The same month that I was born, August 1963, was when Martin Luther King Jr gave his “I have a dream speech,” in which he said he dreamed of a day when his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
As someone who has benefitted from being a white American, I know that many of the things I take for granted – being able to live where I choose, change jobs to better my situation, speak out at public meetings, take a walk through pretty much any neighborhood, assume that police will not barge into my home and shoot me in my bed – are denied to millions of Americans because of the color of their skin.
As an ecologist, I know that the first law of ecology is that everything is connected to everything else.
This is one of the reasons why the cause of racial equity and justice represented by the Black Lives Matter movement is a vital issue to TLC’s staff and board, and to me, personally. If one part of an ecosystem is under stress and struggling, the whole ecosystem may collapse.
People of color are disproportionately affected by the negative consequences of climate change, are less likely to have access to good health care, more likely to live in areas with poor air and water quality, more likely to have high lead and mercury levels in their bodies, less likely to own their own home, more likely to be sent to prison, more likely to be killed by police, less likely to live near protected natural areas, more likely to flee their homelands in desperation because of social, economic and environmental disasters…
These are facts, not opinions. And, these are the consequences of a system infused with racism. It was this system that Dr. King worked peacefully to change until his life was taken by a bullet when he was just 39.
The current system must change. All our lives, and the future of the Earth depends on a healthy, caring humanity. And, if the benefits of a healthy, diverse natural world are not accessible equally to everyone, we have not done our jobs well.
I pledge to do my best to honor Dr. King’s dream through my words and deeds. I pledge to be an anti-racist, and to do what I can, where I am, with the resources available to me to make this a world where Dr. King’s words are reality.
Please join me.
Here’s a list of anti-racism resources that might be helpful. If you have found other resources that you would like to recommend, please share them with me.
Yours very truly, Lisa