To our Parkscriptions Community,
Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many other black people who have been murdered by police officers. The history of systemic racism in our country, and specifically in our black communities, is unacceptable and we stand with Black Lives Matter in solidarity.
We know that racism is a public health threat and we are committed to addressing it. Earlier this week the Washington State Health Department wrote an article thanking individuals risking their lives to stand up against racism during this pandemic, we agree that addressing racism can not wait.
Our working document “DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION: VALUES WE LIVE BY, GOALS TO ACHIEVE AND STRATEGIES TO GET US THERE” guides us in Whatcom County, and can be applied to others as well. This document was produced in March of 2019 to help guide our community for equity in the outdoors.
We recognize the work we have to do as a majority white-led organization and we do not shy from doing the hard work. We are committed to listening, continually learning, directly addressing inequalities, evaluating, and adjusting. We know this is not a small nor fast process.
We are dedicated to our mission to get people outside to better their mental and physical health. We also want to recognize that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have a different experience of outdoor recreation and time spent in nature than white people. We are thankful for resources like Melanin Base Camp to help us in our learning process and for perspective.
We are living in a very difficult and stressful time with a lot of variables and uncertainties. Getting outside in nature has proven benefits to improve our mood, problem-solving, and increased compassion. Now more than ever it is important to get outside, using your five senses, being present in nature, and take on racism.
Elizabeth Nelson, Parkscriptions Program Director