Silence Implies Complicity

Silence implies complicity. We will not remain complacent. We see the pain and we hear the anger of the Black community. We know we have a lot of work to do, as do many environmental organizations. As Carolyn Kinney writes, “The conservation movement has traditionally prided itself on a concept of nature as pure, which for some, can also be translated to mean whiteness.” We at Legacy are committing to work harder to ensure our work benefits everyone– not just white people.
 
In the past Legacy has not given the appropriate energy to bring about any real change within our organization to address the historic and present-day exclusion of people of color from the environmental movement. This reflects poorly on us and the work we do. We have been listening, watching, and learning, and we now know that we need to make more intentional changes towards a better world for all.
 
Recently, a portion of Legacy staff attended the University of Michigan Environmental Justice Summit, where we learned more about environmental justice issues in Michigan, and about some of the amazing work the panelists have done over the last 30 years. In 2019, we also created a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Task Force to begin a staff-led initiative to help ensure these principles are integrated into the work we do and throughout our organization. We make this statement not simply to discuss or promote our commitments, but to hold ourselves accountable moving forward.
 
As we work to educate ourselves and find a path toward real change, there are a number of resources Legacy staffers have found helpful. We would like to share a few that focus specifically on land related work.
 
Outdoor Afro
Northeast Farmers of Color
Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
We the People Opportunity Farm
 
There is a shift happening within the land conservation community to elevate and address this issue as part of its core work and values. Legacy, too, is committing to working towards real change and to ensuring our work benefits everyone. As always, we welcome input from our community, especially our Black friends and followers as we focus on this issue with determination and long-term commitment. Beginning now, we will do better. 

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