Listening, learning, and leaning in.
Over the last couple of years, Washington Conservation Voters’ staff and board members have been digging into concepts of diversity, equity, inclusion, and race and how these issues intersect with our work to elect environmental champions and hold them accountable. We understand that as a historically white-led organization, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves – and not rely on our community of color partners to educate us. We recognize that we are on a journey toward justice, that it is not a box to be checked, and that in these early stages we’ll be doing a lot of listening, learning, and leaning in to discomfort and new insights before writing a five year Racial Equity plan for our organization.
Our next Strategic Planning process begins in 2017 and will specifically address Racial Equity goals as well as weave an equity lens throughout.
Incorporating environmental justice, racial justice, and equity into our organization and work is critical as we strengthen our relationships with partners who work on climate action, social justice, and equal access to voting in Washington state. We do this by:
- Approaching our work with a racial justice lens that prioritizes solutions from impacted communities and puts them at the center of decision-making
- Identifying and dismantling institutional racism within our organizational practices, policies, and procedures
- Engaging our members in conversation and reflection on racial and environmental justice to strengthen the broad, diverse movement for environmental justice
We hope to forge a new path that challenges systemic racism while helping us achieve our goals as the statewide political voice for the environment.
To dive deeper into environmental justice, we’ve been reading books and listening to podcasts as a staff. Check out what books we’ve read recently, join us for an upcoming meeting, or suggest books of your own! Check out what we’re reading.
Historically White-Led Environmental Organizations
Historically White-Led Environmental Organizations is a learning community comprised of individuals who support diversity, equity, and inclusion in our historically white-led places of work. We acknowledge that our organizations have historically had primarily white leadership, and together we strive to do the internal and systemic work to create more opportunities and access to power for people of color.
We meet monthly to build community, exchange ideas, and learn together. People of color and white people working for historically white-led organizations attend. Most of us work for environmental organizations, but all who want to learn and contribute ideas are welcome. Learn more here!
Resources & Good Reads
Embracing the integral connections between environmental protection and racial justice makes us better positioned to achieve our mission and win on our issues. We feel fortunate to work with and learn from others who champion work in this intersection. Below are some resources that guide our personal and organizational commitments.
This Agenda produced by the City of Seattle is their strategy to address environmental disparities and ensure that everyone benefits from the city’s progress. It reinforces Seattle’s commitment to racial equity and social justice in their environmental work.
In addition, WEC and WCV wrote organizational commitments and action items in response to the agenda. Read our commitments here.
Got Green and Puget Sound Sage set out to learn how communities experience climate change and collaborated to research and produce this report. The process shaped conversations with community, the public sector, and organizational partners as well as the development of the policy recommendations put forth in this report.
As the most comprehensive report on diversity in the environmental movement, this document provides perspective on the Green Ceiling, unconscious bias, and other issues around workplace diversity. A great way to understand the realities of the environmental movement in the 21st century.