We are committed to the principles of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice and have worked hard with our full staff and board to develop a statement that shares our commitments and holds us accountable. This statement is a reflection of our learning and as such will be changed from time to time based on new perspectives, feedback, and growth.
Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative Statement of Equity, August 29, 2018
All people have the right to access nature in open and public spaces. To guarantee this right for all communities, it is imperative for the conservation community to build a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse movement. The Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative is committed to being a catalyst and partner in this transformation.
Just as biodiversity strengthens natural systems, conservation work is made stronger by the contributions, experiences, perspectives, and values of different people and communities. Biases and disparities disproportionately burden communities of color, indigenous communities, people with physical and mental disabilities, and low income communities with legacies of environmental damage and on-going harm.* It is our duty to ensure that our work is not repeating these practices but is addressing barriers and fixing inequitable systems.
We know that organizations embracing equity are more resilient, creative, and long lasting. Organizations outwardly committed to equity are more attractive to funders and to a diversity of people for volunteer or staff opportunities. Striving to become an organization that embraces equitable principles will make the Collaborative a stronger, more effective catalyst for environmental good.
The Collaborative is committed to building on its history of working in partnership with other organizations by embracing equity, inclusion, and diversity in all areas of our mission. We will continue to support, facilitate, and seek funding for ongoing learning opportunities for all member organizations to further their understanding of who is in their communities, what their barriers to engagement are, and how to listen for joint solutions.
SMCC will also seek educational resources to deepen our understanding of the true history of conservation and it’s ongoing perpetuation of colonization and exclusion. We will be intentional about our staffing and membership practices and strive to increase the diversity of our staff, vendors, board members, and supporters with strategic recruitment and partnerships, and an inclusive work place culture. We will review our policies and practices for communication and participation to ensure universal access for all.
Additionally, The Collaborative invites a dialogue with partners working on these issues to seek guidance and develop collaborations. By expanding our reach, SMCC intends to go beyond traditional cultural and social boundaries to become more effective in building an equitable and inclusive conservation movement in Maine. We invite all communities to join us in this journey of transformation.
Thank you to The River Network for providing an inspirational base and beautiful language to our statement. https://www.rivernetwork.org/about/mission-vision-values/
*The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power Privilege, and Environmental Protection
SMCC is planning to host a 2020 cohort of members to join and learn together. Please get in touch and let us know if you are interested in joining.
Click here to learn about some of the DEIJ work we have done alongside our member organizations.
Resources for Exploring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion list. This list is compiled and shared by Maine Land Trust Network (MLTN). MLTN hopes everyone will continue to share your suggestions with them. To ensure a fair and meaningful discussion on this topic, MLTN has created guidelines for submitting suggested additions. They are included in the introduction of the document above. These guidelines are intentionally broad and are meant to widen the lens of what credible and useful expertise includes. Thank you for helping us further this important conversation.
ABOUT THE FILM: They were forced to assimilate into white society: children ripped away from their families, depriving them of their culture and erasing their identities. Can reconciliation help heal the scars from childhoods lost? Dawnland is the untold story of Indigenous child removal in the US through the nation’s first-ever government-endorsed truth and reconciliation commission, which investigated the devastating impact of Maine’s child welfare practices on the Wabanaki people.