I don’t think we can wait on those who are invested in the idea of whiteness to change. If we do that, we’re going to lose another generation, those who are invested in the idea of America as a white nation in the vein of old Europe clinging to those commitments. And in — and in the interim, we keep losing people. Those of us who are — who have learned the lessons of our history, those of us who want to imagine America differently, we have to start building a world where those kinds of beliefs have no corner to breathe…

COVID has changed everything, has changed everything. We can’t go back to what was. We can’t allow people to double down on their ugly commitments. We have to finally muster the courage to build a new America, or this thing will go to hell.

—Eddie Glaude Jr., Princeton University professor and author on PBS Newshour Friday, May 28 , 2020

Dear Friend of WildAZ,

Over the past nine days I’ve tried to process and more deeply understand the trauma and shame of the brutal and horrifying police killing of George Floyd and all it represents in the context of systemic racism, the pandemic and the work that we do as Wild Arizona. While this is crucial learning, I’ve come to a place where it is simply time to get on with this transformation, eradicate every trace of racism from our systems, our organizations and our work.

As the newly merged Wild Arizona, we explicitly set out last year to, throughout our work, ‘unite people across culture circles with the common goal of protecting and restoring wild places, for the enrichment and health of all generations’. We may have a ways to go but we’re a passionate bunch of persistent advocates, and we are committed to work for real environmental and social justice.

We believe the future of conservation is intrinsically tied to the building of a new America, because our deeper cultural history is inescapable. Who do we want to be, what is our identity as Americans? We cannot protect our amazingly diverse landscapes and their diverse wild inhabitants until we are a compassionate, inclusive, equitable, and tolerant nation, embracing our cultural diversity. What wild 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.

With love for life on Earth,
Kelly, Kim C., Kim V., Kurt, and the Wild Arizona crew

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