Last summer, in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the many other tragic acts of racial injustice, we as an organization, shared Our Commitments in order to publicly hold ourselves accountable to the work of anti-racism and to vocalize our values in no uncertain terms.
The work didn’t start with that moment, nor does it end with this one. Over the last few months, we’ve had uncomfortable conversations, we’ve questioned when it’s our right and obligation to say something, we’ve agonized over how to say what we mean, we’ve heard from people who didn’t agree with the things we’ve said, and we’ve received responses like this one, that confirmed how important it is that we keep moving forward – even when (and especially when) it’s hard to do.
“Thank you for this confirmation that our beautiful black and brown kids are affected by these events [at the Capitol]. It’s difficult for them to think they matter (no matter how many times we tell them they do) when they see otherwise. I grieve for our children because they have a heavy burden to bear.”
Over the last 8 months, we have explored every level of our organization through a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lens to assess how our systems and actions align with our intentions. We have identified key priorities and built action plans against them, including staff and volunteer recruiting and hiring, examination of program traditions and gender constructs, and opportunities for training and education.
Our board of directors has launched a year-long curriculum of DEI workshops, beginning with an Identity session at our first board meeting of the year, to ensure that our practices and diverse representation extend all the way from our leadership experience to our camper experience.
Going forward, we will continue to evaluate our words, processes and actions across the organization to ensure that our campers, caregivers, volunteers, staff, and every person that comes into contact with Experience Camps, knows that they matter.
And we recommit to listening, to learning, to having difficult conversations, and to being part of the solution, not just today, but for as long as it takes.