The work of self-examination, learning, relearning, and forging a path of action toward the goal of a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive conservation movement is the work of lifetimes.
Many Maine land trusts have begun to think about equity in their work, and some are making progress! Without a doubt, however, a commitment to continuous and ongoing effort is required. In this final part of our three-part series, we will focus on some ways you can keep the momentum going as you wrestle with and find hope in the process.
Find an affinity group that helps you feel you’re not doing this work alone.
The benefit of finding other people and organizations who are committed to this work with whom you can share ideas, frustrations, successes, and learnings is invaluable. Providing those opportunities for Maine land trusts will continue to be a priority for the Maine Land Trust Network but there are many other opportunities for camaraderie and community in Maine and beyond. Find a group with whom you have an affinity and make a commitment to actively participate in it. Here are a few groups and initiatives we know of.
- Maine Environmental Education Association Changemakers Beyond Statements – These monthly interactive meetings are open to anyone looking for support as they work to find a path of action that will take them beyond just statements at their organizations. Sign up for the zoom meetings here.
- Relearning Place Program – The Relearning Place Program is a collaborative initiative consisting of a diverse group of intergenerational individuals, which promotes the cross-pollination of ideas from new and old ways of thinking and learning related to land, place and people.
- Wabanaki REACH – Many land trusts (and other groups and nonprofits!) are interested in connecting with the Wabanaki tribes of Maine to explore potential partnerships. They do not have the capacity to respond to all the requests they receive, so please take advantage of the programs that are offered to the general public, such as programs and events offered by Wabanaki REACH. To continue your own learning, visit the First Light Learning Journey Resource Page.
- There are also regional groups you can join, such as the Midcoast Indigenous Awareness Group.
If you’ve made a start, don’t stop! Keep challenging yourself and your organization to move forward.
If you have already started a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee (or something similar) at your organization, we have provided some good resources to help you think, work, and grow together in our Episode 1 and Episode 2 posts. When you’re ready to go farther, here are a few additional resources that are more advanced.
- The Diversity Gap – Book, Podcast, and Workshop
- Up with Community Ideas to Action Field Guide
- Dismantling Racism Workbook
If you get stuck, reach out.
If you reach a point where you are feeling stuck or you run into an obstacle that is giving you trouble, reach out to someone you trust in this community. Several members of our work group are very happy to speak with you, or maybe you connected with someone in our breakout groups during the zoom meetings.
The important thing is to keep thinking, talking, and building relationships with others so that we can all support each other and keep the conversation going.
Learn from other groups who are ahead of you on the path.
On November 10th, we were so grateful to be joined at our MLTN DEI Community Conversation by Matt Prindiville of Upstream, a public-benefit nonprofit that helps businesses and communities shift from single-use to reuse. Matt and Upstream operate right here in Maine and they have been dedicated to shifting their work culture and practice as they travel their personal and professional journey toward anti-racism. You can watch the recording of the MLTN interview here. You can also listen to a longer podcast posted on the Upstream website here.