how to strengthen relationships, deal with traumatic events, and get help.

Dr. Monica Band is the host of this show and consultant with the Jed Foundation. Chrystal Genesis is our supervising producer. Giulia Hjort is our producer, and Rachel Lightner is our producer and audio engineer. Tess Novotny is our associate producer. Mixing and original music by Bobby Woody. Additional music by Andi Kristinsdottir. Special thanks to Kelsey Henderson. Jackie Danziger is our VP of Narrative Content. Executive producers are Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs.

This series was created with The Jed Foundation, a non-profit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults. Find ways to manage your emotional health, cope with challenges, and support the people in your life at jedfoundation.org. 

This series is presented by Hopelab, a social innovation lab and impact investor supporting the mental health of adolescents, ages 10-25, especially BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth. Learn more at hopelab.org

This series is also presented by the Stupski Foundation, returning resources to the communities it calls home in Hawaiʻi and the San Francisco Bay Area by 2029 to support just and resilient food, health, and higher education systems for all. Learn more at stupski.org. 

This series is also presented by the Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Learn more at luminafoundation.org.

Follow I Need to Ask You Something wherever you get your podcasts, or listen ad-free on Amazon Music with your Prime Membership.

You can also get premium content and behind the scenes material by subscribing to Lemonada Premium on Apple Podcasts.

Follow Dr. Monica Band on Instagram at @the.mindful_healer. Stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.

Want to become a Lemonada superfan? Join us at joinsubtext.com/lemonadasuperfan.

Click this link for a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and all other Lemonada series: lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.

To follow along with a transcript, go to lemonadamedia.com/show/ shortly after the air date.



Dr. Monica Band, Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Chanté, Stasia

Dr. Monica Band  00:01

bandThis episode includes conversations about the emotional toll of environmental disasters. Remember to be kind and patient with yourself. And if you need to take a moment to pause while listening. We’ll be here when you’re ready.

Chanté  01:17

My mom and I, we were affected by the climate crisis not once but twice. being displaced, we lose a lot of things. And community can also be a part of that when we have to move in moving from New Orleans to Houston was probably the biggest jump because there’s definitely cultural differences. My family’s background is like African American and then also like Louisiana Creole, which is not that much of a thing in Texas, even though it’s a border state. I like to think of New Orleans as a big city, small town. So a lot of people like know each other. And then you have Houston, which is like a big metropolitan area. It’s like a culture shock almost.

Dr. Monica Band  01:59

That’s Chanté, a 19 year old college student at North Carolina’s Duke University. She’s here to talk to her mom’s deja about the meaning of home and the emotional impact of being forced to flee environmental disasters.

Chanté  02:13

Back then, especially coming off the cusp of Katrina, people would look at your side either be like why don’t you go back home and I have to tell them like I don’t have a home and like got flooded. I feel like being displaced definitely affects your mental health in possibly like the most negative way like you just don’t really have a sense of home and like, god forbid you don’t have a sense of community. It can be like this like deep feeling of unworthiness, and then also this deep desire to want to go back home.

Dr. Monica Band  02:45

Chanté’s family has lived in Louisiana for over seven generations. And she’s the first in her family to grow up elsewhere. This change up ended which he knows to be home. And she has always wondered.

Chanté  02:57

What this home mean after being displaced by the climate crisis?

Dr. Monica Band  03:04

So many of us live with a constant undercurrent of worry when thinking about the future of our planet. It’s our shared home. And with that comes so many conflicting opinions on how we take care of it. This uncertainty can create a lot of stress, especially with younger people like Chanté, who already feel the weight of the climate crisis on their shoulders. I hear from more and more young clients who are consumed by fear for the planet’s future. They’re worried about a safe place to live if they should have kids and the state of the planet once they inherit it. This is something we’ve therapists call ECO or climate anxiety. For Shantae and her mom Stacia, the climate crisis came right to their doorstep in the summer of 2005, in the early hours of the morning, Hurricane Katrina ripped through Southeast Louisiana where Shantae and her family lived. It broke levees and floodwalls in New Orleans and surrounding areas. It was catastrophic and caused massive flooding. Almost 2000 people died and millions lost their homes. I vividly remember the news footage of people on rooftops of sinking properties desperately waving down helicopters to help. I remember being outraged at the government slow disjointed response to help survivors Shantae and her family were among the 1000s of people who evacuated losing absolutely everything in the storm. Today Chanté wants to dig deep with her mom on how displacement impacted their sense of home relationship and mental health. This is I need to ask you something and I am your host, Dr. Monica Band.

Stasia  04:57

Life for me was great I work from the school system. I own my own home, I raise my children, and it was just normal every day living the life going to different festivals, you know, just loving New Orleans. Then here comes big bad Katrina.

Dr. Monica Band  05:17

That Stasia shanties mom. It was the weekend before Katrina touchdown in Louisiana.

Stasia  05:24

I heard the announcement, but I didn’t really pay attention to her because they, they had said that once before for another storm, and nothing happened. And I really wasn’t going to leave. But when Ray Nagin, the mayor at the time, got on TV and said, I think y’all need to evacuate. I said, Okay, let’s get our stuff. And we’ll just go wherever the wind blows us.

Dr. Monica Band  05:48

Stasia didn’t have time to process the magnitude of what was happening. She jumped into action, frantically rounding up her five children, her parents and pretty much her entire family.

Stasia  05:59

My oldest son had to go to work. So we’re calling trying to call him to see what time he gets off. So we can leave. And they said, people called off, they weren’t coming in, the manager wanted him to stay till midnight. So in between noon, and midnight, we were like calling our family members and see who was going where and what everybody was doing. So by time we got everybody together, my son got off that midnight. And then that’s when we laugh.

Dr. Monica Band  06:31

For Stasia and her family, the struggle to find a new sense of place in the wake of disaster was literal, physical. And on top of that, they were grieving a home they couldn’t return to because it was damaged beyond repair.

Stasia  06:45

So we wound up in Houston, we just started making it home is really not home, but his home for us.

Dr. Monica Band  06:56

In order for me to understand what home means to them, I need to visit their past, and the place that will always be like home, whether they live there or not. New Orleans. To get to the question, I need some help from mom, I spoke with Stasia and Chanté, when they were back in New Orleans for a visit.

Stasia  07:15

This city is so full of love, you never meet a stranger, you go out your front door, your neighbors are talking to you, you go to the store, people are just talking to you is not, I don’t have to know you, you’re going to talk to me, we’re going to have a conversation. And you exchange stuff, your ideas you talk. And this is what makes Community Music. You can hear music wherever you go. And not only that we had the greatest food ever. You can go anywhere else in the world, you will not taste the food that we have in New Orleans. And at first I say well, I’m just gonna cook it when we get to Texas. No, it’s different. You have to be here in order to enjoy it.

Dr. Monica Band  08:00

The way your face lit up. When you started talking about your life, pre Hurricane Katrina was just.

Stasia  08:09

I feel so alive when I’m in New Orleans. That’s how I can put it. That’s why you saw my face like that. That’s where my roots are. We’ve been here for seven generations, my family.

Dr. Monica Band  08:22

How about you? Chante you’re, you’re listening to your mom reflect on the things she’s missing? How does that feel for you?

Chanté  08:29

I feel like I’m able to like relive, like, through her that same time, but not 1,000% Because I didn’t get to live here before. So it’s kind of like melancholic, in a way.

Dr. Monica Band  08:41

Chanté. Yes, you were young. But there’s this piece here about identity I’m picking up on. I’m getting the sense that you still identify as someone proudly from New Orleans. Is that fair to say?

Chanté  08:53

Oh, yes. 1,000%. I mean, I’ve always told people even in Houston, like when I was going to school, I would tell people you know, I’m from New Orleans. I are not from Houston, just because that’s something that my mom like raised me to know, like, you learn to hear by chance, but like home is really there. So I was well aware of home like I want something more lenient, and I feel like that really just solidifies my identity to this space even more.

Dr. Monica Band  09:18

I’m hearing I’m picturing I should say, the young child version of you telling all of her peers and preschool. I’m not from Houston, I’m from New Orleans. We’re gonna shift into what is a somber but important moment for us to talk about because I think it really, we talk a little bit about identity and our driving question here, which is that experience of fleeing New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina? So mom, I’m curious to know that moment in which you also felt this idea or notion of home changed for you in this fleeing of Katrina.

Stasia  10:00

When we had to leave New Orleans because of Katrina, we were thinking that we were just going to be gone for a week or two. And it turned into months. And then finally, I had to say, look, I’m gonna have to decide what am I going to do because my children have to go to school. And I have to find a job. Just living from place to place in Houston, and just trying to find where we fit. I just really wanted to come home. But I couldn’t let my mother and my grandmother we were all together, I couldn’t let them know I really want to go because they really want to go and we couldn’t. My mother and my grandmother was sick. So I knew I was the strong one. That’s why I had to be the one to say whether we stayed or not.

Dr. Monica Band  10:48

Leaving home. And when I say home, I mean, New Orleans, was not obviously anyone’s choice. But you found yourself really quickly needing to settle into a place and with your family that can’t imagine the grief and the transition of what this was like for you knowing that it wasn’t necessarily by choice either. Can you speak a little bit to that mom,

Stasia  11:12

At first, I hated it. People weren’t nice. They will say, well, y’all got money from your insurance, and they don’t know, their insurance and pay you. I mean, if they gave you pennies, and you couldn’t live on that, every time you go to fill out a job, you had to put 504 because that was where all your references for. They throw it in the garbage. They didn’t want anybody from New Orleans. So it was hard. It was very hard. And to say that if you came from a place where you were established, and by establish I mean, you had a good job, you had a home that you owned. They didn’t care about that. They were just looking at 504 You’re from New Orleans. We don’t want you here y’all need to leave.

Dr. Monica Band  11:59

I’m hearing us early on say how difficult it was to transition into this new place Houston. And to not always feel welcomed, in fact, to kind of feel the opposite discriminated against. At what point and maybe we’re still in the process. But at what point did Houston start feeling like home? And maybe it quite hasn’t yet?

Stasia  12:22

Yeah, you’re right. It still it still have New Orleans as my home is gonna be my home. I still put up beats on my rearview mirror for Mardi Gras. I have the st. Matt’s in my car. So wherever I can advertise New Orleans. I do. So I don’t know if that makes sense. That’s what I do.

Dr. Monica Band  12:47

I think it makes total sense. And also, I appreciate you making it very clear Chanté I’d love to know if you recall some of these details. What sticks out in your mind about this moment in time of your life and your family’s history.

Chanté  13:03

I obviously don’t remember the evacuation itself. But I do remember going back there’s like this one moment that’s crystallized. And so I used to have this huge, like Teletubby toy. I remember, I would like play with it. And you pick the little Teletubby sounds. And when we went back, it was standing up on the house. We went back to like look out the house or evaluate it. I don’t know what we were doing. But yeah, I remember like seeing it there like almost like a ghost. And then the little after that I remember like moving around in Houston a lot.

Dr. Monica Band  13:35

Wow. I’m just picturing a younger version of yourself coming back to your home and realizing how devastating that was, you know, back then and the moment you’re living it, but you don’t realize that it actually is quite a historic event. What is it like now to think back to that younger version of yourself? Revisiting the house and seeing your toy Chante.

Chanté  14:00

I imagine was like there’s my toy. Like, I get my toy, but I don’t think I like grasp the severity of it. Until afterward. Yeah.

Dr. Monica Band  14:15

While Chante’s childhood memory came to life through her last toy. Mom’s memory was a little more complex. Stasia remembers the practical and emotional toll of moving her whole family to a new place, while still aching for the comforts of home. But Stacia found a place to live and a job in Texas, it would have been too destabilizing to move the family back to New Orleans. And even if they did return to the area Stasia worried they could be caught in yet another hurricane. So the family decided to move forward and accept that their new home was Houston. But even when you settle into a new home after major upheaval, it’s not a guaranteed safe haven. More on that after the break. Before the break we heard about Chanté and stages profound bond to New Orleans and how devastating it felt to leave after being forced to relocate to Texas. After a bumpy start, the family settled into their new environment. Stasia found a close knit community and a midsize town in the Houston metropolitan area. It had great schools for the children and it was the kind of place where neighbors knew and checked in on each other, which even reminded her a little of New Orleans. Then in 2017, 12 years after Hurricane Katrina, the family was hit by another disaster. Hurricane Harvey.

Stasia  18:32

When Harvey was starting to hit, I was like, Okay, it’s another storm. I didn’t think it was going to be as bad as Katrina. And then it was like three o’clock in the morning the water flushing in you can’t stop it is coming up the stairs. And I’m like, what do we do?

Chanté  18:49

We were doing like rounds like the power went out. We were all doing rounds. Like you know just go check outside and like see what was happening because it rained for a pretty long time but like never dismount. I think it was like the fourth or fifth round we sent someone down in the water had already begun rushing in and it was like, I don’t know, like second or third step in the residence that we were staying in. We’ve gotten the huddle right down in there and we were just like we need to leave.

Stasia  19:16

So I had to call my son he had a truck and he was able to get close enough for us to get to his truck, but we still had to wait in water up to our necks to get out of there. That’s how high the water was at had to get my daughter she was in an apartment behind us. And she had two sons and we had to get them.

Chanté  19:38

We had our grandpa at the time. So we had to like carry him to the car because he was a bit immobile. Here my mom talked about the evacuation during Katrina that was definitely like we lived through Harvey like we had to like call people and like we definitely had to mobilize quickly because Houston one of the main reasons As we move to Houston was because it was less prone to flooding as opposed to New Orleans.

Dr. Monica Band  20:06

But the floods still came, Hurricane Harvey was a category four storm, and it displaced them. Along with 30,000. Others, they had to start all over, it felt like terrible deja vu.

Stasia  20:20

And then we had to find another house to stay in. In the meantime, in between time I was still going to work. So I’m having to sometimes call off a work to go look at a house to see if we can move in. And it was so many areas that were affected by flooding, that they didn’t want to rent the houses it was it was total chaos. And so finally, after about a month and a half, it might have been two months, we were able to get a brand new house,

Dr. Monica Band  20:53

You’re just settling into Houston, you’re living there, but it doesn’t feel like home to you. And then here comes this hurricane. And so it’s up rooting you yet again, I would love to understand prior and then sort of directly after for you Chanté how you notice your mental health shift or change throughout this time.

Chanté  21:18

So before Harvey I was going to school, so that was young. So I was very optimistic about creating a community, at least to school in Houston. So I was like very much settling into like, Okay, this is my reality, like, you know, I’m still from New Orleans. But like, you know, I’m gonna be here for a while. But then when Harvey happened, I remember thinking to myself, like, is this a bad omen? Like, are we like just supposed to, like, leave the Gulf South or something? I won’t. But I was like thinking like, Does this mean that we get to go back home. And then I remember, as far as my mental health, it definitely took a swing or hit wherever you want to call. Because at the time, when I went back to school, I was one of the few people that was actually affected. So people were like joking. They were like, oh my god, I slept through that thunderstorm. And like, here I was, we were like living out of a hotel at the moment, waiting for housing and like still having to go to school on top of all this while we were looking for a new place to stay while other people were still in like their houses that weren’t affected. So it seemed like for lack of a better term, I felt like crazy. As if like it almost didn’t happen to me because that wasn’t the same thing happened to everyone else.

Dr. Monica Band  22:31

My like heart draft when you were sharing that I cannot imagine what that’s like to go to school after prior to Harvey feeling connected with friends and feeling like okay, I got a decent community starting up here and then post come back. And then really feel the differences of like, oh, not they’re not your community. But like, it definitely felt like there’s just a lack of understanding here. And if I can say privilege, in a way that really prevents these folks from understanding me, is that fair? Yes. 1,000% I wonder how that impacted your mental health, how it does impact your mental health. So I know I asked on tape, but what was going on for you emotionally?

Stasia  23:23

There are no words, I just couldn’t express what I felt. And then after we were in the house, I would go to bed fully dressed. Because I was scared, another storm was coming. And I wanted to be ready to get up and go, you know, that happened for about six months I was doing that. You’re sad, you’re angry. It’s just so many emotions, you can’t express it.

Dr. Monica Band  23:52

Where did you end up putting all of those emotions? What did you end up doing with them?

Stasia  23:58

Finding ways mostly listening to music. If anybody knows me, they know I’ll know every song and every genre. Because I just started just listening to music. That’s what we’ll call me.

Dr. Monica Band  24:10

I’m really grateful that you found something that works for you. And that happens to be in the form of music. But again, I also equally want to validate that everything the complexity of what you are experiencing and what you’re going through is just so important and more than reasonable in what you’ve gone through. And I see your daughter nodding her head, can I check in about your reaction Chanté to what you’re hearing your mom go through and feel.

Chanté  24:38

Yeah, I think during that time, like we really just got hit out of nowhere. That was the feeling for a lot of my family that was like me included. So I remember calling friends trying to check in on them and like see what they were good. There was just like so many emotions. It’s just like, how did this happen? And you’ll be kind of grieving because pre Harvey reacts Word of started building a community. So like, you know, there was a Greek for like the people.

Dr. Monica Band  25:04

Did you know Chanté when you hear your mom say I was trying to just mentally prepare, and some of that came out in me wearing my clothes to bed fully dressed. Does that surprise you to hear now? Or did you know that?

Chanté  25:18

Hearing that in its like, purest form kind of surprise to me, but like the sentiment behind it doesn’t because at the same time, I feel like a lot of us were doing the same thing. Like, I was explaining to a friend just yesterday about how I still keep my stuff packed. So I feel like I also have those habits, because I feel like I just never know when it might happen again.

Dr. Monica Band  25:40

Both of you are kind of in this, just in case mode, it can feel really hard to truly settle into a place when we feel that we can’t allow ourselves to breathe fully, without bracing ourselves for the next thing. Yes. How has it been for your mental health had the impact of being displaced or being uprooted.

Stasia  26:06

I’ve had to do work. And you have to find ways to energize yourself to get back into the flow of things.

Dr. Monica Band  26:17

I am also just thinking about mentally the kind of toll that can take to move Shantay I saw you nodding your head, can I get a sense of what your reaction is to that?

Chanté  26:29

Yeah. When you say that I vividly remember this time when I was in class, I was in like, AP, human geography. And I remember the teacher was like, keep your hand raised, if you’ve moved the house X many times, and I remember by the end of it, my hand was the only hand up, it was just like a realization of like, my personal journey. And then like that also, like just brought me back to all those feelings. Like when we were moving, like, you know, as a young person that would like just make a neighborhood for not be like, oh, actually relieving tomorrow, like by so like not getting too attached to people. And then like that feeling of like waiting to be embraced, and like desire to be like a part of that community.

Dr. Monica Band  27:10

Isn’t that ironic, you know, I think you’re pointing out is that tension there of wanting that connection, wanting to experience what it’s like to have a strength and a community backing you but also that fear of getting too close and connected with them knowing that what it feels like is like a move is imminent, and something is going to happen to me. I want to go back to something you said. And I just wonder if you know, being ready for anything, you know, that preparation, you both were talking about doing that bag packed, or those clothes sort of sleeping in. But I wonder if being ready for anything. And that sort of just in case mentality, you know, just in case this happens just in case that happens. If it makes it harder to call any place like Houston home? If we’re feeling like, we have to leave it soon.

Chanté  28:04

Yeah, for sure. That just in case mentality really makes it like even moving my move to Duke, I was very excited to make in my new home, it was a very symbolic moment for me personally, because I had been saying I want to go to Duke since like seventh grade. And like actually being able to, you know, achieve that accomplishment. This is where I want to be for the next four years. Like it was very symbolic because all before that I wasn’t really able to have much choice on where I wanted to be. But it’s still been very hard to settle in. Like I said, like my back state tax for most of the entire year. I’m hoping I could break that habit. But it does make it a bit harder to kind of assimilate into the community.

Dr. Monica Band  28:43

Yeah, when you look at that backpacked, what is it that we’re most fearful of?

Chanté  28:47

Having to leave very quickly? You know, do I need to call family? Do I need to like take an emergency flight? Like, just not knowing being almost like frozen in fear so.

Dr. Monica Band  28:57

Frozen in fear? Is there any other way you notice the trauma you’ve experienced?

Chanté  29:03

Yeah, I think the pack bag is like probably the most apparent that and then sometimes, like kind of being reluctant to feel relationships, just because I don’t know if I’ll see those folks again. So I don’t want to play too much into it.

Dr. Monica Band  29:17

I mean, I think that comes from a legitimate place, right? You quite literally have had experiences where your environment was not safe. And it’s hard to be reassured in that when we see sort of broader policy or movements towards climate not being cared for. Mom, what is it like for you to hear that your daughter kind of picks up on similar habits because of the same things that you’ve gone through and maybe even some of the things she has learned from you?

Stasia  29:47

I didn’t know about the backpack. So that kind of it kind of got to me we’ll talk about that.

Dr. Monica Band  29:57

Am I hearing a little bit of worry from mom?

Stasia  30:01

A little bit.

Dr. Monica Band  30:05

That bag Chanté is holding on to metaphorically and physically. Well, to me that bag contains a few things it holds Shantae is courage to move out on her own. After all the pain that came with being displaced twice. It’s a symbol of reclaiming what it means to move. At the same time that bag is heavy. It’s chock full of coping mechanisms that Shantae adopted to survive, and it’s weighing her down. But being prepared isn’t a bad thing, right? As kids, we learn how to stop, drop and roll. And now kids are learning how to prepare themselves for even more unexpected crises. So Shantae is prepared, maybe over prepared, and because of her past, she has good reason to be. Yet how do we balance our fear and each prepare with enjoying the moment unburdened by the worry that it may all be taken away? This is a difficult unlearning that survivors of trauma often face. How do I live a full life knowing that my mind and body are on high alert, ready to protect me from the unknown? More after the break. So how can disaster survivors like Chante and Stasia tried to relax and move away from feeling powerless to powerful and back to shanties question? What does home mean after being displaced twice by the climate crisis?

Dr. Monica Band  33:17

We talked about what it was like for both of you to experience Harvey in the moment but what was it then like to start over and settle in back into a routine if you want to call it that, especially since everything was kind of already upheaval?

Chanté  33:35

So at the very beginning, like when we were when we finally moved into a new home after like the hotel and things almost was reluctant to go back to normalcy, there’s no way that I’m still going to school and like I don’t have all of my bearings. And now I was in middle school so like oh just like find like little ways to like rebill and whatnot like maybe like sleep in and like not go to school and like you know, blame it on stomach ache or whatever. But like eventually, once I got out of middle school and went to high school, I started finding my community again and I started learning I saw the climate youth strike. So the I started drawing like strength and inspiration from that and wanting to get involved. So there was like a very clear art.

Dr. Monica Band  34:19

Chante was energized by her new community of activists, as a therapist based in Washington, DC, a place where people come to make change. I have had clients go to protests and political rallies, and then come to our session straight after. Something I found is that activism can actually be a form of self care. You can find your people channel and process anger and feel connected instead of isolated. And in the summer of 2021 Shantae rallied 85 young people to join her on a 400 mile march from New Orleans to Houston.

Chanté  34:56

My biggest and problems achievement would probably be more performers are about March that started in 2021.

Dr. Monica Band  35:04

I have to stop you there because a 400 mile walk. That’s significant. How long did that take?

Chanté  35:12

It took us 40 days.

Dr. Monica Band  35:15

40 days, 400 miles. I imagine it’s also equally very emotional.

Chanté  35:22

Yeah, when I started in March, I was 17 years old. So I was very young, I kind of didn’t really have the most experience like organizing something that big. I actually talked about it and then it gained traction. I remember starting at the beginning, I’ll just feel like so mad and angry like at the current leaders, so like, I started in New Orleans, it was like, raining halfway. I had all of my movement members around me have my family supported me, our mom, my aunt’s, my brother has a brass band that played the music to send us off. So like it was like a full like circle moment. The rain didn’t stop us. It was like probably the best day.

Stasia  36:00

I was there, too. I was in the background. So whatever city she would stop, they would stop in. I would go and make sure she was all right. Because I understood. You know, she was still in school. This was a lot on her. I was there with her through the whole March.

Dr. Monica Band  36:17

How did your emotions of all throughout the march?

Stasia  36:21

Well, when she first told me she was going to do it, I was like, Are you sure you want to do this? I was like, I can’t be here every day. Are they gonna look out for you because you’re young and they rallied around her and let air off my shoulder. Because I knew she was in Okay, hands.

Dr. Monica Band  36:40

I’m hearing community a sticking out to you. Chante I am curious to know that we feel obvious. But I’d love to understand what you feel the positive aspects of activism has done for you and your mental health.

Chanté  36:58

Not only do I like learn how to tell my story, but I also realized in many people’s personal stories, we all have like these, like broader connections, like to the climate crisis, whether like it’s happened to us, or we’ll know, like a friend that it happened to, or we can even see ourselves. And then within that bucket, there’s community building, that has definitely helped my mental health in so many ways. Because in thinking about the climate crisis, and all the bad things are to come, it can be a lot, it can weigh on you, you know, sometimes you can’t sleep at night, it’s just like, when’s the next storm or once it makes wildfire, they’re not gonna be able to put out and all this other stuff. But when you find community and you know that these other people are also fighting in their communities across the nation, it just definitely alleviate some of that stress.

Dr. Monica Band  37:43

Me hearing, it’s giving you a sense of belongingness amongst what would otherwise feel like a really desperate and isolating experience.

Chanté  37:53

my mental health would definitely be in the worst state just because yeah, before when I was looking to get into activism, like I feel like oh, I have to like create my own rally. But once you get into like a movement or like a community organization, it makes it so much easier to navigate this huge problem.

Dr. Monica Band  38:12

I want to get to that balance of activism and what it takes to make sure that you’re caring for yourself because you are absorbing a lot of these issues. And so I wonder how it does impact your mental health.

Chanté  38:26

As beautiful as the march was, I had a lot that I was juggling. And so I did eventually just burn out. I was just like, I need to unplug burnout, like in my body. Like I just felt like groggy. My eyes weren’t as clear like I would just like be slumping around all the time. I didn’t have that same passion to do like just basic stuff, completing like regular assignments, or like hopping on Zoom calls to like talk to other organizers and doing like social stuff. I just like didn’t have the energy for it. But um, yeah, because of my community, they were able to like revitalize me I know a lot of people were telling me, You don’t owe the movement, anything else. So having like my community and like people close to me, like telling me that really grounded me and it allowed me to like, take a step back.

Dr. Monica Band  39:15

So I want to wind down a little bit here. And I want to go to our initial question. What does home mean particularly when we have been displaced by climate crisis and mom for you? What does home mean?

Stasia  39:30

Family, people who love me just being together even if it’s just for one day/

Chanté  39:41

for me home means community but not in like the most literal sense. For me community is like not only the people that you meet along the way but like the places as well. So like I was telling someone that when I see like bald cypress trees, which are really common here in Louisiana in our swamps, I I feel at home because in my mind, I associate those trees with home. So like, I also see like, I guess you could say the trees as my community. And then for folks that didn’t know I am a scuba diver. So when I see my favorite animals are sharks and rays elasmobranchs so when I’d like dive in, I see those I feel at home as well because I embrace nature as a part of my community. So, by finding your community find finding outlets whether it’s like music, or like bubble baths or walks with nature, whatever else that floats your boat, you can find some sense of home.

Dr. Monica Band  40:39

I love Chante’s final thoughts in our conversation. Home means community. Think about the strong bonds we create with our families and chosen communities. These bonds are the walls which make up our evolving sense of home. When you start to feel lost, the people you trust that make up your home, we’ll help you find your way again. So home is everywhere. It’s cooked into family crawfish, boils and jump Elia. It whistles through the bald cypress trees and scuba dives with sharks. At the end of it all home is where you can be your true self. And know that your people near or far will always have your back. Thank you Shantae and Stasia for opening up your home and sharing your family with us. See you next week. Next on I need to ask you something.

CREDITS  42:11

There’s more I NEED TO ASK YOU SOMETHING with Lemonada Premium. Subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content. There’s so many things we talk about and we’re barely scratching the surface. Tune in to learn more about what it means to be a perfectionist, to be conflict avoidant. And how to ask for help. I NEED TO ASK YOU SOMETHING is a Lemonada Media original. I’m Dr. Monica Band, the host of this show and a consultant with the Jed foundation. Crystal Genesis is our supervising producer. Giulia Hjort is our producer, and Rachel Lightner is our producer and audio engineer. Tess Novotny is our associate producer. Mixing and Original Music by Bobby Woody, additional mixing by Ivan Kuraev. Special thanks to Kelsey Henderson and the members of our youth focus group. Maria Perry, […] Erica Familia, Kofi Green and Cloud Ben. Jackie Danziger is our VP of narrative content. Executive Producers are Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs. This show was created in partnership with the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. This series is presented by HOPE Lab with, Stupski Foundation and Lumina Foundation. Visit I needtoaskyousomething.org or use the link in the show notes for resources related to today’s episode. Follow I need to ask you something wherever you get your podcasts or listen at free on Amazon music with your Prime membership

Spoil Your Inbox

Pods, news, special deals… oh my.