We Stand in Solidarity and Love with Black Lives
Dear Center community,
The woundedness of our country—built on racism, white supremacy, and the exploitation of others—is profound. The militarization of our country—to acquire, guard, and defend stolen lands and transform life into “capital”—is profound. These wounds have infected our country and anguished Black communities for far too long, and we stand with the individuals and institutions calling for an end to injustice and systemic racism.
If “the arc of the moral universe … bends toward justice,” it will only do so because we recognize and actively work to heal the ancestral and ongoing wounds that we inherit and carry—abused and abuser—in our own bodies and the social bodies of which we find ourselves a part. Each of us has an opportunity to learn, beyond the history we may have been taught or absorbed through our families, schools, and communities.
Let us begin by honoring the voices of Black people as well as Indigenous people and People of Color who are calling out for justice right now. The Center for Humans and Nature will listen deeply to these voices—and we will work tirelessly to uplift the stories of our BIPOC kin, the stories that belong at the center of cultural change. This is at the core of our work toward equity and justice. However, we will not let this moment pass without action connected with our words. We must take real, meaningful actions to uproot structural racism and injustice—within our own organization and within our community of peers.
We need to work with determination to create a more equitable and inclusive platform for Black and Indigenous people, and People of Color. We acknowledge that we are a predominantly white organization, and as you scroll through our roster of contributors, you will no doubt see a lack of diversity as well. We are working to remedy this through a new Editing Fellows program founded this year, which is centered around BIPOC thought-leaders, and by creating more opportunities for BIPOC individuals to share their stories through our publications and programs. We are also actively working to decolonize our editorial process. But this is not nearly enough. As one of our BIPOC advisors has told us, there’s a difference between inviting someone to the table and actually changing the shape of the table.
This shift begins with our staff, our board, and our internal policies and structures—all of which needs to focus on dismantling white supremacy. Over the last year, we’ve challenged our own thinking through anti-racist trainings with Chicago Regional Organizing for Antiracism (CROAR) as well as work with Layla Saad's Me and White Supremacy book and program. Our staff and board members have participated in Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training with the Avarna Group to bring the lens of equity and justice to all that we do. This education has been so valuable as we learn about and confront our white privilege—individually and organizationally—and the racist systems that have upheld that privilege for so long. We highly recommend each of these anti-racist resources to our readers, followers, and fellow organizations.
We also recognize the inequities in fundraising between organizations that are predominantly white and those predominantly composed of People of Color, and we must work unflaggingly to promote our Black partner institutions. We recommend that you connect with and donate to the following places and spaces that are celebrating and re-storying Black connections to nature:
If we are to create a truly resilient future for “the whole community of life,” as we say in our mission, we need to start by listening to those that have been disempowered by the long history of colonialism and anti-Black racism: Black lives, Brown lives, Indigenous lives. We must continue the unlearning of white supremacy. We must amplify the voices of our BIPOC kin, and we must be in deep conversation with our white colleagues and peer institutions about the work that white people need to do. This is on us. It is our responsibility to do more. We will do more.
With solidarity and love,
The Center for Humans and Nature staff