COEEA Board of Directors is listening, learning, and working to do our part to be an anti-racist org

See below for the English version

Versión en Español aquí (for the Spanish version)

Versão em Português aqui (for the Portuguese version)

Dear COEEA Members:

The Board of Directors of COEEA wish to express our collective horror, sadness, and anger at the massive demonstrations of police brutality against black and brown people, including the recent murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Mubarak Soulemane, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and Jose Soto. Although the violent escalation exhibited by police overwhelmed news and social media in the past few weeks, this violence has a long history in our nation. We wish to be part of the solution, we stand with our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community members, and we are working to do our part to be an anti-racist organization.​

As a community of educators, we value factual information and are committed to critical thinking. Therefore, we must fight false narratives, especially ones that spread injustice, racism, oppression, bias, and bigotry. Historically, the field of environmental education has been predominated by middle to upper-class, white, and older populations, in which COEEA Board and members are included. We know that difficult and uncomfortable conversations are very necessary right now. We want to provide our support, not only expressed in words, but also by actions.

COEEA has begun a strategic planning process that aims to critically address our diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice (DEIJ) efforts. We will share our strategic plan widely, and we welcome ideas and input from COEEA members and other EE colleagues for how we can foster a more welcoming, antiracist community. Our Board is committed to participating in DEIJ training now. We recently applied for a grant from the Center for Diversity and the Environment, as part of NAAEE’s ee360 initiative. This opportunity is highly selective, and as such, have encouraged NAAEE to create more funding opportunities for DEIJ training for all state affiliates.

Today, we seek candidates for the newly created DEIJ Chair position on the COEEA Board. Please contact president@coeea.org if you are interested and feel qualified for this important volunteer work. The DEIJ Chair will facilitate conversations with COEEA members and in Board meetings. This person will also collaborate with COEEA programs and events.

Today, we are making changes in our mini-grants opportunity to support DEIJ trainings and initiatives that will help members in this critical work.

Today, we pledge to include DEIJ as a criterion to reward organizations engaging in programs that create equitable access to the outdoors. We will create a new award category for Environmental Justice Educator of the Year.

Today and every day, we acknowledge the need to deepen our learning and engage in more meaningful DEIJ actions.

We are sincerely invested in increasing racial diversity on our Board and throughout our membership so that we can listen to and learn from different histories, perspectives, agendas, and life paths that will help all of us achieve the goal of environmental literacy in a fair, broad, and inclusive way.

We ask our COEEA friends and colleagues to stand with us. We ask you to join us and get involved in antiracist actions. Consider joining one of these upcoming virtual opportunities:

  1. COEEA Membership Virtual Convening: Conversations about Anti-Racism in Nature Centers and the EE Field

  2. Jamal Jimerson, Chief Equity Officer at Thought Partner Solutions, co-facilitated a free two-part webinar series, RE-ACT for Change. https://sustainablect.org/trainings-events/trainings-events-calendar/

Below are some resources that we know of to help your work in DEIJ. We encourage you to share resources that you know of by sending these to website@coeea.org for posting.

  1. NAAEE DEI Resources – https://naaee.org/our-work/programs/justice-equity-diversity-and-inclusion

  2. Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA) Resources for Equity –https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oegORa6dj0czp7Pk94s4tQwijRwKSDggHn0vtgGt3_Y/edit

  3. Early Childhood Education Assembly Anti-Racist Resources – https://www.earlychildhoodeducationassembly.com/resources-for-educators-focusing-on-anti-racist-learning-and-teaching.html

  4. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man (YouTube) – https://youtu.be/h8jUA7JBkF4

  5. A Conversation About Growing Up Black | Op-Docs | The New York Times (YouTube) – https://youtu.be/rSAw51caEeg

  6. A Conversation With Black Women on Race | Op-Docs (YouTube) – https://youtu.be/U-xz4qiUBsw

  7. ASCD: Building Racial Justice and Equity – http://www.ascd.org/research-a-topic/building-racial-justice-and-equity-resources.aspx

  8. Toward critical environmental education: a standpoint analysis of race in the American environmental context – https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504622.2019.1648768

  9. The Lawrence Hall of Science and Youth Outside – Examining Equitable and Inclusive Work Environments in Environmental Education: Perspectives from the Field and Implications for Organizations

  10. Liberal, progressive — and racist? The Sierra Club faces its white-supremacist history

  11. Why We Should Rethink How We Talk About “Alien” Species

  12. National Geographic: How National Parks are Fighting Racism:https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/more-diversity-how-to-make-national-parks-anti-racist/ https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/00000159-e08b-d9c3-a5f9-efef9d160000

  13. Webinar on Systemic Racism on Public Lands:https://oregonwild.org/about/blog/webcast-systemic-racism-public-lands

Join our Book Discussion on Anti-racism.

Though our hearts are heavy at this time, we are hopeful that together we can create systemic change.

In solidarity, Your COEEA Board

Thanksgiving message to learn more about the land where you live

Ready to join as a COEEA Member? 

Follow us!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn