Dear Friends of Living Earth,
Last week, we issued a social media statement regarding the murder of George Floyd and our standing by community allies that are advocating for justice. Though we meant it, I've come to understand that words mean nothing and in order to really become an ally in building a sustainable future for ALL, we must meet our words with action. A statement isn't enough. One of the beautiful things about our Community Garden is that it represents the rich diversity we have in Mankato. People have a physical space to grow their own food, plant some roots, and, we hope, to feel at home. We also collaborate with organizations that work hard to serve the marginalized members of our community. However, talking about our diversity needs to be more than a selling point or a badge of honor- it needs to be understood as an essential part of our identity and existence. Much like a healthy ecosystem, a healthy social system thrives with diversity to create balance. We recognize that our community is not healthy for all. Here are the ways in which we vow to be better for our black, brown, indigenous and marginalized brothers and sisters.
1) First and foremost to listen- to show up in solidarity and learn.
2) To vocally honor the the fact that our ability to have access to a beautiful common space is as a result of the forcible removal of indigenous people from the land.
3) Actively recruit People of Color to serve on our Board and in leadership positions not to fulfill a diversity checkbox and hear their voices, but to BECOME their voices.
3) Have hard conversations through specific events and programming about systemic racism both historic and present in our community and ask honest questions about how the Living Earth Center and its community can become part of the solution.
4) Add books and resources to our library written or produced by People of Color.
5) Be ok with being called out. Being ok to learn about our role in the problem. Being willing to adapt and learn some more.
We cannot have justice for the Earth until we have justice for ALL humans. The seeds of change must be cultivated and cared for. We are here. We are listening. We can do better. I welcome any suggestions.