The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery were perpetrated by others (including police officers), but we also bear responsibility and shame for the legacy of entrenched racism and bias in our government and society that has led to these killings and unacceptable violence against black people.
EPIC has been working on systemic change in our country's approach to the environment. For example, there are gross inequities in the delivery of clean drinking water to communities of color and these same inequities came to light in how the COVID pandemic has disproportionately harmed African Americans. At EPIC, we are redoubling our focus on creating fundamental, innovative change to the archaic or dysfunctional systems we see. Building new approaches is critical – approaches that work for all regardless of social status or race, but especially address the needs of disadvantaged communities. When we find a system failing, we must have the courage to make the necessary changes to the status quo and try a new path forward, together.
We don’t describe our past work to imply that our work to date is enough – social justice and environmental progress should be closely tied together but too often are not. We are recommitting ourselves to set tangible goals to help address racism and inequity. We are working now to come up with a set of goals that will keep us on a path toward social justice while pursuing environmental progress in our work and professional networks. We have and will continue to seek out and listen to the voices of those most marginalized by history and the recent present, and who should be at the center of the solutions to problems we hope to solve. Environmental progress hasn’t always been progress for all, but we intend to do our part to make it so.
Signed: Sachi, William, Olivia, Phoebe, Sri, Bartlett, Jake, and Tim