We at Hilltown Land Trust feel it is imperative that we confront the ongoing crisis of racial injustice. We recognize that the recent instances of murder and violence are not isolated incidents, but rather part of our country’s long history of systemic racism and structural disenfranchisement of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
We cannot divorce the movements for social justice from our mission to protect and conserve land. We believe that access to nature and the outdoors is a basic human right and that the natural world should be a safe and comfortable place for all. We recognize that not everyone is able to enjoy outdoor spaces equally for reasons including racism, homophobia, transphobia, and bigotry. We also acknowledge that land ownership, land conservation, and land theft have been used as tools of oppression and contributed to marginalization of BIPOC in this country and around the world.
It is our responsibility to do better. As a white-led organization in a predominantly-white professional field, we must work to actively resist and dismantle the structures that perpetuate institutional racism and white supremacist thinking and action. This is not merely a statement of solidarity, but a commitment to make the changes that are so desperately needed and so long overdue.
We recognize that words mean little without action and we are determined to serve and engage a more diverse population with the work of Hilltown Land Trust. Moving forward, we are revising our values statement to reflect our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our 2021 update to our Strategic Plan will reflect our revised values statement and include specific steps for improvement. We are committed to sharing our further actions with you within the next four months.
We welcome community members who care about land conservation and the environment and have interest in or expertise with issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion to please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We want you to be part of the conversations about how Hilltown Land Trust’s work in land conservation, stewardship, and education can truly benefit everyone.
The Board, Staff, and TerraCorps members of Hilltown Land Trust