Our Commitment to 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, volunteer recruitment and staff hires, stewardship and development, and continual education, the board and staff 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 field and we are committed to consciously changing this through a systemic approach that centers equity and, in particular, racial equity, deep 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 inclusion for all and to be an organization that is actively working against systems of oppression. Inside, we will 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 that we are serving all communities. We will 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 budgeting for regular diversity and inclusion training for all staff, board and volunteer members.
- We are making our programs more financially accessible with tiered pricing, scholarships and program underwriting.
- We are strengthening outreach to communities of color to recruit more diverse staff, board and volunteer members.
- We are integrating a land acknowledgement into our programming and signage.
- We are designing new programs and curriculum to focus on environmental justice and the environmental work being done by black, brown, indigenous, and other marginalized and underrepresented people.
- We uphold policies that prevent all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination, regardless of gender, gender identity, race, ethnic origin, disability, age, nationality, national origin, sexuality, religion or belief, marital status, and social class.
As we move forward, we know there will be missteps and inaccuracies in our own practice and continued progress on these issues and we embrace the opportunity to learn from our mistakes.