Our Blog

24 MayEquity means supporting single identity spaces


We know diversity allows organizations to think out of the box, be more creative and innovative, problem-solve better and see around corners. But leading with diversity can undermine equity, especially when it comes to single identity experiences for people with marginalized identities. To be clear, today we're talking about single-identity spaces for people with marginalized identities. Single identity spaces for white folks or men, for example, is another topic for another blog post. Here, we’re referring to spaces created by and for pe...

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09 MarWe’re expanding – welcome José!


Photo credit: Glenn Nelson at Trail Posse Friends and colleagues, We are thrilled to announce that José Gonzalez is joining the Avarna Group! We are so grateful to be able to learn from José, who brings a wealth of experience in conservation, outdoor and traditional education, and facilitation. José's name probably rings a bell with most of you, as he has had a tremendous impact on the conversation surrounding relevancy, equity, inclusion, and diversity in the outdoors in the recent past. José is the founder and Executive Direct...

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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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18 JanWhat Does President Obama’s Memo Mean for You?


Implementing President Obama's Memo on Diversity & Inclusion in Public Lands & Waters Dear valued partners and friends: We’re writing to announce that we’ve created a new free toolkit that we hope will help all of you. As many of you know, last Thursday, President Obama made an impactful statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion in our public lands and waters when he issued his Memorandum on Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, National Forests, and Other Public Lands and Water. The memo directs fede...

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19 DecThank you for taking this trip around the sun (and nation) with us!


Map above: The Avarna Group's 2016 Travel Map; 38 cities, 19 states, 102 days Greetings and happy winter season esteemed partners, colleagues, and friends, This season we are filled with so many feelings, but the one feeling that rises to the top after our first year at the helm of this ship called the Avarna Group is gratitude. So, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for everything you have done to support us and the work that we do. Thank you for your questions. Thank you for listening to us and others with open ears...

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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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12 JulConnecting the dots: why black lives must matter to the environmental movement


There is no such thing as a single issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives. - Audre Lorde (photographed above) In the days since the police shot and killed Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, we’ve seen the gamut of reactions on social media: from outpourings of sympathy, to grief and despair, to anger and rage, and more. As we’ve monitored the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds, we’ve also been reflecting on what role we at the Avarna Group have to play in this civil rights movement. Here’s where we’ve lande...

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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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01 JulFrom the knapsack of privilege to the backpack of bias


When we ask workshop participants whether they have done an activity called "the privilege walk" before, hands inevitably shoot up, accompanied by furrowed eyebrows, skeptical glances, and other hallmarks of concern. I can almost see the thought bubbles above their heads: Are these women going to make me do the privilege walk . . . AGAIN? The sin qua non of every diversity trainer's repertoire of activities, the privilege walk, has a long and storied history. It builds off of Peggy McIntosh's touchstone 1988 essay, "White Privilege: Unpacki...

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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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