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04/01/2013

A More Diverse, Inclusive, and Welcoming Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is committed to creating a culture in which all people feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. I was pleased to publish this LTE in response to a recent article about the lack of diversity in environmental groups.

Thank you for shining a spotlight on an issue the Sierra Club has identified as a key priority for 2013 and beyond: bringing diversity to the environmental movement (March 25, 2013).

Communities of color are disproportionately affected by the health problems caused by pollution, particularly the production, transportation, and burning of dirty fossil fuels including coal, oil, and natural gas. These same communities are also often at greater risk from the extreme weather and other threats posed by climate disruption that dependence on these fuels has spurred.

The Sierra Club is investing in diversity and inclusion not only because it is our job to fight for everyone's right to clean air and water, but because we recognize that within these communities are millions of allies with whom we share values and whose support we will need to continue to win the battle against climate disruption.

What would REALLY be newsworthy, however, is what organizations like the Club are doing to become more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming. Join me for an Open House call on Monday, April 8, 5-6pm PST to learn just that!

The Club's diversity program has evolved significantly over the past few years. Although we have a long way to go, the progress is substantive and rewarding. Much of the success comes from weaving diversity and inclusion into the campaigns, programs, and capacity building, as opposed to isolating these initiatives. Moreover, the Sierra Club's leadership - staff and volunteer alike - needs to reflect the communities we serve, support and partner.

For at least two decades the Sierra Club has worked side-by-side with activists and organizations in these communities to take on polluters and encourage clean energy prosperity. Together we have won victories against coal interests in Chicago, Detroit, and other major cities. We have challenged oil companies threatening indigenous communities in Alaska. In Port Arthur, Texas, we've partnered with local restaurant owner Hilton Kelley in defeating an enormous petrochemical refinery expansion. Last Friday, we stood with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and dozens of local activists to announce that America's second-largest city will be coal-free by 2025.

Since 1976, our Inner City Outings program has provided tens of thousands of urban youth with outdoor experiences, fostering new generations of environmental activists who want to preserve our country's natural heritage.

Join me to hear from Sierra Club staff and volunteers about what's working in their neck of the woods to recruit more youth and people of color, to engage new audiences, and to strengthen our outreach.  And, bring your stories to share!

Open House Call
Monday, April 8, 5-6pm PDT
Toll-Free Dial-In: 1-866-501-6174
Conference Code: 455-0000-1892#

Confirmed Guests:
Adriana Gonzalez: Sierra Student Coalition ExCom
Cliff Cockerham: Water Sentinels Youth Project in TN
Aisha Farley: Youth Organizing Project in CA (Angeles) 
Flavia De La Fuente: Organizing in TX (1-day trainings, family-friendly events, working with millennials and college students)
Jessica Ronald: Sierra Club Diversity Effectiveness Representative

Here's the Sierra Club's Diversity Resources page.


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David Scott

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