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We condemn the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless victims of racial injustice. We stand in solidarity with Black Americans and Black people all around the world to demand justice and accountability.
We recognize that Black people are disproportionately affected by systemic racism, oppression, incarceration, and police brutality. These are not new problems. And as a conservation and animal welfare organization, it is our responsibility to acknowledge the long history of racism within the environmental movement. From the founding of national parks on stolen land, to colonialism's exploitation of natural resources and communities, to the enslavement of human lives for agricultural labor, and more.
We must also remember that outdoor spaces have historically not been safe for many Black Americans, as documented by Christian Cooper who was birding while Black. Diversity in conservation remains lacking: People of color represent just 16% of staff in environmental organizations surveyed by Green 2.0. These organizations, including IFAW, have work to do. Environmental racism continues to devastate communities like Flint, Michigan where the water crisis still looms—the majority of its residents are Black. Climate change, food security, pollution, economic barriers to entry—environmental justice must account for all of this too and seek to dismantle the systems built upon oppression.
To create change, we at IFAW must first look inward and critically ask: What do we need to learn and unlearn, as individuals and as an organization? How can we be better employers and partners? Are our internal structures anti-racist and do they provide equitable opportunities? Fostering justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion is an active process. We are still learning. We are committed to doing the work.
Black lives matter.