Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Statement
The Wenatchee River Institute is enormously saddened by events of recent weeks. We mourn the senseless death of George Floyd and others. We decry the persistent racism in our society. We acknowledge that Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) face systemic racism throughout our institutions – including environmental and educational systems. We declare that Black Lives Matter.
Our mission to connect people, communities and the natural world can only occur when outdoor spaces, hiking trails, parks, and careers in science and conservation are safe and welcoming for all people. Racism is just as real on our public lands as it is in our cities. We cannot instill a sense of connection to the environment when any discrimination occurs in outdoor spaces.
Yet we find these words inadequate. As a white, majority organization, we recognize we have work to do. We pledge to match our words and resources with actions and will set program and organization goals to ensure we move forward with equity, inclusion, and diversity. We commit to fight systemic racism in our spheres of work and influence – education and environmentalism. We commit to continuing our own learning.
To that end, we pledge to:
- Strive to diversify our Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers to better reflect the communities we serve
- Develop curriculum that is culturally responsive and representative of BIPOC
- Honor the original stewards of this land, the P'Squosa (Wenatchi) Band
- Hold a space for BIPOC to share their stories
- Remove financial barriers for youth and adults participating in our programs
- Create a more inclusive space with interpretive signs and information in multiple languages
Every member of our board and staff are committed to making these changes. We share these goals so our community can hold us accountable if we veer off course. We will continue to seek other ways in which we can provide hope through connection with nature — as is our mission —to a wider, broader, and more diverse audience.
Nature teaches us that if one member of an ecosystem isn’t thriving, the whole ecosystem can collapse.
In the words of civil rights activist, Fanny Lou Hamer - “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free”.