Picture courtesy of amintakilawan.com/
Aminta is a community organizer, activist, writer, and singer born in New York. In 2013, Aminta co-founded Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, a New York State non-profit organization committed to promoting social justice through the values at the heart of the Hindu faith. Through Sadhana, Aminta has worked closely with the Queens-based Indo-Caribbean population to promote environmentally friendly worship practices, particularly at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Aminta has also been a spirited bhajan and Hindi film song singer since the tender age of 9. In 2015, in an effort to increase civic engagement and political awareness in her community, Aminta began writing a column for her local newspaper, The West Indian.
Aminta received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Fordham College at Lincoln Center in 2010. She received her Juris Doctor from Fordham Law School in 2013. After graduating from law school, Aminta served as a New York State Public Service Excelsior Fellow under New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. While she originally thought she’d become a trial lawyer, she found her true calling in policy-making. She is a Senior Legislative Counsel for the New York City legislature. In her capacity at the New York City Council, Aminta drafts and negotiates legislation spanning from areas such as women’s rights, poverty, housing and homelessness, and child welfare. Aminta is admitted to practice in the New York State Bar.
Aminta’s photo, “Shiva, the God of Destruction, Destroyed,” won third place in the Religion and Environment photography contest. Aminta stated, “Hindus have worshipped at the banks of Ganges and the shores of other bodies of water for centuries. Jamaica Bay is basically a closed system, so whatever lands in its waters stays until it is removed. The Ganges and many other bodies of water have become polluted by the use of many user groups. The Ganges, one of the major rivers of India, also known as Ganga Maa, is said to have made her abode in Shiva’s matted hair in order to prevent the destruction of Prithvi (Mother Earth). The flow of the Ganges also represents the nectar of immortality. Shiva is regarded as “the Destroyer” among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. He is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and the arts. Here, Shiva is found broken in the sands of Jamaica Bay, during a cleanup organized by the photographer, Aminta Kilawan-Narine and her husband Rohan Narine.”
Picture courtesy of Tony Losekamp
Tony Losekamp is a second year seminarian in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Environment and Natural Resources in 2017. He has been Catholic his whole life and chose to study environmental sciences out of a love of science and nature and a desire to help make the world a better place. While in college his faith became his own when he had to decide for himself to go to Mass on Sundays, go on retreats, join Bible Studies, go to adoration to worship Jesus in the Eucharist, and build a personal relationship with Jesus. At some point he realized that if he was going to be Catholic, he was going to have to give everything to the one who gave him everything. In giving himself completely to Jesus, he became more free to love. He finished his degree while giving more and more time to Saint Paul’s Outreach and the Newman Center, gaining missionary experience and building a love for life. That is what brought him to Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary of the West.
Tony’s photo won second place in the Religion-Environment photography contest with “Spiritual Tree.” Tony stated that, “I took this photo in Hocking Hills, Ohio, on the trail between Old man’s cave and Cedar Falls. It was spring and the forest was exploding with life. The air hummed with excitement and power that is comparable with excitement and power of a rich spiritual life in communion with God.”
Picture courtesy of Jacob Taylor
Jacob Taylor is a lifelong resident of the Mill Creek watershed in SW Ohio. He earned his BA at the University of Cincinnati for literary and cultural studies, and is currently studying environmental theology at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. His interests include community gardening, herbalism, reading the mystics, and pining for the revolution.
Jacob’s photo won first place with the title, “Theotokos in the Apothecary.” He states this about his photograph: “The guiding question behind my work concerns what it means to live incarnationally & eucharistically in the age of the Anthropocene. How can I, with Mary as a model, bear Christ into a world where the heavy foot of human domination and extractive economics has driven our common home into a mass extinction event? I continue to draw strength and meaning from my tradition’s central sacred story of incarnation — it gives me the courage to keep moving and struggling towards shalom against the odds, trusting the mystery of “God with us” as we face this bewildering moment in human/geological history. Theotokos calls me to remember that something profound occurs when we consent to the invitation of God. At the core of the Christian eschatological vision is the unwavering assertion that all things are being made new and that human beings are invited to conspire with God in this process of restoration. May we, with Mary, have the courage to say yes, come hell or high water. ”