In Spring 2020, following the murder of George Floyd, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and media reports of racism and discrimination here in the North Country, the staff and Board of AdkAction, like many other individuals and organizations, felt the clear and increasingly urgent need to take action. We recognized that we had to learn as much as we could, as quickly as we could about social inequity and injustice to build the most fitting and effective response possible. Therefore, we invited Adirondack Diversity Initiative Executive Director Nicki Hylton-Patterson to speak about these concerns at our July 30, 2020 board meeting and began walking down a path of reflection, education, and internal commitment and growth, as a necessary precursor to internal and external change. We have emerged from this initial year-long process with a better understanding of ourselves, our neighbors, and the roots and forms of racism and racial injustice in our community. We formally established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee last summer, and the work of this Committee was discussed at every Board meeting from June 2020 onwards. Rather than rushing to release new statements, policies or initiatives, we felt that taking the time for a deliberate and far-reaching process of organizational engagement was our first priority.
Our Diversity Statement below is the result of this careful work by our DEI Committee, staff, and members of our Board. We are committed to pursuing a diverse membership, developing a more diverse Board and staff, and ensuring that our projects are equitable and inclusive of all communities in the Adirondacks. Our DEI Committee and these discussions will continue at AdkAction.
We hope that each member of our organization will join us in supporting this statement and the incorporation of these goals into the activities and projects of AdkAction. We also welcome the opportunity to engage with our members and the community at large as we strive to implement these important goals.
Steve Maikowski, Chair
Brittany Christenson, Executive Director
Eric Holmlund, Chair, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
Our diversity, equity and inclusion statement
AdkAction recognizes that as a state park, the Adirondack Park belongs to all New Yorkers and, at the same time, serves as an international model for sustainable development, balancing the needs of people and the natural systems on which they depend. We also recognize that all people, those who live here and those who visit here, have a crucial interest in protecting, enhancing, and experiencing the intrinsic beauty, abundant biodiversity, and vitality of the Adirondack Park and its communities, and that all are entitled to equal access to the Park’s public lands. We recognize that people’s Adirondack experiences are not uniformly positive and that some residents and visitors feel unwelcome to explore, participate in, and benefit from the region’s many and varied opportunities. All of us at AdkAction, individually and collectively, condemn negative and hurtful acts of discrimination, exclusion, and racism that have diminished the promise of the Adirondacks. We pledge ourselves to find and incorporate perspectives in our work that will make the Adirondacks more welcoming to diverse traditions, cultures, values, identities, and ways of life. We commit ourselves to lift and amplify diverse voices that foster respect and equality both within our organization and in our communities. In light of these principles and values, AdkAction will actively work to ensure that our projects are beneficial, inclusive, and open to all.