Staff and volunteers wrapped up our first Book Club after reading and discussing “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo. The book was very eye opening and explained institutional racism in ways that created several “ah ha” moments for us. A major takeaway from the book is impact matters more than intent. Even if you have good intentions, your words and actions can hurt others and that is what really matters. (Side note: Here’s a great article called “The Four Parts of Accountability: How to Give a Genuine Apology“) We are currently choosing the next book for our second round of the Book Club.
In addition to the Book Club, staff and volunteers have participated in additional training and have consulted with partners and DEI professionals on the best ways to implement what we are learning. Shout out to The Adaway Group for offering groundbreaking trainings and wonderful resources.
The Surfrider Foundation wages over a hundred environmental campaigns at the local, state and federal levels each year to advance the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches for all people. We acknowledge that systemic racism has historically resulted in more coastal pollution and less coastal access in low-income and BIPOC communities. As part of Surfrider’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work, we are committed to incorporating environmental justice into our advocacy efforts. Surfrider believes that environmental justice must be an integral part of our work to protect the coastal environment and enhance public access to these resources. As such, Surfrider’s National DEI Committee is currently developing guidance for staff, chapters, and clubs on how to more formally evaluate Environmental Justice in our work.
Based on the survey results we highlighted last month, our chapter leaders want more training at a variety of levels. In response to this (and requests from our entire national network), Surfrider Foundation HQ is working with DEI professionals to offer a series of trainings for our volunteer leaders. The Portland Chapter has allocated funds to support further training of their leaders.
In recognition of the immense amount of partnership requests being received by organizations serving underrepresented communities, we are taking time to evaluate how we can support other organizations and build new meaningful partnerships. This will mean amplifying the voices of others and advocating for the diversification of everything we participate in from advisory bodies to events to coalitions and beyond.
We are also building the framework for incorporating DEI and Environmental Justice into the Annual Planning that every chapter undertakes. This will give us the opportunity to work on a community level to make our chapters more welcoming and inclusive.
As we continue this journey, we welcome your feedback and ideas.
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