Race is relevant in everything we do. The fact that some people are uncomfortable engaging in conversation around it, speaks to the larger problem we face in this society, privilege and a sense of entitlement.( there I said it so you don’t have to). It’s easy to cast the word uncomfortable around, when what we are really speaking to is the comfort level that we have created for ourselves, and anyone who disturbs that, is seen as a trouble maker.
We need to speak open and honestly about race if we are to truly make a dent in the power that it holds. When we allow anything to hold our tongues and stifle our minds, we are giving in to that power. This is why I speak to the issue of lack of diversity in our outdoor spaces and the agencies/organizations that currently have a strong hold on these spaces. If these organizations/agencies truly wish to diversify, they will find a way and if not, they will find an excuse.
Lack of funding seems to always be a point of contention, as to why it’s so difficult for organizations/agencies to address the issue of diversity within their workforce, but as Mr. Frank Peterman of Diverse Environmental Leaders (DEL) National Speakers Bureau , has countered with, make diversity a line item in your budget, diversity should be a priority like every other line item.
Next is the issue of disturbing the status quo, which I feel is the largest of the problems we face. When anyone wanders into our camp, it raises eyebrows; it feels as if we are being trespassed upon. Why do we now have to share our space that has been reserved for us, since forever? This is what we must address, a sense of entitlement that so many agencies/organizations boast of, not openly of course, but in their actions or lack thereof.
Change is a simple concept, but it takes action to implement it, so when I hear people speak of change, I listen with my eyes. I listen to see what change they are working towards. And if that change doesn’t come, I turn my listening eyes elsewhere.
For everyone who speaks of change, you are now tasked with working towards it. Know that you don’t have to do this work alone. We are standing at the ready to help ease the conversation, to help put thoughts into action and to applaud the work of change that you dare orchestrate.
I believe that change is possible and I believe that it will take all of us to make it happen. My boots are on, are yours?