How does the chain of connections start? Well, Connections.Media picks someone we feel drawn to hold space for. Like anything, it is a feeling in your gut, something you just have to reach out and begin. Then we follow the journey from there, as one person picks the next, based on the conversation that took place on that day, in that moment. After 5 conversations a theme reveals itself, and a chain is complete.
Follow this theme of "FREEDOM"
Town of Birth: Jacksonville, FL, just by chance, raised in Nashville, TN
Occupation/Job/Life Purpose Work: To be part of the tipping point - where 51% finally are willing to make choices for the good of the whole and not ignore or be ignorant to the ways their choices harm living rights and resources. To empower people to know their own wealth and live with it in generosity and equality.
“My granddaddy always had this huge HOLE in his kitchen and everyone would ask, “What is that?” It was a dishwasher spot. Basically what happened was this guy came over one day who had this huge family, and he said, ‘Ahh, I’ve got to get a new dishwasher, I have all these kids and I can’t keep up with it and I’m broke.’ My grandaddy, who was a plummer, was like, ‘Hell, I don’t need this one,’ and he pulled it out right there. He never had a dishwasher again.”
Jason knows the world on a deep level. Since we met, he has been a big supporter of the truth and the work. He knows it is his voice too, all our voices, resources are needed by all and he is willing to do the work.
“I believe as a community we should have space where we can come and be together and be with the planet and not have it be some sort of commodity. The American commodification of all has ruined so many things. We have commodified things so much that you can’t just be a person. People should be able to go down to the water, watch the sunset, or do whatever makes them feel peaceful.
Public access to water should be a living right for all, including animals. The guy who owns the 30 acres next door says ‘All the creatures live here now, because everything’s developing all around them.’”
Willis Tant’s bright spirit welcomes community with open arms. She has a near-constant smile on her face, lake fulls of optimism, and boundless dedication to the causes she holds close to her heart: preserving nature and elevating communities.
Willis is the founder and creator of Local Pulse, an online platform that seeks to promote and preserve the cultures and communities of John’s Island while protecting its natural environment and resources. Local Pulse hopes to purchase a property in John’s Island rich with ponds and forestland, and turn it into a park open to all to ensure public water access for the community.
Willis fervently believes in the importance of nature for both environmental and cultural reasons. She laments the decline of outdoor activity in our culture, and works to provide home-schooled children with access to the abundance of nature on her own property.
“People used to go swimming and do really fun normal outside things all the time, that’s just how we lived, and now it’s just all but gone. Because of lawsuits and insurance and all of the things that come up, it makes it so hard to provide an outdoor space for the whole community, especially when you’re trying to live there and have some sense of your own home as well.
But we try. We used to hold what we called Full Moon Parties every full moon, whatever day of the week it was. It was open house, everybody could come and they could tell their neighbors. And just be OUTSIDE, come what may!”
Most luxurious item, according to your needs/ wants/ desires in your house?
Ancestors calling me to the Machu Picchu eventually
Do you think accents can define the way a person is viewed by society, just like the color of their skin?
Of course. If you don't see the differences then you are not paying attention. It's honoring the differences, taking away bias and stigma through awareness and learning that must propel us forward.
“Being at the Pipeline. I saw so much. Why were there so many arms against the unarmed? We weren't a mob. We were defenseless, and yet they stood with giant guns and machines pointed at us. I didn't want to get hurt. I didn't want to see any hurt or have my 8-year old daughter see HURT. She was with me, skipping through fields as we visited the pipeline connection spots and prayed. But when they surrounded us and threatened us, took a grandmother into custody and her granddaughters all in native ceremonial dress, the men rode up and tensions got really high. Police guns were pointed and we were terrified. I threw my body over my daughter and sang loudly to her, words that just AROSE in my voice. We all have to stand up together.”
Why do you fight so hard for the land? And the right for all to use it wisely, and fairly?
Resources are necessary to be alive, as is equality. All of life in the natural world knows this, and there is truce at the watering hole when water is scarce. No one should own and exploit what is necessary for life to continue for generations.
“Everyone wants to POINT to someone else. No one just wants to say, ‘that’s worth me putting this much in, I’m going to do it.’ If we all just took a FINGERNAIL full of accountability, our world would be vastly different.”
Editor in Chief: Becca Finley
Article: Caralie Byrnes
Photos: Caitlin Billard
Stay tuned for the ‘Connections’ book coming out January 22, complete with all 55 Connections, and how they fit into the Charleston community. Brand new pics + quotes.