The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. There is no way to do the work of healing and nurturing the natural world in a silo. As residents of the Earth and citizens of the World, the mounting cases of violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color reveal how connected we all are and compel us to speak out in support for Black Lives Matter. We condemn the brutal killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others. We condemn all violence against Black people. We support the protests that are happening all across the country – and around the world – demanding immediate reform of police department policies and judicial systems.
The same political/economic system that is destroying our natural world is also systematically victimizing people of color, indigenous people, and poor people in general. In this historic time, it is so clear that environmental justice and racial justice are not two separate causes but part of the same mandate. We need to work together to transform that system into one that eliminates police brutality, environmental degradation, and inequality under the law. We need to redefine the American Dream to reflect a new vision of peace and justice that encompasses social and environmental justice.
Kelly Burke from Wild Arizona says it well:
We believe that the future of conservation is intrinsically tied to the building of a new America, because our deeper cultural history is inescapable; indeed this past is our present. How do we want to identify as a culture moving forward? We cannot protect our amazingly diverse landscapes and their diverse inhabitants until we are a compassionate, inclusive, equitable, and tolerant nation, embracing our cultural diversity. What nature offers now, as it has during the pandemic, is healing, and the inspiration and motivation to fight for an America free of oppression, exploitation, and systemic racism.
We at the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection will continue to look for all intersections between our basic mission and the making of this “new America.”
“You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable.” – Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Resources for further learning and taking action
158 Resources to Understand Racism in America (Smithsonian Magazine)
Dear White People, This is What We Want You to Do (Kandise Le Blanc)
The Dunbar Pavilion: An African-American Arts and Culture Center (located in Tucson)
(Thank you to Coalition member group Sky Island Alliance for sharing many of these websites.)
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” – Martin Luther King Jr.