McKenzie River Trust stands in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter. In the wake of recent calls for justice in Oregon and across the globe, we must address oppressive systems and injustices. These systems are connected to threats to our climate, air, and water which disproportionately affect People of Color. We need to work to not only protect vulnerable habitats but vulnerable communities alike.
We affirm the rights of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to be heard, respected, and safe. We are grateful for the opportunity to deepen our own learning and understanding. We are deeply moved by the resilience of People of Color in the face of personal, family, and community pain.
We must make changes to become honest allies. Historically, conservation efforts have benefitted from land practices that were oppressive and racist, such as the control of who can own land and the removal of Indigenous people. We appreciate and are learning from local organizations like the Center for Diversity in the Environment and the Avarna Group, who are courageously guiding conservation organizations to re-imagine a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive future.
We know it can’t stop there. Our grief and empathy are not enough. We will continue to listen, learn, and commit to making our organization more inclusive and just. We’ve made a few commitments internally to begin and look forward to growing our efforts.
• We will not let our mistakes and discomfort stop our efforts to transform our own organizational culture to address inequities.
• We will follow the guidance of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color leaders, and share resources to amplify their voices.
• We will continue to connect and listen to those who have previously been excluded from the outdoors and conservation.
We don’t have all the answers, but we know we have to dig deeply within to carve a new path forward. We know speaking out about racism and unpacking our own roles and privileges is uncomfortable, but processing that discomfort is what we are called to do. We ask our supporters to stand with the movement and work to remove prejudices and barriers imposed on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in our own community.