To our Imago community:
This month has been full of intense emotional feelings–those of pain, anger, and passion. We have been deeply saddened not only by numerous instances of police brutality, but also by the grim reminder that racism and injustice are structurally present in nearly every aspect of our society. At Imago, we have had internal conversations condemning police brutality and systemic injustice, but chose to wait to publicly respond until we could become more educated and show the real steps we were taking to create change at Imago. It is a privilege to remain silent on issues of injustice. For the past month, Imago has been silent and that shows that we have work to do. Our organization endeavors to go beyond internal discussion and take real steps towards actionable change.
The presence of structural racism and systemic oppression in our society is undeniable. We condemn the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Tony McDade, and so many others at the hands of the police. We stand in solidarity with protestors and activists who have been fighting for justice. We support the Black Lives Matter movement. This is not a static moment in time, but a movement for massive, necessary change.
Why This Matters to Imago
At Imago, we’ve always felt that being an environmental organization means being a social organization as well. To us, the two are intertwined. You cannot talk about people as separate from the environment, and you cannot care about the environment without also caring about people. In fact, Imago was started by two social workers, who saw a need to help communities and families. Caring about people is part of our history and inherently built into who we are as an organization.
As such, it is dearly important to us to listen and act. It is not enough for Imago to simply not be racist – the moment to be anti-racist is calling.
Listening and Acting
Imago intentionally chose not to make a public statement sooner because we felt that it was important to not only show our support, but to also demonstrate a clear plan of action that we will take to become an anti-racism organization.
In our pursuit of being an Anti-Racism organization we intend to do the following:
Support and Amplify:
Imago will use its platforms to specifically highlight the work of people of color who are engaging in the environmental movement. We will seek ways to amplify the voices of people who bring to light environmental issues that disproportionately affect people of color. As a community-oriented organization, the staff and board members also recognize the importance of supporting social justice movements in every facet of society. We, as individuals, will make financial contributions to grassroots movements who are leading the fight for racial justice.
Listen and Learn:
Imago will meet with organizations and community members. We will seek out examples of organizations and communities that are taking strides in Anti-Racism whom we can learn from and emulate. We will engage in meaningful conversations to help us identify gaps in our own knowledge as well as gaps in the environmental movement.
Over the next three months, we hope to gain a greater sense of the needs present in the community. Our goal is to make an actionable plan for addressing those needs, all while constantly continuing to listen, learn, and grow. We know that there are gaps that we can address, such as amplifying the voices of people of color in the environmental community, building diversity in our own organization as well as the environmental movement, continuing to remove barriers of access to nature for people of color, and addressing the environmental injustices that disproportionately affect people of color and disenfranchised communities. We have a number of actions that we are ready and excited to take, but we don’t want to be presumptuous and assume that we know what is best – without learning first.
Consider this an open-hearted invitation to join us on this journey – share your stories, your frustrations, your wisdom, and your criticisms. Everything we do at Imago, we do as a community. Let’s go do this work together.
The Imago Family