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Friends of the Columbia Gorge Statement on Racism And Access to Nature

Friends of the Columbia Gorge Statement on Racism And Access to Nature
Photo by Nick Wiltgen
June 1, 2020
Categorie(s): Latest News

In recent weeks, African Americans Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd were murdered within their communities. Christian Cooper was shamelessly threatened recently in Central Park. The list goes on and the world is watching how the United States responds.

Too often the U.S. conservation community has been silent on issues of justice, equality, and access to the outdoors. This cannot continue. Friends of the Columbia Gorge condemns systematic racism directed at all communities of color and stands in solidarity with those whose lives are on the line. Racism is alive in our communities and we all must work to be actively anti-racist as an organization and in our personal lives.

Our communities and the natural areas we protect should be refuges, safe spaces for all people. But the raw truth is they are not. As our natural areas are reopened to the public, we’re committed to fighting to ensure that discrimination, harassment, and violence have no place in the areas we work to protect. No one should ever feel unwelcome or unsafe on public lands in the Columbia Gorge.

Black lives matter, and we all have a role to play in making sure all in our society are protected by the rule of law and that the law does not discriminate. We encourage our members and supporters to learn more about local, black-led groups such as the NAACP Portland Branch and Springfield/Eugene Branch, Urban League of Portland, Portland African American Leadership Forum, Coalition of Communities of Color, Unite Oregon, and Don’t Shoot PDX. We also encourage you to support those working to amplify the voices of black and other conservationists of color, such as the grassroots team that organized #BlackBirdersWeek.

About Friends of the Columbia Gorge
Friends of the Columbia Gorge is the only nonprofit conservation organization dedicated solely to protecting the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia Gorge for generations to come. 

Press Contact: Burt Edwards, Communications Director, Friends of the Columbia Gorge