Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice

Arlene Guzman and son Ronald plant a tree diversity page 1171x593

Clean water and a healthy environment are important for all. At CBF we engage with citizens from all walks of life to make our neighborhoods and watersheds healthier places to live.

Kevin and Janet Spence

Just as biodiversity is the key to a thriving ecosystem, human diversity is the key to saving the Bay. Success depends on people from widely diverse backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, identities, and races taking collective action. Clean water, clean air, and a safe environment are rights we all share.

Our watershed is shared by more than 18 million people, and it is more diverse than ever. Why does this matter for CBF? Put simply, we believe everyone has the right to clean water and a saved Bay where they can live, work, and play safely. Unfortunately, not everyone experiences this privilege.

That’s why we’re committed to intentionally increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in our own organization and throughout the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort.

Intolerance and hate make saving the Bay harder. They destroy the collective spirit and social fabric that are absolutely essential to implement the scale and scope of efforts necessary to reduce pollution and restore the Bay. They also undermine why we are saving the Bay. Our work for clean water is focused on improving the health and well-being of our communities—clean water means little if its benefits are only reserved for a few.

We know it’s not enough to just have empathy for those who experience intolerance, hate, and systemic barriers to their well-being. We’re committed to making the changes we want to see, starting with our own organization.

To increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will:

  • Recruit and retain a staff, board, and membership that reflect the diversity of people living within the Chesapeake Bay region;
  • Strengthen and broaden the diversity of our partnerships;
  • Celebrate and value the diversity of staff; and
  • Fight to ensure that everyone has equal access to clean water, clean air, and a safe environment.

What Do We Mean When We Say Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice?

Diversity: The vast array of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, cultures, perspectives, incomes, and countless other characteristics that make the more than 18 million people who live in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed unique as communities and individuals.

Equity: Recognizing that these differences shape how we experience the world and the watershed, including systemic advantages or barriers in accessing resources and opportunities—for example, access to clean water and air, green spaces, environmental education, careers in science and environmental organizations, and participation in public decision-making processes, to name a few—and intentionally making resources and opportunities available to everyone according to their need so each person has a fair chance to thrive.

Inclusion: Ensuring a sense of belonging, value, safety, and respect for all. This means actively and meaningfully engaging, celebrating, and amplifying the voices, perspectives, and needs of those who, due to their identities, have been systemically excluded from and underrepresented in the decision-making processes, institutions, and civic movements affecting the environmental and social well-being of their communities.

Justice: Working actively to stop environmental injustices that cause disproportionate pollution and harm to the watershed’s communities of color and those that are economically under-resourced, dismantle unfair systems, and support communities to lead and participate in the decision-making processes that affect their environmental and social well-being.

CBF Stands Against Racism and Violence

April 2021 Statement in Response to Conviction of Derek Chauvin

“A glimmer of justice now shines for George Floyd and for all who have suffered systemic racial oppression. Actions matter, voices matter, and accountability for the administration of racial justice must be held.

“Like saving the Bay, true racial justice is achievable only through collective action.

“Clean air, clean water, and a life without fear of violence are rights we all share. We must all continue to raise our voices for racial justice.”
~Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow, Board Chair
Will Baker, President

June 2020 Statement in Response to the Death of George Floyd

“Clean air, clean water, and a safe environment are rights we all share. Violence against people destroys any semblance of a safe environment. The most basic human right is the right to live. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation stands in protest to violence against people of any race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or identity. Racism, intolerance, and bigotry have no place in a civilized society. We must all raise our voices for justice.”
~Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow, Board Chair
Will Baker, President

Racism Hurts the Bay

Blog Post June 5, 2020
Racism makes saving the Bay harder. It destroys the collective spirit and social fabric that is absolutely essential to implement the scale and scope of efforts necessary to reduce pollution and restore the Bay. More importantly, racism undermines why we are saving the Bay. Clean water improves the health and wellbeing of our communities. Racism destroys our communities. Clean water means little when its benefits are only reserved for a few.

We know it’s not enough to just have empathy for those who experience racism and live with its legacy every day. In our own organization, we have made commitments to make the changes we want to see. We are taking steps, but we have a long way to go.
Read the full blog post

Environmental Justice

CBF is engaged in a multitude of efforts to ensure that communities of people of color or lower income residents aren't disproportionately harmed by pollution and other environmental threats.
Find out more

Equity and Inclusion In Action

Following are a few stories about how we are putting our beliefs into action in our local communities.

  • A Residential Security map of Richmond is colored green, blue, yellow, and red.

    Formerly Redlined Areas of Richmond Are Going Green

    Excessive heat, discriminative housing practices, and trees are three things that may not immediately seem connected, but in Richmond, Virginia, their connection is coming to light.

  • CBF's Jay Ford starts the webinar

    Clean Water is a Right: Equity and Environmental Justice Around the Bay

    In this webinar, CBF staff and a panel of elected leaders and community advocates offer their perspectives on recent environmental justice victories around the Bay watershed. They also discuss where this critical conversation needs to go in the coming years.

  • Three volunteers hold boxes of fresh green beans and greens.

    From the Ground Up

    For more than 40 years, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Clagett Farm has provided free, fresh produce to people living in poverty and near-poverty in Washington, D.C. The project, a collaboration with Capital Area Food Bank, blends local, sustainable organic agriculture with social justice. CBF calls the program, "From the Ground Up."

  • CBF staff in t-shirts bearing the CBF logo and Pride rainbow walk in the parade.

    CBF has Pride

    CBF is honored to be a sponsor of Annapolis Pride since its inception. Join us in the 2019 Pride parade.

  • Dozens of residents wave and display their oyster gardening cages on a pier in Baltimore.

    The Great Baltimore Oyster Partnership

    The Partnership was created to connect the Baltimore business community and residents to their Harbor in ways that engage and inspire stewardship for the local waterway, wildlife and Chesapeake Bay restoration. There are many barriers associated with accessibility to the water; including transportation, awareness and overall acceptance. By connecting residents to their Harbor through hands on restoration connections are made to what was previously perceived as a lifeless environment.

  • A man and woman laugh while planting a tree.

    Expanding Urban Tree Canopy and Green Infrastructure

    CBF's Hopewell Restoration Project is adding important green infrastructure practices to Hopewell's environs to reduce flooding and polluted runoff, and create additional green space for its more than 23,000 diverse residents.

  • Latina students empty a bushel of oyster shells containing baby spat over the side of a CBF education vessel.

    Latina STEM Participants Get Introduced to the Chesapeake Bay

    Two students in the Pathways to Science program, twins Keyli and Jalyn Jimenez Garcia, share their CBF summer education experience.

  • Black youngsters dash across the sandy beach of CBF's Brock Environmental Center.

    Summertime Learning, Brock Center Style

    Students from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds spent summer days at CBF's Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach. The students were participants in An Achievable Dream, Pathways to Science, and The Virginia Wesleyan Environmental Institute’s Summer Scholars programs.

  • A couple dances in the street while others clap and gather infront of a music stage.

    Speaking the Bay's Language

    Dr. Lorelly Solano moved to Maryland from Costa Rica in 2008 to study green infrastructure in graduate school. Now she's sharing her passion for the Bay and the environment with a new generation of immigrants and Spanish-speaking citizens on the Eastern Shore.

  • CBF Educator Rick Mittler rigs rods on a fishing trip with Richmond, Virginia Hispanic leaders.

    Heaven on Herring Creek

    Out on the water, it seems like a magic moment could always lie just around the bend. Kenny Fletcher shares his day fishing with Richmond Hispanic leaders on Virginia's Herring Creek.

The Bay Needs You

The 2020 State of the Bay Report makes it clear that the Bay needs our support now more than ever. Your donation helps the Chesapeake Bay Foundation maintain our momentum toward a restored Bay, rivers, and streams for today and generations to come.

Donate Today

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