A letter on race and equity from MountainTrue’s co-directors

Like many organizations, we have begun taking a hard look at the role MountainTrue should play in the new national dialogue on race and equity. To be clear, equity has been a focus for us for several years now, mostly in terms of training and awareness for our board and staff, but the death of George Floyd and the ensuing outcry for racial justice has pushed us to ask what else we can and should do.

You might ask, why should MountainTrue do anything? We are an environmental advocacy organization, not a social or racial justice organization, right? Sure, it would make sense for us to work on environmental issues that impact communities of color, but why should we go beyond that? Shouldn’t we let other groups that are focused on racial issues fight this fight?

These are good and understandable questions. And we have answers to them …

Why MountainTrue Must Fight Racism

Why MountainTrue Must Fight Racism

MountainTrue has been evolving toward a wider focus. Yes to protecting forests and rivers and advocating for better public transit, more greenways, clean energy, and dense development for the environmental benefits, but we are also thinking more broadly about how we can help foster communities where people are truly healthy. And this means communities that are free from racism, and where there is equity in the social determinants of health — housing, transportation, education and jobs. Here are some of the reasons why.

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Where MountainTrue Has Been and Where We’re Going

Where MountainTrue Has Been and Where We’re Going

MountainTrue, like most environmental organizations, has a membership, board, and staff that are largely white. This just means we need to work harder to diversify our staff, board and membership and to focus our programs in ways that will particularly benefit people of color and help redress systemic racism. This is an overview of some of the ways we’re working to diversify our organization and make equity a bigger part of our program work.

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Harvey’s Toxic Wake

Harvey’s Toxic Wake

French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson reports back from Houston where Hurricane Harvey had another dangerous effect: flooded superfund sites. Hartwell notes the dichotomy of the storm’s effects on business districts as opposed to poorer neighborhoods located near industry and refineries.

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Systemic Racism Explained | act.tv
Racism affects every area of life in the US. (Video).

#DoTheWork 30 Day Free Course | Rachel Elizabeth Cargle
This course is designed to be an eye-opener and a call to action for those who seek to be allies to Black women.

We’re Here. You Just Don’t See Us. | Outside
Latria Graham discusses the common misconception that black people don’t love wild places. The problem isn’t desire, but access.

Of Course There Are Protests. The State Is Failing Black People | New York Times Opinion
Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, discusses police brutality in the context of America’s failure to improve the lives of Black people.

Upcoming Event

Sept. 23: MountainTrue University: Faith, Ecology and Race
Join Reverend Tami Forte Logan, Missioner of Faith4Justice Asheville, and Reverend Scott Hardin-Nieri, Director of the Creation Care Alliance as they explore issues of faith, ecology and race while talking about how their individual programs and efforts to promote justice in our community. This is a virtual event. Click here to register.

Dear White People

This MountainTrue University features Tanya Marie, a MountainTrue board member and founder of Pathways to Parks. Tanya Marie shares stories of how she’s experienced racism as a black woman in WNC and in the outdoors. She believes that when white people strive to understand the ugly disease of racism, they can become allies to black people to effectuate the ‘change’ that America so desperately needs.