It must have taken great courage, the kind needed to overcome the natural fear of rejection and isolation, for the first woman and the first person of color invited to join the board of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks.
For one hundred years, from 1901 until 2001, those directing the work of the Association had been entirely white and mostly male. So had the boards and staffs of most environmental organizations in the Adirondacks, in the entire state and, I imagine, in the country. I hope we were all warm and welcoming of these courageous individuals when they first joined. Their experience and character made a difference.
The recent conference in Newcomb at the Adirondack Interpretive Center, “Toward a More Diverse Adirondacks,” brought the reality of courage, fear of rejection and isolation to everybody’s heart. It required everyone participating to re-examine assumptions. Many governmental and non-governmental organizations today applaud diversity and are trying to find ways to walk that talk and be more diverse. This recruitment is challenging, but what this conference made clear is that it is even harder to welcome, include, accept, and embrace difference. » Continue Reading.