Wilderness Society statement in wake of tragic deaths and injustices.
Statement of Jamie Williams, President of The Wilderness Society
“Black Americans deserve to feel safe no matter where they are, including in the outdoors. However, the stories we have seen emerge in recent days and weeks underscore with brutal clarity that for too many people, the outdoors has not been the welcoming refuge it should be for all people.
The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed while going for a run outdoors, George Floyd, who was killed when he was arrested in Minneapolis, and Breonna Taylor, who was killed while resting in her home in Louisville, are all devastating incidents reminiscent of a terrible history of violence against Black people in this country.
The story of Christian Cooper, who was harassed and racially profiled while birding in Central Park, further demonstrates how Black Americans must live in fear of racially motivated violence, harassment or intimidation. When Black people cannot move freely in the communities in which we all live, then our public spaces can never deliver on their promise of equitably benefiting all.
Each of us deserves a right to clean air, clean water, and access to nature for the health of ourselves and our communities. We stand in solidarity with the African American community against these tragic injustices, and we are committed to working with partners to ensure our shared public lands are safe and welcoming for Black Americans as well as for everyone.”
The Wilderness Society, founded in 1935, is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. With more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 111 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.
Kate Mackay, Senior Director, Communications Strategy, firstname.lastname@example.org.