Sonoma County Conservation Action, its board of directors, staff, and many of our members have been tuned into recent events in our nation and country that have pushed our communities to take action and protest. We mourn for the lives that have been lost at the hands of police violence and brutality, and we offer this statement in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and all the groups and individuals working for a more just and racism free society.
Racism is wrong, it is short sighted, and it must not be tolerated, not for one more moment, and not for one more exception. We can no longer remain silent, or we shall become the Spring without songbirds.
We cannot allow white dominated power structures to continue to shape our society, our law enforcement response, our public policy, our political discourse, or even our ability to enjoy and protect nature. As an environmental organization, it is incumbent upon us to look at the whole of the ecosystems we seek to steward and protect, including the human beings within those ecosystems, and find the courage and insights to tend the system to enable it to flourish at it’s best possible harmony. Allowing racism, bigotry, and hatred to persist is simply put, totally unacceptable.
Environmental Justice is a call to action as minority and low income communities often bear the brunt of industry outsourcing while white, wealthier businesses spread their pollution on the way to profit. Dumping of toxic chemicals in the water, noise and air pollution from asphalt or manufacturing plants, and many other examples of dumping our waste on those unable to defend themselves exist in our country, and in Sonoma County, right here in our backyard. Our work on environmental justice issues and our own organizational evolution over the years is significant, but must continue to move forward and expand. We must reach out to our brothers and sisters in the social and environmental justice movements, and meaningfully engage the Latinx, Native American, and Black communities locally to work for a more just and equitable social and environmental condition. If we work together, we are all stronger as a result, and we can accomplish much.
Conservation Action stands in solidarity with people of all colors seeking justice and equity in our democracy. Our organizers and the people we serve have hearts that beat and have the ability to love and heal and nurture and evolve. At this time, and since the founding of this nation, racial privilege has been reserved for white citizens and, as uncomfortable as it may be, we must challenge our norms and power structures to ensure that we eradicate implicit and explicit racism in every institution.
Please join us in protest and action. Educate yourself on how race and privilege affects you and your community. Have difficult conversations with your friends and family to discuss how you can materially support racial justice. Contact your congressperson, state representatives, local county and city leaders,and ask them what they are doing to move the scales of justice into balance. Tell them you are with them in the fight for social equity and a more just society. Tell them that addressing racism goes beyond eradicating profiling and brutality in policing and that it requires examining how our institutions impact racial minorities and their life outcomes. Let them know that we need to value the lives and contributions of each person in our community and that only by working together and addressing racial disparities in every area of our work, can we truly move forward.