The Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP) strongly condemns the centuries-old systems of institutional racism, oppression, and brutality perpetrated on Black lives. We echo the response of CSU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity that we must, “challenge and change systems of inequity that perpetuate anti-Blackness, racism, and bias within our university.” Just as we recognize that biodiversity is vitally important to the health of our planet and humanity, we equally and emphatically believe in the importance of human diversity and justice for the health and wellbeing of our planet and society.
CNHP endeavors to help build a healthier, more sustainable planet through biodiversity conservation by studying, protecting, and restoring the critical animals, plants, and ecosystems upon which present and future human generations rely. However, we as a program and as part of the broader conservation community need to do better at engaging, listening, and serving our Black, indigenous, people of color (BIPoC), and underserved community members. We acknowledge that our efforts to self-educate, own, and address our own biases are a life-long goal. We are taking pause at CNHP to reflect on the ways in which we must hold ourselves accountable and how we can step up to this call for action to more fully support our BIPoC community members. Over the coming months we will be facilitating conversations around race and conservation. We will be providing resources to our staff about anti-racist thought and behavior, intersectional environmentalism, and systemic racism. We recognize that our actions must be ongoing and we must continually educate ourselves and update our efforts. We are listening, empathizing, and committed to doing our part in this fight.