To our valued community,
As our communities continue to struggle with poor air quality, wildfire danger due to climate change, and a tense upcoming election, we pause to acknowledge another big misstep in our social justice system with the egregious decisions recently made around Breonna Taylor’s murder, and the exoneration of the police officers responsible for her death. Here again, the reason is very clear why we are currently in a movement to declare Black Lives Matter, as well as “All Lives Can’t Matter If Black Lives Don’t Matter.”
OBCA stands in community with our Black and Brown communities in the wake of this news. We are saddened, and outright angered by this unjust decision around Breonna Taylor’s death, and recognize that we, as an organization, have a long way to go when it comes to social justice. Now is not the time to stop, scratch our heads, and ask “what can we do?” We ask our community to take necessary steps, big and small, that are valuable in the big picture.
Let’s not underestimate the power of our voices and those of us with voting privilege. The general election is still several weeks away, but we have a choice to effect change in our nation in this year’s election. We encourage our community to research and understand the national, state, and local candidates, especially Judges and District Attorneys who decide cases like Breonna Taylor’s. Make a plan of how and when you will vote. Find one person in your network that might not vote and get them to the ballots.
In this spirit, we are proud to have a team of 20 Outward Bound California, North Carolina Outward Bound School, and friends who participated in Womxn Run the Vote, logging 840 miles to raise funds to improve voting conditions in our Black and Brown communities. As well as a team of Ralliers in our Rally for Resilience focusing their efforts on encouraging and supporting people across the nation to register to vote.
We understand that as an organization, there are many other steps to be taken internally and externally beyond encouraging our community to vote. You can see updates on our progress toward centering equity in our organizational culture and strategy over the next year on this page. In this moment, we are deeply considering the ensuing protests and cries from our communities who are feeling hurt, unheard, unsafe, and frustrated. Let’s keep showing up until we are all heard and protected.
Be safe and take care.
Nettie and the Outward Bound California team
Our organization and staff are filled with grief and anger about the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and the senseless deaths of so many other Black Americans, including those killed by police during recent peaceful protests. We have not been leaders in this movement for change, and OBCA does not have a history of action in solidarity with black communities. We are a predominantly white-led organization and as we continue to grow in our allyship, speaking out against injustice and in support of communities of color is critical.
We are committed to continuing and expediting the ongoing work of truly being in solidarity with our Black, Indigenous, LGBTQ+ students, staff, and communities of color. We call on our white colleagues, donors, staff, and alumni families to join us by doing the same. Follow our social channels as we feature Black and POC leaders in the outdoor and educational space and share ways to take action.
- We are listening and working to amplify the voices of black and non-black people of color (POC) within our staff, alumni and student community through town halls and surveys
- We expanded our Leadership Team to include staff members in close contact to field staff and students to elevate their voices.
- We provided space for staff to process these events, reflect, and pledge to act during paid staff trainings
- We are taking steps to divest from vendors whose activities and investments do not align with our values or those of our staff and students
- We have raised funds to provide free rent and food for educators living in OBCA-provided housing while they are out of work during the pandemic
- We are actively revising our existing strategic plan around Equity and Inclusion.
And this is just the beginning. We stand behind this statement from Josh Brankman, Executive Director of Outward Bound USA, and are committed to do better and truly show up in the months and years to come.
Outward Bound California