The Board of Directors of Conservation Corps North Bay (“CCNB”) could not be prouder of our corpsmembers during the COVID 19 crisis. Our enthusiastic and committed corpsmembers have remained deployed and working (with safety protocols in place) in our community serving food pantries, working on wildfire prevention and conservation projects, improving and maintaining the very trails and outdoor spaces we have been using to escape the tedium of being sheltered in our homes. Our corpsmembers have embraced this role with courage and responsibility, all the while coping with their own personal challenges.
One of these challenges that many of our corpsmembers face on a daily basis is racism, which ranges from racist micro-aggressions to the burden of navigating systemic racism which permeates every institution of our society. CCNB works hard to support our corpsmembers in facing these challenges, with providing them a job, an opportunity to obtain their diploma, job skills training, career development, a sense of community and stability, and safe space to learn the importance of the diversity of our corpsmembers. 49% of the young people we serve are Hispanic or Latino, 17% are Multiracial, 10% are Black, 2% are Asian-American, and 1% are American Indian or Alaska Native.
While CCNB’s support in this regard is important to our corpsmembers’ success, it will not by itself end systemic racism. CCNB was painfully reminded of this reality recently when one of our on-duty crews was subjected to a racially charged incident involving a member of the public confronting our crew while they were working onsite.
This incident in the midst of the renewed energy of the Black Lives Movement has caused CCNB’s board and leadership to contemplate how to confront the problem of systemic racism and help our community be accountable. To do so, we are asking you to join us in taking the first step in addressing this problem by making an intentional and personal effort to seek a deeper knowledge of racism and white privilege. Please review and utilize the resources in the below link to support you and your local community in this critical step.
For decades our corpsmembers have been among some of the most important contributors to this community and they are stepping up again to face the present challenges when they are most needed. As their fellow community members, we are obligated to stand up to racism, hold our community accountable and support systemic change to ensure that all persons are fully included.
Finally, the CCNB Board is also reevaluating CCNB’s relationships with other organizations to address concerns about their commitments to understanding and confronting racism and its related systems in the areas we serve. We strongly encourage you to do this too as it is an important way to hold our community accountable, bring the change we seek, begin the work of confronting the injustice and consequences of systemic racism, and move towards its dismantling and a more just and equitable society.
We are looking forward to you joining with us in doing this important work.
The Board of Directors
Conservation Corps North Bay