Dear Illinois Green Community,
We mourn the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless innocent Black and Brown Men and Women that have long suffered socio-economic and racial injustices. We condemn the systemic racism that contributes to disproportionate targeting of community members affected by violent policing, inequitable community services, and degraded environments.
We firmly attach environmental sustainability to social justice. We believe that all communities have fundamental rights to food, transportation, healthcare, healthy buildings, clean air, and safe water.
We understand that if one neighborhood does not benefit from safe streets and the general wellbeing of its residents, then the entire population is at risk. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In a real sense all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
We are committed to ensuring our organization exemplifies equity, diversity, and inclusion, from its board of directors, staff, and constituents. We will continue to engage with our partners, allies, community members, donors, and others to ensure our mission and strategy are equitable, inclusive, and just.
We stand firm in our commitment to engage, empower, and educate our constituents in driving solutions that ensure green buildings and sustainabile communities for all. We will continue to ensure programming, events, and educational forums include all the voices in our community, regardless of gender, race, religion, and socio-economic status.
We can and will make more considerable efforts to remove barriers. To do so, this journey must start with how we as an organization act. Over the past three years, we have taken several steps to increase our awareness and put actions in place that fight against structures of systemic inequities, privilege, and racial disparity.
In 2018, the Illinois Green Alliance revised bylaws and Board of Directors structure, codifying an equity, diversity, and inclusion mandate and committee, which includes oversight representation from outside the organization. These revisions require the Board of Directors to appoint Board Members that bring ethnic diversity. Social justice training was held to practice active listening on anti-oppression, bias, and inter-group dialogue skills tailored to support the organization in developing and maintaining meaningful and long-lasting community partnerships.
In 2019, we held a roundtable discussion with several diversity and inclusion leaders that serve our community, such as the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE), Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA), Chicago Housing Authority, Corporate Organizations like Barilla, CAIR, a not for profit Muslim civil rights organization and advocacy group, and the Greater Roseland Chamber of Commerce. The roundtable offered Illinois Green and its constituents an opportunity to have intimate, candid conversations about diversity and inclusion with subject matter experts.
Presently, we have partnered with Inclusion and Beyond, a diversity and inclusion consulting company to evaluate intercultural competency for each board of directors and staff members, and the organization at large.
Despite these efforts, we recognize this is not enough. We are committing ourselves to be transparent and self-critical to do more and be better. This year we are committed to improve as an organization, and to move beyond the awareness phase and into meaningful transformation by:
Continuing to build meaningful relationships across the City of Chicago to ensure we are serving adequately and meeting the needs of each community. We have committed to being transparent with our reach and are Mapping Our Impact.
Establishing guiding principles to increase accountability around equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts to serve as our compass.
Completing an Intercultural Development Inventory designed to build intercultural competence that will serve as an Organizational Roadmap.
Developing diversity and inclusion metrics to evaluate organizational progress and communicating our efforts more broadly.
Releasing our first diversity survey to establish a baseline and track the vast representation of our constituents.
Planning a public forum on equity, diversity, and inclusion with subject matter experts to expand the conversation.
Expanding our philanthropic pursuits to operationalize equity, diversity, and inclusion within our organization, and to serve our neighborhoods better.
We hope you’ll join us as we strive to take actionable steps to drive sustainable change in our organization and our communities.
More immediately, we hope you’ll take action today by supporting organizations who are on the front lines. Below are a few external resources and organizations that you can support to make a difference.
- Black Lives Matter Chicago
- Black Lives Matter – Additional Resources
- Southside Together Organizing for Power
- Westside Justice Center
- My Block My Hood My City
- Brave Space Alliance
- Greater Roseland Chamber of Commerce
- I Grow Chicago
- Chicago Freedom School
Local Environmental Groups:
- BIG: Blacks in Green
- Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
- Southeast Environmental Task Force
- Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reforms Organization
- People for Community Recovery
- HACE (Organization)
- I-NOMA (Organization)
- HACIA (Organization)
- Environmentalists of Color (Organization)
- Systemic Racism Explained (Short Video)
- 18 Books on Race and White Privilege (Article)
- Ibram X. Kendi Antiracism Center (Organization & Book)
- How to Have Difficult Conversations at Work (Article)
- Leading Difficult Staff Conversations About Race (Article)
- Code Switch (Podcast)
Project Implicit (Organization & Project)
The Illinois Green Alliance Board of Directors