I went into river protection to ensure there was a place for all biodiversity. That every class, family, genus and species had a hospitable environment in which to not only survive, but thrive. There is beauty in diversity. There is stability in diversity. Diversity creates a complex and powerful system, hard to destroy and resilient to impact. Eugene Odom, considered the father of modern ecology, asserted that the ‘whole of the system is greater than the sum of its parts’.

This is no less true for humanity. And as such, HRWC is committed to being more intentional about inclusivity. We are working to include diverse voices, ideas and approaches in how we work and who we work with. There is room for everyone in the environmental movement and in fact, without everyone, we will lose.

June is Pride Month.  A month we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and shine a light on the injustice and oppression faced by this community in hopes of inspiring continued movement toward a more equitable society — a society in which individuals are welcomed and included regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity but also celebrated because of their authenticity, vibrancy, and perseverance.

maxi chanel storytime bookHRWC has a role to play in advancing a vision of equity. We cannot sit this one out or say it is some other organization’s responsibility. This spring, we invited local storyteller Maxi Chanel to read a story about the Huron River in celebration of Earth Day. Maxi also is a drag queen.  Maxi took words on a page and made it an engaging learning experience for the young and old alike.  You can expect to see HRWC continue amplifying diverse voices and working in solidarity with ALL of the Huron’s residents and visitors.

To ensure we are building a more diverse, inclusive and just organization, HRWC staff and board have participated in trainings, we have completed an organizational audit and are implementing solutions where we identified deficiencies, and this summer we are developing a DEI plan to guide and focus our ongoing work. We look forward to you joining us on this journey, maintaining openness amidst discomfort, and challenging us when we misstep.

We stand with the LGBTQ+ community. You are among our colleagues, our family members, our dear friends, our children, our volunteers, our donors and our partners. We see you. We stand with you. And we are committed to fighting for a healthy environment and inclusive community along side you.

In solidarity.