Our Commitment to All Chesapeake Bay Communities
The mission of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is to bring together communities, companies, and conservationists to improve our lands and waters. As an organization, we know we must do a better job of addressing social injustices through our work to restore our Watershed. The Alliance has taken purposeful steps to raise awareness around and address diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice issues and opportunities internally for several years. These are the Alliance’s commitments to our staff, partners, and constituents to continue to advance these efforts in the immediate future.
- In January 2017, our Board of Directors adopted a Resolution on Building a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion. This Resolution led to the Alliance establishing a staff-led Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) team that same year, with the full support of the Alliance’s leadership and our Board of Directors. Our DEIJ team’s endeavors will continue to expand and be instrumental in:
- Additional training related to an internal culture that promotes equitable, diverse, and inclusive outcomes and actions for all staff.
- Reviewing and providing feedback on three standing critical policy documents that govern the Alliance’s employees and are key to onboarding new staff: Expectations of Staff, Procurement Guidelines and Policies, and what will be an overhauled Alliance Personnel Manual.
- Establishment of a DEIJ handbook for all staff in order to educate and guide best practices that Alliance employees can implement in their everyday work environment.
- Engaging leadership and hiring managers to ensure job postings provide language reflective of the inclusive multicultural organization the Alliance aspires to be.
- Working directly with the Alliance’s Communications team to maintain regular updates regarding actions the organization is taking in order to keep our partners and supporters knowledgeable of our stance, and to lift the voice of others, specifically Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
- In May of 2020, the Alliance’s Board of Directors formalized their support of the DEIJ team by establishing a Board Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Committee by unanimous resolution. The Board is committed to supporting these efforts at the staff level, as well as throughout Board initiatives and campaigns.
- Over the past 5 years, our annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum has incorporated diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) practices to enhance participant’s Forum experience. The Forum is the Alliance’s most widely attended annual event, with participants from various stakeholder groups throughout the Watershed. This fall, the Alliance will continue to broaden these DEIJ efforts by:
- Expansion of the Chesapeake Collective, a platform that celebrates our watershed-wide diversity as a source of strength and provides a foundation for a social movement to help meet our collective restoration goals.
- Developing a DEIJ Guide for all participants, which sets expectations and accountability for the planning committee and attendees to improve the experience for all participants.
- Building upon our Demographic survey, initiated in 2015 to help our planning team make the Forum a more inclusive event.
These are only the latest actions we are taking and have more work to do. Our team is continuing to formalize long-term commitments in this vein as they relate to our organization and programming. The Alliance would like to thank a few of our many partners assisting us on our own organizational learning journey, including the Choose Clean Water Coalition, Lillie Leaf Solutions, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust. It will take all of us in the Chesapeake Bay environmental movement to break down the historically dominant barriers and systems that perpetuate inequality and environmental justice challenges in our diverse communities.
We look forward to continuing to work with you, our partners, and our supporters to ensure that our collective vision of “clean streams and rivers flowing through resilient landscapes, cared for by the people who live, work, and play in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” is accomplished in a more diverse, inclusive, equitable, and just environmental movement. We are here, we are listening, we are learning.