Dear Friends and Supporters,
Conservation is crucial but not sufficient for ensuring that ALL people have the opportunity to live freely and prosper in healthy communities. It is deeply wrong that a Black person has to worry about being accosted and threatened while birdwatching in a park. It is evil that simply encountering law enforcement or jogging while Black can be the cause of death.
What is the responsibility of conservation organizations for addressing these injustices?
Addressing issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in organizational operations and in the planning and implementation of conservation projects and programs is a desirable local action. But we will fail to create a more just society if we don’t adopt multiple levels of strategies for addressing the pervasive, tangled problems brought on by slavery, Jim Crow, and the public policies and norms that disproportionately harm people of color to this day.
Going forward, the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association will point its membership to state legislative initiatives that may make a difference so that members have an opportunity to get informed and influence outcomes. PALTA also will work with the PALTA membership to establish a statewide council to share experiences and advance good practices amongst conservation organizations for promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.
The board and staff of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association are horrified by the suffering of countless persons at the hands of systemic racism and injustice. We hope that our outrage and that of others brought on by the killing of George Floyd, coupled with action, can help propel system-level changes and within-system reforms to create a more just society. May we have the strength and wisdom to meaningfully contribute to creating healthy, prosperous, and secure communities for everyone.
Andrew M. Loza