Environmentalists Cannot Remain Silent on Racism
CEO Jennifer Morris makes a public statement on the recent acts of racism in the United States and ongoing protests spreading around the world.
At The Nature Conservancy, we aim to create a world where people and nature thrive. Acts of racism and violence threaten this goal, harm our communities, and put vulnerable lives at risk.
Events from the past week are a reminder of how much work we have to do to create a world where all can thrive. From Minneapolis to Berlin and in my front yard in Washington D.C., anger over recent acts of racism and violence—just the latest instances of persistent injustice—manifested in protests and unrest.
Many will ask why a nature conservation organization is weighing in on this dialogue. Does it really impact our mission? My answer is: yes, it does. And yes, we must speak out. When injustice reigns— whether it is unequal access to nature, unfair and inequitable laws, or police brutality—we must all do our part to push for change.
As a white person and leader of an organization with outsized influence in parts of the world, I've been examining my own contributions to the systems that uphold unfair treatment and questioning how I can most effectively use my voice to increase safety for our colleagues and communities. I am committed to creating lasting strategies that keep equity top of mind in our workplace culture and our conservation outcomes. To affect lasting change, we must also lift up voices of communities who are vulnerable, marginalized, and historically underserved by systems in our society.
“As our world is experiencing the compounding effects of generations of racism, inequity and injustice, we acknowledge that our organization has not been at the forefront of this conversation and we no longer have the luxury or privilege to remain silent,” said Cassandra James and Keeya Thomas, Co-Leads for TNC’s League of Employees of African Descent (LEAD). “We identify with your pain and trauma and aim to ensure that this issue is no longer ignored. As the organization strives to create a more inclusive culture, we are committed to ensuring that our voices are authentically elevated in the strategic discussions that will drive effective and sustainable change.”