Over the last few weeks it has been difficult to find the right words, but we will not be silent. Our team and board members are saddened by the wrongful deaths at the hands of police of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau, and far too many Black people before them. We are outraged by the continuous violence towards Black people driven by systemic racism across the nation.
Systems of oppression continue to cause inequalities for Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Many of these inequalities include lack of affordable housing, health care, access to parks, nature community services, education, employment, and participation in civic life.
We recognize that we cannot solve environmental challenges without addressing and solving our social justice challenges first.
As an organization, we recently worked with the Intertwine Alliance’s Equity & Inclusion Cohorts. Through a year-long cohort, we learned historical contexts of systematic oppression, intersectionality, white fragility, the dynamics of power and privilege, and so much more. While this was a great first step, it is not enough. Our work does not end here.
Watershed Alliance is committed to empowering our staff, board members, partners, volunteers and community to:
Listen to the voices of Black, Indigenous, People of Color who have always been on the frontlines of social and environmental justice. Unlearn and relearn important history. Own our mistakes and learn from them. Educating ourselves is a great place to start, but the real change comes from within through self-reflection on our individual biases. If you are looking for resources, we encourage you to check out this Anti-Racism Toolkit.
Whenever we see or encounter racism, we will speak up. “If we as a community can work together to restore an urban creek, we also have the power to look inward to change our attitudes and work to dismantle systemic racism.” - Johnson Creek Watershed Council
We will continue to amplify the incredible voices of Black, Indigenous, People of Color-led organizations through our platforms.
The fight against inequality, injustice, systemic racism, police brutality is nowhere near over and there is no quick fix. We recognize there is a lot more to learn and we are committed to these efforts for the long term.
Until next month,
Sunrise, Bethany, Celina, and Tom