Acts of violence resulting in the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others have painfully reminded us of the many injustices that plague the black community. We stand in solidarity with the black community as there is no place or room for hatred or bigotry across our ocean community. Black Lives Matter today and every day, and we must collectively work together to destroy institutional and systemic racism by breaking down barriers, demanding racial justice, and drive change across our respective sectors and beyond.
While it is important to speak up and speak out, it is equally important to be proactive and commit to making change internally and externally. Whether it means instituting changes ourselves or working with our friends and peers in the marine conservation community to institute these changes, The Ocean Foundation will continually strive towards making our community more equitable, more diverse, and more inclusive at every level — embedding anti-racism in our institutions.
As the only community foundation for the ocean, we’re not only dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world, but are also committed to continuing these conversations and implementing activities that move the needle forward for racial justice. Through our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice efforts, our ocean community works to move an anti-racist culture forward through engagement, to reflect and engage, to being open to reading and learning more about what this entails, and to amplify the many unheard voices.
TOF pledges to do more, and welcomes all input on how we can build an equitable and inclusive movement. Below are a few resources to help you show up or get started:
- Spend time reading and learning. Read the work of James Baldwin, Ta-Nahisi Coates, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Richard Wright, Michelle Alexander, and Malcolm X. More recent books like How to be Antiracist, White Fragility, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, The New Jim Crow, Between the World and Me, and White Rage provide contemporary insight on how white people specifically can show up for communities of color.
- Engage with media created by People of Color. Read TheGrio, The Root, Ellen McGirt’s Race Ahead, and Rachel Cargle. Listen to podcasts like Code Switch, Intersectionality Matters, and Race Forward.
- Support organizations that are moving the needle on racial justice. Color of Change, Campaign Zero, the Anti-Racism Project, the NAACP, UnidosUS, Equal Justice Initiative, and the ACLU are but a handful of the organizations working nationally and locally for social justice issues facing communities of color. Sign up for their mailing lists, donate, respond to their calls to action, and find other ways to get involved.
- Stand with People of Color. When you see wrong, stand up for what is right. Call out racist actions — explicit or more likely, implicit — when you see them. When justice is compromised, protest, and challenge it until it creates change. You can learn more about how to be an ally here, here, and here.
In solidarity and love,
Mark J. Spalding, President
Eddie Love, Program Manager and D.E.I.J. Committee Chair
& all of The Ocean Foundation team
Photo Credit: Nicole Baster, Unsplash