Standing In Solidarity
Dear NNOCCI family,
In these last weeks, our attention has been focused on the injustices and inequities that have been part of American life for too long. The pain over the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and many, many others is raw. This pain is layered on that from the systemic discrimination Black Americans face going about their daily lives, strikingly illustrated by the casual disregard for his life that New York birdwatcher Christian Cooper experienced at the hands of a white woman.
NNOCCI has been silent for too long, and we will not let our silence be taken for complacency. We stand in solidarity and affirm that Black Lives Matter. We pledge to listen, to learn and to act.
We have long recognized that the effects of climate inaction are disproportionately affecting communities of color. However, it is not acceptable to simply acknowledge this. As a network, we must actively speak to the systemic intersections of racial and environmental justice and help the nation coalesce around climate actions that address these disparities. To do so, we are taking a hard look at who we are, how we work and how we support our professional fields and local communities- especially those of color.
Our network and the communities of climate scientists and informal educators we represent are not reflective of the racial diversity of our country, and the racism experienced in this country extends to our workplaces. We have an obligation and duty to do better.
As a NNOCCI community, our expertise is not in racial justice, but we are skilled at listening to and learning from experts and incorporating that perspective into our discourse. We will use our platforms to listen to and amplify the voices of our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) network members, colleagues, friends and neighbors, and we will educate ourselves on how our network, our training and our communications can be more inclusive and antiracist.
Listening and learning is only a first step in an ongoing process; we also need to change. We will be hosting an all-network call this week to plan for how we will constructively support BIPOC voices and lives. We are committed to reviewing and revising our training offerings to ensure we provide an antiracist learning environment and provide equitable access to our training and leadership development. We will also launch new resources to anonymously report and respond when we are failing in this mission. We know that the links between climate change and social justice are strong, and we commit to developing new relationships to amplify and support the voices of organizations working to eradicate racism and inequity.
We will make mistakes, and we will learn from them and improve; iteration is part of who we are at NNOCCI. These commitments are only the start of our engagement. We look forward to hearing new ideas from our network and community about how we can actively fight racism in all we do.
Emily A. Moberg
On behalf of the NNOCCI Governing Council
Immediate resources to get us started on learning and action:
- How to be an Antiracist by Ibram Kendi *
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo*
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander*
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo*
- Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins*
- The articles here on links between racism and the environment
- The Rowan Institute guidelines here for improving online dialogues on this subject
*if you buy these books, consider doing so from a local, Black-owned bookstore
Organizations to donate to:
- Black Lives Matter https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019
- Reclaim the Block https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home/#about
- Campaign Zero https://www.joincampaignzero.org/
- Black Visions Collective https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/
- NAACP https://www.naacp.org/
All-Member Virtual Meeting
NNOCCI is hosting an all-members meeting on Thursday June 18th at 8pm eastern / 5pm pacific time to plan for the outcomes, actions, and partnerships NNOCCI can engage with moving forward to support Black voices and leadership in the climate and informal education space and ensure our community is antiracist and inclusive.