“You can’t let yourself off the hook because you already do good in the world. By saying ‘I’m already trying to stop polluters and clean air and water,’ you’re letting yourself off the hook, and that’s a huge part of the problem. How much good in the world are you really doing if you’re not doing everything you can to protect black lives?”
—Hip Hop Caucus’ Executive Director Liv Havstad, in Heated, an environmental newsletter
We are deeply troubled by what is unfolding in this moment within our country and around the world. Our hearts are heavy with the grief, anger, fear, and violence from the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and the life-threatening 911 call made on Chris Cooper while bird watching. We acknowledge these are only the most recent in a litany of violent offenses against black people. We are among the many that are grappling with this pain and loss in the midst of rampant unrest and a global pandemic.
As a community organization, we commit ourselves to do more to combat racism in all its forms and stand in solidarity with the black community and all people of color. We pledge to listen to, and amplify, the voices that are being silenced and those suffering injustice. We recognize that we have a lot to learn but are committed to strive for justice and to experience the discomfort that comes with acknowledging the painful truths of white privilege. We also recognize that racism in our community and society is a direct threat to environmental progress, and we cannot fulfill our mission to “unite the community” while racism continues to divide us.
SYRCL holds dear the value that “People Can Save a River.” This founding premise inspires, empowers, and emboldens us to take collective action against threats to the Yuba’s waters and ecosystems. Racism is a direct threat to our community and the Yuba River watershed, and our organization will strive to unite all people to take collective action.
We must stand strong, we must stand up and we must stand together. Take the Intersectional Environmentalist Pledge with us below.
I will stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous and POC communities and The Planet.
I will not ignore the intersections of environmentalism and social justice.
I will use my privilege to advocate for black and brown lives in spaces where this message is often silenced.
I will proactively do the work to learn about the environmental and social injustices Black, Indigenous and POC communities face without minimizing.
I will respect the Boundaries of BIPOC friends and activists and do not demand they perform emotional labor or do the work for me.
I will share my learnings with other environmentalists and my community.
I will amplify the messages of Black, Indigenous and POC activists and environmental leaders.
I will not remain silent during pivotal political and cultural moments that impact BIPOC communities.
(credit to Leah Thomas, aka “Green Girl Leah.)
We are committed to learning and transforming our organization and ourselves. If you are looking for resources to become better allies, neighbors, and advocates, please visit the links below and learn how to be of service. We do not have all the answers and we will likely make mistakes as we learn alongside others, but we will continue to use our platform to confront privilege, power, and injustice.
- Explore the Diversify Outdoors network https://www.diversifyoutdoors.com
- Showing Up for Racial Justice https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/resources.html
- Read “Black Bodies, Green Spaces” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/15/opinion/sunday/black-bodies-green-spaces.html
- Check out White Awake – for folks who are socially categorized as white to learn more about racism and white supremacy https://whiteawake.org/self-education/themes-and-resources/
- Read Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility https://robindiangelo.com/resources/
- Review resources from The Avarna Group – https://theavarnagroup.com
Melinda Booth, Executive Director
Peter Burnes, Board President