We want to acknowledge the recent racist events and killings in Minnesota, New York, Georgia, Kentucky, California, and other locations around the country. These events are not by any means isolated, nor is the racism that underlies them. We stand, unequivocally, in solidarity with the protests, marches, and global momentum that has come in response, speaking truth to power.
Much of the national discourse has focused on police violence, and we also want to acknowledge that racist policies, laws, systems, and actions extend far beyond police brutality. Our formal and informal education systems are rooted in racism and white supremacy culture. We are complicit. The BEETLES Project is part of a public university within the U.S. education system that has contributed to inequities throughout our society. As UC Berkeley’s Chancellor, Carol Christ, said to our community, “This is a time for greater self-examination of society’s institutions and structures— including our university.” It’s been time for many of us to look at ourselves, our institutions, our policies— and the impact that they have on Black people, including those within our own organizations and the communities we serve.
We know we have more learning to do. We are committed to reflection, understanding, and change, in our own behavior, our resources, and the larger education system that we are part of. We are committed to confronting racism within the field of outdoor science and environmental education. We are eager to join and uplift the many voices advocating for antiracism and to build relentless momentum toward a more just society. We remain committed to doing this work in community with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led organizations.
We offer the resources below (just a few of many that we admire) with an invitation to participate with us in a continuous cycle of reflection and action, reflection and action. We invite you to reach out to discuss with us the connections between climate change, environmentalism, education, racism, antiracism, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Finally, we want to acknowledge the often under-recognized and under-supported labor that many professionals of color in the environmental education field have been engaging in for many years. We invite you to join us in making contributions to two organizations that are leading the way in dismantling racism in the outdoor education field, and to whom we are deeply grateful for their generosity and openness in letting us learn from and with them.
- Youth Outside has started an Explore-A-Thon 2020 campaign to combat systemic racism and allow Black communities to breathe freely in the outdoors. Youth Outside envisions a day when all youth have equitable access to the positive benefits of meaningful outdoor experiences.
- YES Nature to Neighborhoods launched a Campfire Campaign to keep youth and families engaged with nature through the COVID-19 pandemic. YES is dedicated to providing access to and building belonging in nature in Black and Brown communities.
The BEETLES Team
Recently published articles for continued reflection:
- Why Every Environmentalist Should Be Anti-Racist by Leah Thomas in Vogue
- Central Park: Black Bodies Green Spaces, White Minds by Dr. Jennifer D Roberts on Medium
- The perils of being black in public: we are all Christian Cooper and George Floyd by Carolyn Finney in The Guardian
- Being black while in nature: ‘You’re an endangered species’ by Poppy Noor in The Guardian
- Intersectionality as our Collective Strength by Sonia Zárate, PhD, SACNAS President and the resulting stories that emerged from her call for articles on the SACNAS website
- We’re Here. You Just Don’t See Us. by Latria Graham in Outside Magazine.
- Birding While Black: A Candid Conversation with Tykee James, Kassandra Ford, Alex Troutman, Corina Newsome, Jeffrey Ward, and Christian Cooper
- Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot by Shenequa Golding on Medium
We’ve also collected a number of articles and resources related to justice, equity, race, and racism in the outdoors industry and environmental movement on this listly.