We will return to regular posting at the beginning of 2017, but in the meantime, we wanted to share a letter we wrote this morning to our partners and share our current thoughts.
Dear vauled partners and colleagues,
In the wake of the elections, we know a litany of concerns are on your mind. Many of you are curious what the new administration’s position will be as it relates to public lands management, conservation, and recreation. Others of you are concerned for the well being of the youth you support, many of whom fear they will be deported or that the election will embolden the “ists” amongst us (racists, sexists, etc.) Still others of you are concerned about the future of your funding.
We first want to say, we are here with you. The next four years will be tough on many levels and we are here to support you in whatever way we can.
More specifically, here is our renewed commitment:
- We will donate 1% of all our profits to organizations that directly support marginalized communities.
- We will donate 5 hours a month of free consultation to leaders in the outdoor recreation and education, environmental, conservation, youth development and camp spaces to support their equity and inclusion leadership.
- We will support individual learning by creating a free syllabus on equity, inclusion, and diversity in environmentalism and conservation.
Likewise, we hope you can make a renewed commitment to equity, inclusion, and justice in the work that you do. In the immediate, this means committing to your staff and constituents’ well-being, and honoring all the ways that they may be processing the election news.
Some members of your community—particularly people who identify or have loved ones who identify as refugees, immigrants, people of color, women, and/or LGBTQ—may simply need time heal from the trauma of feeling like they woke up Wednesday morning in a country they did not recognize as their own. They may be feeling a deep sense of loss of identity as Americans given their new leader has explicitly disparaged, threatened, and at times physically assaulted people like them.
Other members of your community may cope with their stress and fear by rolling up their sleeves and organize, to redouble efforts to bring about a more socially and environmentally just world.
Yet others may decide that this election was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and decide to leave the conservation, outdoor, or recreation sector to pursue work that might more directly support their own communities.
However folks are reacting, honor it.
In the long term, doubling down means maintaining and amplifying a visible commitment to equity, inclusion, and justice. For some of you, that may be continuing to prioritize marginalized voices in conservation advocacy. For others, that may be creating curriculum that directly addresses social justice issues. For others, it may be publicly extending your support to social justice movements. Regardless of how you approach your efforts, please remember that your efforts are greatly needed. No one organization or person can do this work alone; we need each other.
Finally, thank you for all of the work you do to promote equity and justice; we are so grateful for your actions and for your partnership in making the world a more socially and environmentally just place.
Our Warmest Regards,
Ava and Aparna