Today is Juneteenth, which should be a day of national celebration commemorating the end of slavery. Instead, much suffering is apparent, particularly for Black Americans, due to a long history of undeniable racism, injustice and lack of equity in our country.
In the past few weeks, WRV has joined many outdoor and environmental organizations in committing to ensure that outdoor spaces are safe, accessible, and open to all. At the same time, we recognize that outdoor spaces will never be equitable until all spaces are equitable.
Conservation, environmental, and outdoor organizations, including WRV, have not done enough to combat systemic racism against Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). While WRV has sought to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all, we recognize that we have not always been successful. We therefore acknowledge that WRV must do more to combat systemic racism. We recognize that inaction on our part will contribute to the perpetuation of oppression.
WRV must step up. Going forward, we will challenge ourselves to answer hard questions about our choices as an organization and as individuals:
To truly begin to tackle the long-term, systemic, and pervasive effects of institutional racism, we commit to embracing inclusivity and confronting and addressing oppression wherever it exists, including within our own community and organization. Building community is an important part of WRV’s mission. To build a diverse and inclusive community, we cannot ignore injustice or inequity. Indeed, failing to join in the fight against oppression simply affirms the status quo.
We therefore resolve publicly to reject racism and all that perpetuates the systemic oppression that has harmed BIPOC for so long. We further resolve to hold ourselves accountable for direct steps that create a more open, accessible, and inclusive WRV organization, equitable spaces for all, and tangible results that reflect our embrace of anti-racism. We have posted WRV’s detailed inclusiveness plan on our website, in which we commit to concrete actions to increase the diversity, equity and inclusiveness of our organization. WRV staff and Board are united in our commitment to action. With utmost respect we ask our greater community of volunteers, agency partners and donors to join with us to actively support these efforts.
Katherine Thompson William McMullan
Executive Director Board Chair
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