Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
The Student Section of the Society of Wetland Scientists is outraged by the violence against Black people in the United States. The murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the organization of Black Birders Week in response to the racist incident in Central Park, and the countless other instances of state and individual violence against Black people have brought into clear focus the dangers our Black colleagues and peers face, even in the natural spaces we hold dear and central to our work. This is not a new phenomenon, and enough is enough. We stand with you because Black Lives Matter.
Wetlands are among the most productive systems on earth, and much of this productivity is attributable to the diversity of life they support. The Student Section has thus centered the value of diversity in our efforts since our formation. Our mission is to promote wetland science inclusion and equity. Although our Strategic Plan includes several key objectives to increase outreach and opportunity for students at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, we MUST, CAN, and WILL do more.
Effective immediately, we are amending our strategic plan to more accurately reflect our commitment to making wetlands - and all spaces, actual and virtual - safe for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We are rolling out a monthly feature of Black wetland professionals and students across our social media platforms to increase visibility and representation in pursuit of intergenerational equity in the wetland sciences. We commit ourselves to uphold the standards we have used in building our current team of leaders as we look to the future by formalizing our recruitment approach in our strategic plan. We will refrain from hosting Student Section events in cities where our BIPOC colleagues are threatened by a history of racial aggression, and use our position on the board to oppose proposals to host annual meetings in these locations. As a recognized section of the Society of Wetland Scientists, we will pursue every opportunity to embed students, representing more diverse backgrounds, at every level of leadership and decision making to address systemic barriers to Black and POC communities entering the Society of Wetland Scientists.
This will be an ongoing, iterative process. We commit ourselves to having uncomfortable conversations, today and every day, to build a student community of wetland scientists that can continue to dismantle systems of oppression as they enter the workforce. And we will NOT tolerate any attempts to silence or oppress our Black colleagues. We invite you to correct us, to contribute, and to join us on this journey to reclaim wetlands for all people.
Realigned Strategic Plan
Last summer, we committed to revisiting our strategic plan to ensure all section operations were aligned with our mission and broader equity goals. Over a 6 month period, we brought together a diverse group of student section leaders and members to create this new document to guide our work for the next few years.
Joint Statement on Anti-Racism
For nearly a year, student leaders across various scientific societies collaborated to develop a Joint Statement on Anti-Racism in Scientific Societies. Now it's time for members like you to lend your support to these efforts by committing to pursuing concerted action to dismantle structural barriers to participation and leadership by people of color in scientific societies.