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Response to Charlottesville

I hope that you were able to observe the eclipse from someplace special and that you’ve had a nice summer with a lot of time in nature.

On Saturday, August 12, my family and I climbed one of Colorado’s spectacular peaks that exceeds 14,000 feet. When we returned to cell coverage, I found out about what happened in Charlottesville. My heart sunk, and the high from the climb disappeared. In the days that followed, we heard Trump’s responses and we all sunk even further.

But sinking down and out, being an observer, is not an option. We all must demand that our political leaders condemn these acts every time they happen. The behavior of white nationalists cannot be tolerated. Any form of hatred, bigotry or discrimination cannot be tolerated. In Charlottesville, violent, racist, white supremacists beat and murdered protesters who spoke out against hate. This was an assault on our democracy and our humanity.

I want to make sure you saw a statement that was issued by a broad coalition of environmental groups. In it, they include a call to action: “No one who stands for justice, equality, and human dignity can stay silent any longer. We will stand unified against the white nationalist movement that everyday threatens America’s people and ideals, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. We will ultimately prevail by countering this hate with love.”

These are extremely difficult times, dark days, it may feel to you that we’re stuck in an eclipse. We are seeing more visible expressions of racism, and are reminded that they are present even when they are not expressed so directly. I know it can feel difficult to keep moving forward on our conservation work when so much is in turmoil in the world. But, it is at exactly moments like these that we must fight harder for what we believe.

For me, I think of future generations, and the world we wish to leave them. We’re fighting for a world that is just and sustainable for all humanity and for the planet. We fight for nature, the nature that we need to survive. We work to protect land and water, animals, our climate, and the future well-being of all people. Let’s embrace how our work is interrelated with the struggle for peace and justice. And let’s not take our eye off the ball, especially when much of our agenda is under attack.

Recently Former President Barack Obama shared this: “I’ve said before that I believe what Dr. King said, that “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” but I’ve also said it does not bend on its own. It bends because we bend it, because we put our hand on that arc, and we move it in the direction of justice and freedom and equality and kindness and generosity. It doesn’t happen on its own.”

So keep fighting the good fight. Know that you are making a difference. Ultimately, we will be successful because we’re all in this together.

I was inspired by the peaceful and strong unity march in Boston over the weekend. This is a time for all of us to deepen our work on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. To that end, TREC is hosting a web-based dialogue with Ava Holliday and Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin of The Avarna Group on Friday, September 8 at 11:00 am MT. In this discussion-based session, we’ll talk about how we can lead in these times, and work to make our organizations more inclusive and equitable. I hope you can join us.

Please let me know if there is anything you need from TREC; we are here to support you in your important work. Thank you for all you do. I so appreciate working side-by-side with you.

Best,

Megan Seibel
TREC Executive Director

Background Image: American Rivers | Scott Bosse

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