Earlier this year, our staff put out a statement about the endemic racism in our systems and culture—including in the outdoors—and pledged to be part of the solution.
Since that time, we’ve been working on how to best do that, personally and as an organization. This involved a lot of learning, brainstorming, and tough conversations. But, we’ve come up with a plan. One that begins to address our past mistakes and ignorance, while leveraging our strengths and abilities towards equity, inclusion, and social justice.
However, this plan is not done. We recognize that we still have a lot of work to do—again, both personally and as an organization. As we learn and grow, this plan is bound to evolve as well. We are excited by that prospect, and look forward to sharing this evolution with you as we go. In fact, we plan to establish a page on our website dedicated exclusively to this process, so keep an eye out for that in 2021.
With that said, below is our plan. In it, we highlight changes that we’ve already implemented and work that we’re actively doing, including internal HR and staffing changes as well as external efforts in our communications and mission work. We also outline changes that we plan to undertake in the coming years—work that is more challenging and complicated, but critical as well. These efforts build on each other and will inevitably lead to new opportunities we haven’t yet thought of as well.
None of these changes are miracle cures—they won’t fix systemic racism. However, we believe they are a step in the right direction. We believe they are critical to begin addressing the inequities in the outdoors. Your feedback and suggestions are welcome. We look forward to working with you all to achieve the dream of a true outdoors for all.
Work We Are Actively Doing
- Using more equitable language & imagery in describing and defining outdoor spaces
- Including Native Land acknowledgments and their relevance to our work
- Improving inclusivity in our events
- Using our platform to elevate voices that are already doing the work to diversify the outdoors
- Mandatory racial justice development for staff
- Encouraging & budgeting for continued individual staff education & growth on JEDI topics
- Examining & updating our handbook and hiring process
- Exploring equitable fundraising practices
- Work with RCO and partner groups on development of new Outdoor Recreation Equity Program and evaluate options to make WWRP and other grant programs more equitable
To begin within 1 year
- Engage with groups in underrepresented communities to create authentic relationships understand their challenges, support their solutions, and celebrate what they’re doing
- Begin diversifying board recruitment, especially with tribal communities
- Restructure our current fee-based organization membership system to be more equitable and encourage more mutually beneficial relationships with all current and prospective partners
- Include Native Land acknowledgments for all projects on our website
- Build considerations of Native Land into our policy work, including encouraging recognition of Native Lands by land management agencies, etc.
To begin in 1+ years
- Evaluate options for additional policy work we can engage in to advance equity in the outdoors
- Implement structural and administrative changes to the board to make it more equitable and welcoming
- Continue efforts to diversify board membership
- Re-evaluate organization mission, vision, values, and goals on an annual basis to ensure they reflect current JEDI priorities