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20 DecAnother year around the sun


  Dear colleagues and friends, 2017 has been another momentous year for the Avarna Group. We want to thank you for continuing to support us, inspire us, and serve as champions for a more socially and environmentally just world. Here's our year in numbers: 101 days of travel 32 places 55 partners since we launched: 35 new partners this year 2 new Avarna team members (José González and Katie Koga) Support of 2 identity-specific summits (PGM ONE & the LGBTQ Outdoor Summit) This summer, we welcomed Katie ...

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19 SepNature’s calling — for diversity to be about more than just race


Dear CNN, Like many colleagues, we were thrilled to see that the topic of diversity in the outdoors has made it to mainstream media with your article “Nature's calling -- for more human diversity.” And we were even more pleased to see so many partners and friends gaining a national platform for this very important conversation, and contributing some key insights. AND . . . we would be remiss if we didn’t say a big “yes, and . . .” to add to and complicate the oversimplified narrative that you and other media outlets continue to prop...

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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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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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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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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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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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