Commitment to Black Lives Matter

Like so many, Y.E.T.I. staff and board are mourning the loss of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbrey and the many other black Americans who have been abused and oppressed since the colonization of America. As an outdoor recreation organization led by white people and fighting for equity in outdoor spaces we recognize that it is our job to educate ourselves and the community about:

  1. The history of racism and racist systems in our outdoor spaces and park systems.
  2. The construction and maintenance of outdoor recreation as a white activity.
  3. How structural racism has played a role in people of color being disproportionately affected by climate change.

The resources below are meant to be a starting point to learn about and absorb the inequities in outdoor spaces. It is what I have managed to find and read online in a week about topics that take years to research and fully understand. Education is the right first step, but it is only the first step. By sharing these resources, it is our hope to inspire others to take a closer look at why there are inequities in how we interact with public spaces.  

History of Racism and Racist Systems in Outdoor Spaces

1619 Project- The New York Times Magazine: Our Democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.

 The National Parks: Americas Best Ideas – PBS: Untold Stories from America’s National Parks

Moving Forward Initiative: The African American Experience in the Civilian Conservation Corps

The Construction and Maintenance of Outdoor Recreation as a White Activity

Ambreen Tariq: To Diversity the Outdoors, We Have to Think About Who We’re Excluding

Brentin Mock: Diversity? Inclusion? Let’s talk about racism first. 

How Structural Racism has Played a Role in People of Color Being Disproportionately Affected by Climate Change

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson: I’m a Black Climate Expert. Racism Derails our Efforts to Save the Planet. 

Eddie Junsay: The Environmental Justice Movement is Rooted in Black History

The next step is action. In order to see the change, we want in the world we must be held accountable and challenge ourselves to be better advocates and allies.  Over the next year we are committed to: 

  1. Talking about race and the history of parks and the environmental racism and environmental justice.
  2. Continuing to lower barriers to outdoor recreation not only with access to gear and transportation but also through language and imagery. 
  3. Cultivating a diverse group of leaders within our organization 
  4. Continuing to analyze and modify our programs so that they promote inclusion

Y.E.T.I. stands with Black Lives Matter, Black Americans, and people of color. We are committed to making impactful, lasting change.

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