Engaging Mainstream Environmental Organizations in Race & Social Justice Work

Seattle’s Equity & Environment Initiative (EEI) focuses on lifting up community based solutions and creating opportunities for communities of color, immigrants, refugees, people with low-incomes and limited-English proficiency individuals to be leaders in Seattle’s environmental movement.

Seattle is widely known for its environmental leadership – a source of pride for our city. However, the communities who shape and benefit from our environmental policies, approaches, and outcomes are primarily white and upper-income. Through the EEI, we are working to strengthen relationships and collaboration between historically white-led environmental organizations and the communities that are impacted by their work but are not engaged in their decision-making.

In pursuit of this goal, OSE recently conducted a series of workshops between leaders of historically white-led environmental organizations and the leaders who represent the Community Partners Steering Committee (CPSC).

The first workshop was a gathering of mainstream organizations with CPSC members in order to:

  • Build support for the Equity & Environment Agenda and identify opportunities for racially equitable partnerships.
  • Develop Partnership Commitments: Identify organizational ally actions to support the EEI Agenda.

The second workshop was of mainstream organizations on their own to process what they learned and consider how they might incorporate race-conscious practices into their work.

The final workshop brought both the mainstream and CPSC members back together to:

  • Continue to explore opportunities for racially equitable partnerships and shared-learning;
  • Have the CPSC to present (people of color centered) Equity and Environment Agenda recommendations; and
  • For the mainstream organizations to present organizational partnership suggestions & commitments to support the CPSC and the Equity and Environment Agenda recommendations

The results and outcomes from these workshops will be released on April 22, 2016 with the EEI Community Action Report.

More information on Equity & Environment Initiative here.