The details of the racist incident that occurred in New York City’s Central Park this Memorial Day are now well known and have been widely condemned. As tempting as it may be to point fingers in response to reprehensible behavior, we are asking our members to take this time to look inward. In the coming weeks and months, that is exactly what Seattle Audubon will be doing as we reflect on the racism that pervades our society. We know that birders of color in our own community have felt excluded, unsafe, and then doubted when they speak of their experiences. As an organization, we can and must do better to combat racism in all places and in all its expressions, both personal and systemic. We must acknowledge the connection between the Central Park incident and the protests erupting in communities across the country.

Seattle Audubon is committed to understanding and eradicating structural racial inequity at every level of our work, and creating spaces and programs that are accessible and welcoming to all. Seattle Audubon’s upcoming strategic plan* will include an explicit goal to increase Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) leadership within our organization. This goal was created with the understanding that we have failed at authentically engaging BIPOC in the past by not holding ourselves accountable to the work or allocating time & resources needed to do so. We will establish a plan for regular and ongoing implementation and evaluation of equitable best practices at every level of our work to remove barriers to engagement and increase BIPOC representation throughout the organization. This goal also aims to spark a shift in culture to one of equity and inclusion by engaging our community in focused conversations and trainings in order to work towards a shared understanding of concepts and issues in equity, diversity, and inclusion. This goal is of utmost importance to our conservation work as diverse perspectives strengthen our understanding of birds, our community, and the environment.

 

Jennifer McKeirnan, Board President

Claire Catania, Executive Director

David Garcia, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee Interim Chair

 

*The complete goals and details of Seattle Audubon’s 2020-2023 strategic plan will be released to the membership June 18, 2020 and to the general public this July.

 

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Seattle Audubon leads a local community in appreciating, understanding, and protecting birds. Our education, science, and conservation programs engage thousands of people each year to help create an environment where both people and birds thrive. To learn more, visit http://www.seattleaudubon.org or follow @SeattleAudubon on Twitter.

 

Seattle Audubon Society

8050 35th Avenue NE

Seattle, WA 98115