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Statement on Racial Equality, July 15, 2020
Posted by Aaron on 07/15/2020
July 15, 2020
Statement on Racial Equality
Cam Tredennick, Executive Director
Sequoia Riverlands Trust
We at Sequoia Riverlands Trust (SRT) recognize the specific and egregious impacts of racism in our society, and join millions in declaring that Indigenous, Black and Brown Lives Matter, every day and always. We are a conservation organization dedicated to enhancing the human relationship with the natural and agricultural lands in the Central Valley, Carrizo Plain and Southern Sierra -- and dedicated to the education of our children on those lands. Accordingly, we must remain attentive to all who can benefit from our work.
We condemn racism. Because we live and work in the culturally and racially rich Central Valley of California, we see the value of diversity in our communities. We are taught by, teach, and seek to translate into our own lives the value of biological diversity on the agricultural lands and preserves we serve. We understand that social and educational progress requires us to recognize the truth, power and potential of the peaceful demand for justice and equality, to learn to better recognize racism, and to condemn it wherever we see it.
Eighty percent of the students we serve are young People of Color, and we are responsible for providing safe and nurturing places for them to learn and to thrive. SRT also works closely with a diverse agricultural community, and it is abundantly clear to us that Native American Tribes are most often the best conservation partners. Yet SRT is part of a profession that is shamefully underrepresented by Indigenous, Black and Brown Peoples. We owe better to ourselves and to those we work with.
Going forward, I commit to work with our Board and Staff toward the following:
Leverage our talents and resources so as to combat systemic racism, and to enhance the Central Valley’s incredible human diversity as an asset we can rely on to protect our natural diversity and agricultural heritage.
Aggressively seek partnerships that will enable us to participate in real and sustained action to address racism and environmental justice.
Seek Black, Brown, Indigenous and other People of Color to fill SRT Board and staff positions, maintain working conditions that welcome all cultures and races, engage in practices that ensure a safe welcoming environment on all SRT managed and monitored lands, and actively challenge peer land trusts and environmental organizations to do the same.
I will engage our board, staff and colleagues in an ongoing discussion on the above topics so that we can better ourselves and our community, be more effective in our work, and promote unity. I welcome all of your comments and concerns as we take on these challenges, and I look forward to hearing from you. There is much we do not know. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and suggestions.
Executive Director, SRT
Environmental justice and land conservation are major factors that affect communities of color, especially Black communities, who disproportionately experience the effects of climate change, exposure to pollutants and hazardous waste and contaminated water. Black communities are also less likely to own land, and have historically been excluded from many natural spaces and outdoor recreation activities. There are many Black and Indigenous led conservation and environmental groups that are doing vitally important work in protecting black-owned agricultural lands, fighting for clean air and safe water in Black communities, and advocating for equal access to open spaces. Though this is by far an exhaustive list, we encourage you to read about what these amazing organizations are doing, and consider supporting them in their missions. Here are several conservation organizations and environmental groups compiled by SRT staff:
Alternatives for Community & Environment https://ace-ej.org/
ACE builds the power of communities of color and low-income communities in Massachusetts to eradicate environmental racism and classism, create healthy, sustainable communities, and achieve environmental justice.
Black Girl’s Trekkin https://blackgirlstrekkin.com/
Black Girls Trekkin’ is a group, created by co-founders Tiffany and Michelle, for women of color who choose to opt outside. Through our passion, we’re inspiring and empowering black women to spend time outdoors, appreciate nature, and protect it. We hope to build a community that will show the world that women of color are a strong and present force in the outdoors.
The Black Outdoors https://www.theblackoutdoors.com/
The mission of TheBlackOutdoors is simple - increase awareness of and participation in outdoor recreational activity amongst black people and other underrepresented groups. Exposure is KEY in helping others to develop interest in the natural world and all that it has to offer. By sharing our stories and highlighting yours, we hope to inspire your next (or first!) lazy Saturday hike or cross-country adventure.
Green The Block https://hiphopcaucus.org/greentheblock/
The promise held by a new green economy presents the opportunity to fight climate change while simultaneously revitalizing communities struggling from decades of economic and environmental degradation. That is why Hip Hop Caucus created Green The Block. Green the Block is a national campaign and coalition aimed at helping low-income communities of color become driving forces of the clean-energy economy.
Green Workers Collective http://www.greenworker.coop/
Green Workers Collective is based in the South Bronx and serves immigrants and communities of color. We build, grow, and sustain worker-owned green businesses to create a strong, local, and democratic economy rooted in racial and gender equity.
Indigenous Environmental Network https://www.ienearth.org/
IEN is an alliance of Indigenous Peoples whose Shared Mission is to Protect the Sacredness of Earth Mother from contamination & exploitation by Respecting and Adhering to Indigenous Knowledge and Natural Law.
Land Loss Prevention Project https://www.landloss.org/
The Land Loss Prevention Project (LLPP) was founded in 1982 by the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers to curtail epidemic losses of Black owned land in North Carolina. LLPP was incorporated in the state of North Carolina in 1983. The organization broadened its mission in 1993 to provide legal support and assistance to all financially distressed and limited resource farmers and landowners in North Carolina.
Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project https://movementgeneration.org/
Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project inspires and engages in transformative action towards the liberation and restoration of land, labor, and culture. We are rooted in vibrant social movements led by low-income communities and communities of color committed to a Just Transition away from profit and pollution and towards healthy, resilient and life-affirming local economies.
Outdoor Afro https://outdoorafro.com/
Outdoor Afro has become the nation’s leading, cutting edge network that celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature. We help people take better care of themselves, our communities, and our planet! Outdoor Afro is a national non-profit organization with leadership networks around the country. With nearly 80 leaders in 30 states from around the country, we connect thousands of people to outdoor experiences, who are changing the face of conservation. So come out in nature with us, or be a partner to help us grow our work so that we can help lead the way for inclusion in outdoor recreation, nature, and conservation for all!
Urban Creators http://www.phillyurbancreators.org/
The Urban Creators was founded in 2010 by a diverse group of young students, artists, activists, organizers, entrepreneurs, and creators in North Philadelphia. Inspired by our differences and shared passion for ‘creation’, we came together with a vision
to transform a 2-acre plot of vacant land into a farm. We spent our first year organizing door-to-door to strengthen relationships with our closest neighbors and local allies. We spent our second year clearing away debris and planting our first seeds of change. Our third year saw the transformation of this land into Life Do Grow: our urban farm, sanctuary, and our home.
We ACT For Environmental Justice https://www.weact.org/
WE ACT’s mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices.
We Got Next https://www.we-got-next.org/
WeGotNext amplifies individual stories of adventure and activism from communities that have been underrepresented in outdoor and environmental spaces.