Black History Month started on Tuesday, and there has been a lot of appropriate focus on the work and contributions of countless Black leaders, communities, and people thus far. We haven’t yet shared anything to honor or celebrate the month, and there’s a reason for that.
We seek to genuinely and authentically honor, celebrate, and support the work and leadership of Black members of our communities—not just during Black History Month, but all year.
We acknowledge that many historical and present engagements with Black colleagues and community members around the time of, and during, Black History Month have caused harm and perpetuated patterns of tokenism and performative allyship (statements to profess support, though lacking in substantive action or accountability—for example, appearing to honor and celebrate the work of Black leaders and people, but just during Black History Month and without equitable actions and support year-round). We aim to disrupt those patterns and commit ourselves to actions rooted in authenticity and accountability.
It is from this place of acknowledgement and aspiration to do better that, starting several weeks ago—which should have been months ago—we engaged in conversations within our Marketing and Communications team, and with Black colleagues who expressed interest, to identify ideas, opportunities, and shape paths forward for how we honor and celebrate Black History Month now and into the future.
With input, we’ve identified Black-led organizations, collectives, and efforts that we believe are doing important and impactful work, with an emphasis on those doing work in the environmental, conservation, and climate spheres within the state of Washington.
We are reaching out to a number of those organizations, collectives, and people with the goal of understanding if and how we can support them and their work, and, through our platforms, how we can ultimately spread word and support for the incredible amount of great work being done in our communities by Black leaders and community members.
This is not a short-term play or disingenuous attempt to wave our own flag during Black History Month. We hope it is the beginning of sustained and reciprocal relationships.
Stay tuned for more from us and others in this space, this month and beyond.
Banner image: Sunrise view of Mt. Rainier at Reflection Lake by Nina Ritchie/TNC Photo Contest 2021