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By: Ava

02 JunMake sure your public statement isn’t window dressing: There is your public statement, and then there’s the work


By: Ava Holliday and Aparna Rajagopal In her essay “Poetry is not a Luxury,” Audre Lorde wrote "there are no new ideas-there are only new ways of making them felt." (Sister Outsider, p. 39). Over the past week we have heard people speak their truths and share ideas, and we will likely continue to. We are listening, learning, and feeling right along side many people. We don’t have any new ideas, we but hope with this blog post to add a lens to make existing ideas land for you in a different way, as many are trying to understand how to e...

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20 SepThe role of white affinity spaces in anti-racism work


In the spring, PGM ONE organizers asked me to write a piece about why white folks shouldn’t show up to PGM ONE. It was a piece that flowed out of me easily. I had been having the conversation about the importance and value of affinity spaces for people with marginalized identities for several years now. In that piece, I talked about how watching PGM ONE from afar created a tension between my white feelings and my values. Often they are at odds, and I encouraged my fellow white colleagues to do the work to process through those feelings outsid...

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24 AprBearing witness to painful stories


Similar to when Camber Outdoors unveiled its 2019 Pledge, we (Ava and Aparna) have had a lot of thoughts and ideas swirling around in our heads as the #WontTakeSHIFTAnymore campaign has rolled out. We have brains that tend to go into a mode that we lovingly call, “entropic processing overdrive,” in which we have a million constellations of thoughts on several planes, without much of a logical pathway. But in all of that chaotic processing, we both keep coming back to two things: one related to the substance of campaign, and the other re...

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06 FebWhen you fail to do the work


A statement by the founders of the Avarna Group. As a company, we’ve been quiet about the announcement of the Camber Outdoors CEO pledge over the past few days, but not for lack of thoughts about the whole situation. On the contrary, we’ve been teeming with thoughts. In between flights, workshops, and phone calls we’ve been trying to put it all together. If you're unsure what we're talking about, you can catch up here. In 2018, we intentionally kept quiet during announcement of Teresa Baker’s pledge and Camber’s announcement of ...

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21 AugConnection the dots: white supremacy and monuments


In the wake of Charlottesville this past weekend, I have been thinking quite a bit about how these events connect to the work our partners and clients do. So, in this third installment of our “connecting the dots,” series, we’d like to talk about monuments and memorials. Last week the Unite the Right movement rallied against the dismantling of a confederate monument that Charlottesville, Virginia’s residents had voted to take down. The argument for dismantling a Confederate monument seems to be an easy one that is long overdue– the...

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08 FebConnecting the dots: what do immigration rights have to do with the environmental movement?


Art featured above by Ernesto Yerena Montejano Grab some snacks. This is a longer than a usual blog post, but we think all of it matters. Last July, we wrote a blog post connecting Black Lives Matter to the environmental movement. In our second installment of the Connecting the Dots series, we are connecting issues of immigration and refugees to the environmental movement. In case you haven’t been keeping up with the news, President Trump has issued a flurry of troubling executive orders, including three that relate to immigration and ...

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11 NovOur post-election commitment


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 de...

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07 JulHow do we move forward? Do the work.


I was going to take the day off from work today, turn off my computer, and relax but I can't. I can't ignore the continued racist police brutality. So today I worked. My work today, as it is everyday as white-identified person, is to continue to navigate how I can dismantle systems of power and oppression. Days like today it's easy to feel lost and overwhelmed about what to do, but it's these days that the work is the most important. I spend the morning reading about police brutality, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Some of the articles...

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15 JunWhy reverse -isms don’t exist


We are in the middle of our busiest month, where we are scheduled to give 12 days of workshops for 10+ organizations. We're about half way through and have noticed one common theme in the questions we are asked. Many of our partners and participants want to know: do reverse _____isms exist? That is, can a women be sexist against a man? Or can a person of color be racist? Though the questions are all slightly different, we always give a similar answer, which is: "No. Reverse '-isms' do not exist."' Of course a simple "no" is not enough to ans...

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29 AprHow to eat an elephant: tackling DEI work


Last month we did another free webinar with Transforming Youth Outdoors. This time we talked about how to get started in DEI work. When we first started thinking about doing all of this work, we heard so many different approaches. Some organizations are highly focused on engaging a more diverse population, some organizations are focused on improving hiring practices, while others are concerned about the inclusive nature of their programming. These are all great strategies, but to be successful in DEI work, an organization needs to engage in mul...

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