It is time to speak up.
As Heart of the Rockies Initiative works to ensure connected habitat and working lands for people and wildlife, we do so with an understanding that conservation is inextricably linked with social justice and equity. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are but the most recent examples of the social injustice and inequity that are the hallmarks of undeniable, longstanding and deep systemic racism in the United States.
As an organization, we value diversity and know that conservation and communities are best served by diversity, inclusion and equity. We are having conversations about racism and oppression, exploring how we as a conservation community can do our part to dismantle systemic racism.
For too long those of us with opportunity and privilege have failed in our responsibility to look at the truth squarely and name the system of racial oppression that artificially divides Americans. This is the time to acknowledge pain and injustice, sit with discomfort and take responsibility for the ways we both benefit from and perpetuate systems that oppress Black people, Indigenous people, Latinx people, and other oppressed and marginalized people.
This must change.
Gary Burnett, Executive Director, and the entire staff of Heart of the Rockies Initiative
Joselin Matkins, Board President, and the entire Board of Directors of Heart of the Rockies Initiative