In early 2021, we applied for inclusion in The Lawrence Hall of Science and Justice Outside Working Towards Racial Equity (WTRE) workshop series and were thrilled to be accepted into the program as part of Cohort 2.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the 2-year training series was developed to support environmental and outdoor science organizations in building capacity to foster equitable, inclusive, and culturally relevant work environments and organizations. Participating organizations will engage in a 5-month series of intensive workshops and then receive ongoing assistance and support for another 19 months, for a total of two years in the workshop. The workshop series is organized into two strands: one focused on organizational systems change and one focused on supporting professionals of color at participating organizations. IslandWood began the program, along with the other Cohort 2 participating organizations, in February of 2022.
We applied for inclusion in this program because of our commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) and in particular, the formal commitment we made to racial equity in 2019. While we have steadily been working toward our goals to embed JEDI into all our work at IslandWood, as a white-founded and historically white-led organization, we knew we still had so much to learn. The Working Towards Racial Equity workshop series is a unique opportunity for IslandWood to elevate this critical work at scale and to really immerse ourselves in the possibilities of creating systemic change in our field. It’s also a way for IslandWood to participate in research, contributing to learnings about how organizations like ours – predominantly and historically white-led – can successfully work towards race equity. It truly is an honor to be included with other leading science and environmental organizations across the country in this immense learning opportunity.
Per Justice Outside, “Building a more equitable movement requires radical and comprehensive change at all levels: individuals unlearning implicit bias, institutions doing away with organizational practices that marginalize People of Color, and the philanthropic sector adopting and prioritizing equitable practices. Rather than treating the symptoms of structural racism, our work seeks to change the system itself, charting a new future for the movement that places equity and justice at its center.”
We’ll keep you updated on this work, our learnings, our challenges, and how this may direct our organization in the future.
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