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NIA Statement on Antiracism

Tuesday, June 09, 2020 10:35 AM | Dave Durant (Administrator)

NIA Statement on Antiracism

We at the NIA are speaking today to express our solidarity with Black communities and our collective outrage at the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Dominique Clayton and the many that came before them. We acknowledge that we are a predominantly white organization and have benefitted from a system that oppresses Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color. In solidarity with our BIPOC coworkers and students, we as the white majority must engage in antiracism work at NOLS, on our courses, and in our daily lives, and demonstrate through our actions the unequivocal truth that Black lives matter. We recognize that joining this conversation at this stage is a demonstration of our privilege. 

NOLS faculty and staff are well-equipped to lead in this moment: we are trained to facilitate difficult conversations, to give and receive feedback, to listen well, to remain thoughtful under difficult circumstances, and to build teams that leave nobody behind. Our training comes with a responsibility to act. While some faculty center antiracism in their courses and daily lives, we also recognize that as individuals and as a school, we often fall short. NOLS and the outdoors are not inherently safe places for BIPOC, who continue to experience individual and institutional acts of racism. We have a responsibility to change that. 

We commit to continued engagement in antiracism work and self-education and implore our members to do the same, and to use our platforms as leadership educators to advance that work. The NIA calls on its members, and more specifically its white members, to take action to support BIPOC-led organizations working for racial justice with donations, membership, and volunteerism. The NIA has started a recurring monthly donation to Outdoor Afro as one step towards this work. We must take meaningful action beyond this statement to work toward making NOLS classrooms, locations, and offices safe for our BIPOC community.

In releasing this statement, we want to deeply thank everyone who has reached out to us in the past week, contributed to these words, and provided their thoughts, frustrations, and desired actions - this level of involvement from our members and followers makes it truly possible for the NIA to represent our base. We recognize that we are engaging in our own learning process and there will be mistakes and imperfections along the way, and we welcome continued engagement from each of you. Send us a message, email a board member, leave us a comment.

We also want to appreciate and acknowledge the many NIA members who are already taking concrete actions to work toward racial justice in their communities. As an organization and community, we have extraordinary potential for collective action. By employing our skills as leaders and looking paradox in the eye, we have the capacity to hold others accountable and work for a higher standard of understanding while also holding each other with compassion.

The President & Board of Directors of the NIA | June 9, 2020

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