Nuhamin Eiden’s grandmother always told her, “the only medicine for people is people, and the only medicine for ailment is food.” What she meant was that as long as you have people — that is to say, community — and healthy nourishment for your body, you have the foundations for a happy life.
When people (or systems developed by people) get in the way of others thriving, the “medicine” you need is more people — other people — who in solidarity with the oppressed can become their fellow agents of change, creating more just systems.
Nuhamin took her grandmother’s words to heart as a young girl, and carried them with her when she migrated from Ethiopia to the United States at 16. She has spent her adult life putting that wisdom to practice as an advocate and community organizer. Most recently, she joined the staff of Unite Oregon as the equity coalition manager for the Southwest Corridor Equitable Development Strategy.
The Southwest Corridor Equitable Development Strategy (SWEDS) resulted from an effort by Metro to prevent the negative impacts that improved access to transit can have on a community. While it is true that new infrastructure is in many ways a boon to a neighborhood, history has proven that it also brings unintended consequences: higher rents and housing costs which lead to the displacement of long-established