There’s no comparison to Kabira Stokes. Leslie Knope is the closest I’ve found but even Leslie showcases far too many glimpses of naivety. Los Angeles holds no favors for the naïve. But their positivity, charisma, leadership, strong moral compass, and gift-givingness all run parallel. Kabira also does a thankless job for the benefit of her community, but she’s not a fictional character and she can no longer carry the weight of Pawnee L.A. on her shoulders alone. She needs our help.
Here’s her story…
Kabira regularly volunteers her time at L.A. prisons to help incarcerated individuals transition back into society. Just the thought of prison makes me want to curl up in the fetal position, but this noble lady takes action to help those in need. As Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle said in Peal Harbor, “There’s nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer”. Seeing the fundamental flaws in the prison system personified by the fact that 7 out of 10 people who leave a California prison return within three years, Kabira took matters into her own hands and created a company that would hire the formerly incarcerated who weren’t being hired nor accepted back into society.
What would be the purpose of the business? To positively impact the environment. Now that’s my jam.
Thus, Isidore Electronics Recycling was born. Kabira’s business takes all the electronic equipment that quickly becomes outdated like haute couture and breaks it down to its components, giving it a second life. She takes all of our tube TVs, desktop computers, flip phones, and video cameras and literally derives gold from them. There’s more gold in a ton of electronic waste than in 17 tons of gold ore. Discarded electronics also contain other conflict minerals – materials that kids in Africa are being forced to mine – that end up in our dumps.
I met Kabira when given the assignment of structuring Isidore’s highly variable operational finances. We worked together for months and our similarity to Leslie Knope and Tom Haverford was too apparent to be denied. I knew our friendship was solidified when we crossed paths at a Jack White concert that we both trekked across L.A. during rush hour traffic to make. Jack White’s tunes echoed through the halls of Isidore’s warehouse through vintage Boomboxes the following week.
If you’ve read any of my stuff, you know I care just as much about the minutiae that make up a person’s personality as I do about how they spend their time. Kabira is rad on all fronts. Allow me to recall an anecdote of her birthday celebration. Her charming Silverlake abode was full of captivating people that warmly held her in the highest regards. Every conversation delved into a gripping topic like David Foster Wallace or fine drinks from far off lands or Atoms for Peace shows or Kabira’s own spectacular past. I looked to my left while loosening up the old legs on the dance floor only to notice my dance moves one-upped by Mayor Eric Garcetti. No matter how little you may care about politics, it’s badass when the mayor of L.A. cuts a rug at your birthday party.
But Kabira turned out to be more than a fair-weather friend. She was one of the few people who supported me when my own life went sideways. She jumped down into the gutter and picked me up, like she does with so many others at Isidore, and offered a remark that stuck with me: life is being continually thrown out of the nest. It is the strength of her friendship that drives me to write her story. Now more than ever the world needs to know her story.
At Isidore, Kabira and the mad maker scientist, Brian Fox, are doing what needs to be done for our community to progress. It’s the work that we’re too busy to think about. The job that doesn’t offer enough compensation or recognition. But now she needs our help. By supporting Kabira, we support ourselves as she strengthens our society with her work at Isidore. Here’s how we can help:
Isidore is known as a triple bottom-line business, benefiting people, protecting the planet, and producing a profit. Kabira too is a triple bottom-line lady, comprised of sound morals, driven to succeed, and indissolubly linked to her friends. (See, not so different than Leslie Knope)