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At the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, we recognize that diversity is an asset and we welcome people of all backgrounds regardless of race, religion, political affiliation, age, disability, veteran-status, socio-economic status, gender variance, or sexual identity. We are committed to making diversity and inclusion integral in our organizational structure, policies, board of directors, staff, strategic goals, and program delivery. The Alliance believes a broad base of participation and partners reflecting all of society is needed to be successful in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed restoration effort.
We at the Alliance commit to holding ourselves accountable to this statement and fostering a welcoming, inclusive experience at the Chesapeake Watershed Forum. However, every one of us has a role in creating an inclusive and safe environment. We hope those in attendance at the Chesapeake Watershed Forum join us in embracing the standards described below. These are living statements that we plan to share, discuss, and adapt over time in collaboration with our bay community. As such, we invite you to share your thoughts and reflections with us as you review them and move through the Forum. During the Forum, you can talk to a planning committee member or leave your comments in either of the suggestion boxes at the registration and Chesapeake Collective tables.
The Alliance believes a more diverse Forum improves the experience of all attendees. We strive for the Forum to look, feel, and sound like all of our Bay communities. We will work together to create an equitable, inclusive, and welcoming space for all.
We will all model change by committing to the principles listed in the JEDI Guide. Through our collective actions and decisions, we will respect and uplift one another in all the complexities of our identities, values, and beliefs. With the same mindset, the Forum planning committee is dedicated to creating an inclusive, accessible, and equitable space. For example, each year we work to increase representation from previously underrepresented communities through the Forum scholarship(s) and by utilizing the Demographic Survey data to more fully understand who is not at Forum.
The Forum is a valuable space to engage in rich discussions and learn from diverse perspectives. Active and engaged listening is an essential element of this function. As such, we will listen to our peers with the intent to understand, not respond. We will reflect on their ideas and ask clarifying questions as needed before responding. We will recognize when it is most appropriate to speak up and when we should step back to allow others to speak. We are aware of our voices and will quiet them if necessary to create space for our quieter colleagues to speak. We value learning from different standpoints, and we recognize that diverse perspectives create richer discussions, creative partnerships, and a more inclusive restorative environmental movement.
It takes courage and a willingness to be vulnerable when planning and presenting on sometimes challenging topics. We will be prompt in our arrival to sessions or speaking events, if we must be late, we will try to enter silently without disrupting the presentation. We are committed to being respectful of every presentation, experience, and story. We will contribute to the session and other Forum events, be that through networking, participation, thoughtful reflection, etc.
Conversations with those who have differing opinions than our own can be a powerful tool for strengthening connections and deepening shared understanding of a topic or issue. We will approach disagreements with mutual respect and curiosity. We agree to respectfully challenge the idea, not the person, and seek to understand their perspective by asking clarifying questions. When speaking, we will avoid casting blame or judgment, as honest and vulnerable conversations will create better outcomes. We commit to approaching disagreement with the goal of understanding sources of disagreement and working cooperatively toward a common solution.
As a community, we will work to keep each other safe by being mindful of COVID transmission and practicing COVID-safe behaviors. We acknowledge that each individual has their own comfort levels and needs related to COVID precautions. Therefore we will be respectful of one another’s personal boundaries and needs. Similarly, we will respectfully communicate our own boundaries and needs to others.
The Chesapeake Watershed Forum is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive environment for everyone. As such, we are dedicated to supporting all attendees so that they can fully participate in all Forum activities. On this page, we highlight information about accommodations available at the Forum, both through our programming and in the physical space at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC).
However, if you would benefit from resources not highlighted here, please contact Jenny McGarvey at email@example.com. We will do our best to get you what you need in order to engage fully in the Forum.
Here are the steps the Forum currently takes to create an accessible and inclusive environment for everyone:
Yes! The NCTC is able to accommodate a wide range of dietary restrictions. At every meal, there will be vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options available. All labels at the dining hall will highlight these options as well as common allergens. Please contact us if you need additional dietary accommodations.
Definitely! Although pets are not permitted at NCTC, service animals are welcome.
The Forum does not currently have a contract with interpretation providers. However, please reach out to Jenny McGarvey at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would need these services in order to attend.
The Forum does not offer childcare. Non-Forum attendees are discouraged from being onsite at NCTC. If you need to bring your children and another caregiver with you in order to attend, please contact Jenny McGarvey at email@example.com.
A lactation room with a mini fridge will be made available to breastfeeding parents in Instructional East. We can also have a mini fridge placed in your lodging room upon request. Non-Forum attendees are discouraged from being onsite at NCTC, however please reach out Jenny McGarvey at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would need to bring your children and/or another caregiver with you in order to attend.
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