Three Rivers Land Trust stands in solidarity with activists fighting against racial injustice. We grieve for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many other lives cut short. In their tragic deaths we see the legacy of a 400-year history of anti-Black violence. We recognize that generations of white silence are keeping that shameful legacy alive, so let us be clear: We believe that Black Lives Matter, and every one of us must actively work to dismantle the white supremacy that runs so deep in this country’s history and institutions. We see racism in the overrepresentation of Maine’s BIPOC communities (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) in our prison populations, and the disproportionate suffering of Black Mainers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
We recognize that this racism exists within the land conservation and outdoor recreation communities of which we are a part. We see conflict in our work to conserve and protect land that previously was stolen from Maine’s Indigenous communities, communities that stewarded the land for thousands of years. We see that Black people are not always welcome, not always safe in public spaces, most recently evidenced by the experience of birder Christian Cooper. We also recognize that it is easy to express frustration and anger, but much harder to follow those feelings up with action. With this in mind, Three Rivers Land Trust makes these commitments and encourages our members to join us:
- To identify and rout out racism within our organization and our individual lives, and become an inclusive organization. This process begins with learning, and in the summer of 2019 we formed a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Committee to guide the board in our learning journey. We invite you to explore some of the resources we read and watched as a board. We pledge to continue this journey of growth and change.
- To keep these values at the core of our work: environmental justice, equitable access to public lands, and inclusive strategies to promote working and wild landscapes that feel like welcoming spaces, not white spaces.
- To financially support the important work of organizations that serve the Black community, starting with a donation in 2020. We are still figuring out where our donation will go, but we invite you to join us in considering some of these organizations: Cultivating Community, Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust, Black owned Maine, Indigo Arts, Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition, Immigrant Welcome Center.
- To conduct an ethics audit of our investments before our May 2021 annual meeting, to ensure that our investments reflect our organizational values, including those of equity and justice.
- To call on our elected leaders to prioritize racial justice and Maine’s Black community. We invite you to join us in contacting our representatives:
Email U.S. Congressional delegates
We see that our work has failed to address racial equity, and we seek to do better going forward. In this time of grief, we commit to a brighter future.