On Monday, we shared a statement “Black Lives Matter in a Thriving Region for People + Nature” with Metro DNA partners. In this reflection, we made a commitment to the following actions:
- Support and lift up our Black-led and Black-serving partners who work each day toward representation, equal opportunity, and youth development in the outdoors. Check out this emerging project – a Digital Green Book – by Crystal Egli (Colorado Parks & Wildlife and Inclusive Journeys) and Parker McMullen Bushman (Butterfly Pavilion and Ecoinclusive).
- Complete anti-racism training as a Steering Committee and partner network through Summit for Action and other avenues, building on existing Metro DNA and partner commitments to equity and investments in learning and action.
- Make thoughtful changes within our organization that are necessary to live up to our equity principles and commitments (e.g., staff and leadership accountability, partnership structure and commitment, how events are planned and facilitated) and led by our POC (people of color) and LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) partners.
- Continue to facilitate dialog among Metro DNA partners and stakeholders around equitable access to nature, safety and representation in the outdoors, and breaking down barriers to the decision making power necessary to our achieving a thriving region for people + nature. This will take shape in our Stakeholder Convenings and other small group meetings.
- Purposefully integrate diverse voices and ways of knowing into the Regional Conservation Assessment as we co-create a Regional Vision for People + Nature, ensuring that this data-driven exercise is inclusive and transparent, is not extractive, and is able to uplift people with marginalized identities.
We, the Metro DNA Steering Committee, will hold ourselves accountable to taking these actions, to learning, to listening, and to doing better. We invite you to join us, to share ideas and resources, to call us in with constructive criticism when needed, to be called in yourselves, and to take the actions available to you as individuals and organizations committed to conservation + equity in our region.
What are these actions, you may ask? This article from The Avarna Group is an amazing starting point for our work as a network, your work as agencies and organizations, and our work as individuals in local and global community. In the words of Ava Holliday and Aparna Rajagopal, co-founders of The Avarna Group, (note to self: I finally understand the company’s name!) “this moment should change you and your organization permanently and for the better.”
And where are we starting? Here’s what we’ve been working on this week and are gearing up for next week:
- I, and at least one other friend from the Summit for Action community, attended this online session on Tuesday night — Anti-Racist Allyship Foundations — hosted by Regan Byrd, a local and super-skilled Anti-Oppression Consultant. Working on a summary to share with partners…
- Our Regional Conservation Assessment core team met yesterday to discuss funding and project methodology, making a deeper and more integrated commitment to equity in how we move forward envisioning and implementing the project, convening leaders and decision makers, and engaging technical advisors.
- I am attending this online session, part of the CPW Partners in the Outdoors virtual conference, later today — No More Volunteering as Tribute — featuring CJ Goulding, Manager of Community Leadership Development for the Children & Nature Network and Partner with The Avarna Group. Advance registration is required if you are also interested in attending and/or gaining access to the webinar recording.
- Several of us are attending this online session next Tuesday, June 30th — Equity Accountability Partnership: An Essential DEI Tool — also hosted by Regan Byrd Consulting. Check it out. We’ll feature a summary and discussion of next steps in our Friday High Five, scheduled for Thursday @ 12:30-1:30 pm, because weekends and holidays matter.