Our work to protect and restore the rivers and other waters exists within the context of a society that is increasingly diverse. Nearly 40% of the U.S. population are people of color, and predictions suggest that by the mid-2040s non-whites and people of mixed-race will be a majority of our population. To remain socially relevant, our organizations should reflect the diversity of society as a whole, requiring us to both reform our institutions from the inside and our approach to our river protection and restoration work. Further, threats to water affect vulnerable communities the most, and yet they are seen and heard from the least in our water conservation community. Today, being an effective advocate for the rights of nature must include being an effective advocate for the human right to water and ensuring that we are working toward outcomes that are equitable to all members of our communities.
This 90-minute session (recorded on May 18th, 2017) was designed to serve as a foundation on the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and covers:
- Working definitions of diversity, equity, inclusion, cultural competence, and cultural relevancy to ensure we are all speaking the same language;
- A framework for discussing the reasons why DEI efforts are important in the realm of river and water protection and restoration, including River Network’s own “mission case” for DEI as an example;
- A discussion of how to get started on this work, using a four-quadrant framework and guiding principles for approaching DEI work in a holistic and sustainable way and providing sample strategies that River Network and other organizations have considered in this realm.
This webinar was presented by the Avarna Group and sponsored by the Urban Waters Learning Network and the Kresge Foundation. Over the course of the webinar, the presenters refer to River Network’s DRAFT “Case for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” You can find that document, and River Network’s DEI Statement of Intent, here. The webinar was followed by Part 2, Grappling with Unconscious Bias for More Inclusive Water Protection & Restoration (recorded here).