Towards Justice and Change
Dear MAEOE community,
We are heartbroken and frustrated by the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, the racism experienced by Christian Cooper while he was birding in Central Park, and other racial injustices experienced by people of color whose incidences are less publicized. We recognize these recent events are just a small sample of what very often does not go viral. There cannot be inclusive environmental education in outdoor spaces until all people are heard and feel safe in their communities. The process to accomplish this may drive anxiety, conflict, and even pain but it is one of the keys to our success.
As an organization that promotes environmental awareness and supports our communities to improve the health of their schools and neighborhoods, we must work together to fight the systemic racism that underlies the very fabric for our nation.
We believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of ensuring an environmentally sustainable future and are building it into the mission of our organizational structure. This will help us develop long term goals that will ensure MAEOE continues to be an inclusive space for all Marylanders.
Our students are our future and their voices matter. Guiding them through difficult conversations is an important practice that we must model. There is much work to be done and we must work together for lasting solutions that protect every single person of every single race to achieve our collective vision of a sustainable future.
We can only solve the environmental issues of today and tomorrow by including everyone in the discussion. We ask you to consider the following questions with the board, advisory council, and staff:
- How do we share relevant topics with our students in a virtual environment?
- How can we integrate topics of equity and inclusion into our discussions about the environment?
- How do we help our students to process their thoughts and feelings about current or future injustices in a virtual environment?
We invite the MAEOE community to let us know how we can help your organization, school, family, and children. The challenges we face are immense, and it will take every single one of us to commit to building an anti-racist world.
Our hearts go out to everyone feeling the pain of these recent incidents.
MAEOE Staff, Advisory, and Board