Two years ago, the Ecology Center formed a Solidarity and Allyship working group, comprised of staff from diverse backgrounds and experiences. The committee’s work is supported with a budget, so we can take the lead on internal assessments and staff trainings. In its two years, we have successfully implemented two all-day trainings, hosted several topical brown bag lunches, and generated a strong list of actions for the coming years. One of these actions is to communicate more directly about issues of racial injustice and oppression with the greater community. In this spirit, the working group wishes to express support for Black Lives Matter.
The Ecology Center’s mission is to inspire and build a healthy, just, and sustainable future for the East Bay, California, and beyond. We work from the understanding that structural racism and state violence is constantly operating against black people. In our work, this is most directly expressed through environmental racism, food injustice, health disparities, and the violence and fear of violence that our black staff, youth interns, and partners experience.
The Ecology Center is working toward a vision of zero waste and zero toxics, equal access to healthy food, sustainable resource use, and a safe and stable climate. When we break down each aspect of this vision, we must ask who is affected most when this vision is not achieved. Who suffers most from toxic pollution and polluted water? From the devastating storms, flooding, droughts, and heat waves that climate change brings? From food deserts, unjust food policies, and the predatory marketing of the junk food and sugary drink companies? The most destructive, polluting, health-destroying industries and systems thrive in a world where black lives are not valued as much as white lives.
The Ecology Center Working Group sees structural, institutionalized racism as not limited to any one system, but rather, woven throughout our culture and society. One of the core tenets of ecology is that everything is connected. Alicia Garza, one of the people who coined #BlackLivesMatter and catalyzed the movement, explains the thinking behind the slogan: “(Black lives) are important to your liberation. Given the disproportionate impact state violence has on black lives, we understand that when black people in this country get free, the benefits will be wide reaching and transformative for society as a whole.”
We agree. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter for black liberation, and for a healthy, sustainable, and just future.
Ecology Center Solidarity and Allyship Working Group –
Martin Bourque, Carle Brinkman, Leah Ricci, Jeannie Pham, Jonathan Feingold, Amanda Gordon, Deborah Beyea, Dante Alnas-Benson, Amy Kiser, Jackie Yep