Dear friends of Avalonia,
We are writing today with frustration, sadness and anger over the current events occurring across our country.
For over a week, our country has been rocked with protests, rejecting the systemic and institutional racism that makes the brutality we have been facing possible. This systemic racism infiltrates every aspect of our country and evidence of it has been on stark display in recent weeks. From the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, to the citizen murder of Ahmaud Arbery, to the harassment of Christian Cooper, we recognize that implicit bias is present in our country on every level. From an environmental perspective, communities of color face disproportionate exposure to pollution and increased rates of asthma and cancer, while also experiencing decreased access to fresh produce and open space.
The Avalonia Land Conservancy was founded to preserve our natural resources and to help our community see the beauty and peace of the natural world. We do this because we see the intrinsic value of life, from the tiniest frog to the red oak forest. We also do this because we are choosing to create a future for our children and our children’s children, one that includes clean air, clean water, and connection to the earth. In Avalonia’s preserved spaces, we protect and celebrate diversity. However, when the lives of black people are not protected, when the diversity of this nation is not celebrated, then the future that we are striving to create dies as well.
Black Lives Matter. George Floyd’s life mattered. At Avalonia, we understand that racial and environmental justice are inextricably linked. We are working with regional partners to provide welcome and safe access for communities of color to our preserves through the development of inclusive policies and programs. The barriers of access to our public open spaces, both present and perceived, must be broken down. We also join our voices to call for justice. We need systemic change, and we can all do much more.
I hope that you will join us to meet this moment with courage. Thank you for the good work that you do to preserve and protect this beautiful planet.