Committing to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Dear Friends, Supporters, and Partners,
After days of listening, learning, and reflecting, I’m writing to address what we’re witnessing across the country.
I’ve been connecting with Maine Coast Heritage Trust staff members, our board chair, people in the Maine land conservation community, and others about how best to respond in this extraordinary moment and move productively forward in our mission to conserve the Maine coast for all to access and enjoy. Frankly, we’ve come up with more questions than answers, but we are all in agreement that silence is not an option, and that action is necessary.
While injustice and systemic racism are as old as America, our nation has reached a new inflection point, and what appears to be a catalytic moment. My hope is that even in the midst of so much pain and suffering, positive change will come from this widespread reckoning. MCHT is committed to being part of that positive change.
We at MCHT bear witness to and condemn the acts of violence committed against Black men and women in America. We also acknowledge the many other ways racism and prejudice do daily harm to people of color, Indigenous people, and other communities in Maine and across the country. The fact is that injustice and systemic racism pervade all aspects of our society, including the land conservation community, and we cannot leave the obvious unsaid and unexamined.
This examination has begun at MCHT, but the events of the past weeks remind us that we have a long way to go to listen, learn, and act within the scope of our mission to address these and other complex issues, and the way they inform our land conservation work.
I want to be clear: I don’t yet know what our roadmap looks like, but we will begin the journey with self-reflection and by elevating our commitment to building diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization. This isn’t only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. A more diverse, equitable, and inclusive MCHT will be more effective in its mission to serve all Maine communities, protect land, care for the land, and connect people to it.
We cannot do this alone. We are not simply a group of employees and board and council members; we are an organization of thousands of people contributing to MCHT’s mission in myriad ways. In the months and years to come, I pledge to keep you informed on the specifics of our work and progress in this area, and I invite you to hold us accountable.
Now and always, I’m listening. I want to hear from you—on this and any other topic.
Thank you for being a part of MCHT.