Our Commitment to Dismantling White Supremacy, and Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The Hitchcock Center for the Environment aspires to create and sustain an organization-wide culture that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion and sees them as essential to our organization’s mission and continued excellence. Through strategic initiatives and partnerships, program design and delivery, stewardship and development, and continual education, we are working to build a more representative, equitable, and inclusive Center.
We recognize that the field we work in, the environmental and environmental education field, is a predominately white and privileged one. We are committed to consciously changing this through a systemic approach that works to dismantle white supremacy culture and center equity and, in particular, racial equity, within our organizational ethos.
We gratefully acknowledge the Indigenous Peoples on whose ancestral homelands we live and work, as well as the diverse and vibrant Indigenous communities who make their home here today. We acknowledge we are working and teaching on stolen land that is the traditional homeland of the Nonotuck, Nipmuc, Pocumtuc and Wabenaki people. As an organization whose very work is to be a part of and connect with the wonders of nature and our land, we recognize the history of colonialism and the genocide of Indigenous people that brings us to this land today. We acknowledge our neighboring Indigenous nations: the Wampanoag to the East, the Mohegan and Pequot to the South, the Mohican to the West, and the Abenaki to the North, all of whom were the original stewards of this land. We strive to honor and celebrate current and historical Indigenous people in our programs, curriculum and partnerships.
We also recognize the painful history of genocide, slavery, and forced displacement and their ongoing ramifications for many communities. These acknowledgements commit us to continually work on being a welcoming organization with a strong culture of respect and belonging that is actively working against systems of oppression. Inside, we continue our work to recruit and retain culturally competent employees and build a strong culture of inclusion Outside, we are working to increase our reach and diversify our program participants, volunteers, partners, donors and supporters to ensure we are serving all communities. We continually re-evaluate our programs and services, asking ourselves what can be done to be true to this commitment. Here are some action steps we are taking in order to advance our commitment:
- We are committing time and resources for all staff to do regular diversity and inclusion work with a lens on dismantling white supremacy We are making our programs more financially accessible with tiered pricing, scholarships, and program underwriting.
- We are working to integrate land acknowledgements into our programming and signage.
- We are evaluating and adjusting our programs and curriculum to be more accessible, inclusive, equitable and anti-racist.
- We are prioritizing partnerships that help us meet these goals, be more responsive and expand our reach and impact.
- We uphold policies that prevent all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination, regardless of gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnic origin, disability, age, nationality, national origin, sexuality, religion or belief, marital status, and social class.
As we move forward, we recognize that we have not yet met these expectations. This is work in progress and a living document. We know there will be missteps and inaccuracies in our own practice and we aim to be transparent and embrace the opportunity to learn from our mistakes.