Thanks so much for your resource recommendations, Marcelo and Audrey...and great profile pic with President Obama, Audrey!:)
For those of you just joining this discussion thread, Wednesday’s webinar was not recorded due to technical difficulties. So here in a nutshell is summary of the webinar conversation with Marcelo and Audrey....
Marcelo shared information about his effort to help re-envision how philanthropy can influence the engagement and success of diverse groups in the environmental movement and influence progress of diversity, equity, and inclusion by prioritizing it in giving programs. Funding is the resource many environmental efforts lack, which is a common barrier to diversity, equity, and inclusion progress. He also mentioned that instead of focusing on addressing the issue of diversity as the primary goal, he recommends to focus on the issue of ensuring equity first, which is the pathway of his current workplace. When environmental equity is elevated as the measurement of success, inclusion and diversity will naturally result next. He emphasized the extreme importance of everyone in voicing the importance of equity, inclusion, and diversity to the funding community since this will be an effective and powerful way to bring about environmental philanthropic change and will result in the transformation of the environmental movement.
Audrey shared the importance of recognizing the talent and leadership in diverse communities. She emphasized that the key need is to rid ourselves of the stereotypes that posit urban communities as being uninterested, uninvolved or afraid of nature. Once we deal with that fallacy, we can address the business of building bridges to develop mutually respectful relationships with diverse stakeholders. We can only mobilize the kind of massive environmental change needed if we work together. She shared the example of her recent success drawing together a coalition of Americans of African, Asian, Hispanic and Native descent to ask President Obama to issue a Presidential Proclamation on the National Park Service’s Centennial calling for the national parks to reflect the increasing diversity of this country (its visitors and workers) and increase the number of historical sites representing the contributions of non-white Americans.
Unfortunately, we only had time to answer one audience member question... “How do you recognize the history of communities of color and the history of the environmental movement?”
Audrey responded that we must recognize the historical contributions of non-white Americans in the environmental movement and who helped build America. These stories must be made known, especially to the communities of which such stories would be most relevant. Marcelo responded that everyone, no matter their background, has a relationship with the environment…but their experience may not fall into what is commonly embraced by the dominant white definition of “environment.” Everyone has their own stories and it is up to each of us to listen to and uphold these diverse stories and value the variety of experiences diverse peoples have in the environment.
Do you have a question for Audrey or Marcelo? Feel free to ask away:)…