As a community organization, Teatown is outraged by the murder of George Floyd and the countless others hurt or killed by systemic racism and injustice. We stand in solidarity, anger and sorrow with the black community and all people who recognize that black lives matter.
Teatown’s mission is “To Inspire our Community to Lifelong Environmental Stewardship.” It is an important mission to be sure, but it has no value if that community excludes anyone. We are proud that our environmental education programs reach thousands of children of color each year, but we must do more to provide for inclusion, safety, acceptance, and role models for our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community members. We are a predominantly white staff and board and have historically featured more white speakers than those from the BIPOC community. Representation matters and we need to do better.
To address systemic racism, we must acknowledge that we are all part of the system that creates and tolerates it. We must speak up, amplify the voices of people of color, create safe spaces, and know when to listen. Biodiversity in nature is an indicator of strength and resiliency, and the same should be true for diversity at Teatown. We pledge to redouble our efforts to examine our practices so that we not only serve a diverse community through our programs but become a diverse community ourselves.
Some actions that we commit to take toward this pledge are:
- As with our recent support of #BlackBirdersWeek, continue to use Teatown’s communications platform to represent diverse experiences and perspectives.
- Activate a committee of our Board and Advisors to address gaps in our organizational diversity
- Convene a diverse panel to speak about their experiences in STEM.
As always, we welcome and need the constructive input and support of our community to improve. Please share any ideas you have on how we can increase diversity in all areas of Teatown’s functioning.