Let’s work together toward change

To the editor,

While moving through our normal tasks in recent weeks, a new thread of urgency has woven its way through our work. The Maine land conservation community is raising its voice against the racial inequity and violence that has gripped this country for too long. Yet it is difficult to know how best to respond in this extraordinary moment and move productively forward in our missions to conserve Maine’s natural spaces for all to access and enjoy. There are no easy answers as to the best path forward.

As we struggle with how to best engage in efforts to facilitate change, we come up with more questions than answers, but we are all in agreement that silence is not an option, and that action is necessary.

While injustice and systemic racism are as old as America, our nation has reached a new inflection point, and what appears to be a catalytic moment. Our hope is that even amidst so much pain and suffering, positive change will come from this widespread reckoning. We are committed to being part of that positive change and invite all of you to join us in that commitment. We salute those of you who are further along this road than we feel ourselves to be.

Our organizations bear witness to and condemn the acts of violence committed against black men and women in America. We also acknowledge the many other ways racism and prejudice do daily harm to people of color, indigenous people, and other communities in Maine and across the country. Injustice and systemic racism pervade all aspects of society, including the land conservation community, and it is no longer an option to turn a blind eye or leave the obvious unsaid and unexamined.

The events of the past weeks remind us that there is a long way to go to listen, learn, and act to address these and other complex issues, and the way they impact our land conservation work. We are committed to the journey and are ready to be active partners in identifying problems and making necessary changes within the land conservation community.

We hope these words ring true for you, and that you will join us in these efforts. Our organizations are committed to doing the work it takes to be more diverse, inclusive and equitable. Let’s work together to make that vision become a reality.

South Portland Land Trust