by Margaret Levin and C. Scott Cooper
Throughout our 122-year history, the Sierra Club has played an important leadership role in our nation's environmental movement, and the North Star Chapter has mirrored this leadership since our founding over 45 years ago. However, despite our many accomplishments, we have so far failed to build a diverse, multicultural movement that is inclusive of people from all backgrounds.
There is growing clarity within the Sierra Club that we must make significant improvements in this area if we are to achieve our ambitious environmental goals. Further, we know that we must address this challenge not just to be more effective, but because it is the right thing to do.
In recognition of this, the North Star Chapter has committed to transforming ourselves into a multicultural, anti-racist organization that is working to eradicate all forms of oppression. Our updated Diversity Statement describes this commitment.
To pursue this ambitious goal, we have developed a chapter plan on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) that will integrate this priority into our core operating structure and processes. We invite you to review the executive summary here.
Through this plan, which we adopted at the end of last year, the North Star Chapter seeks to exemplify DEI work within the national Sierra Club, setting an example we hope many other chapters will follow. For us, this will be a “living and learning” document and we invite regular feedback from members, leaders and volunteer committees.
We know that our goal to become an inclusive, racially diverse organization is not only necessary but also broadly supported within the Chapter. But to be successful, it will also require change – to our structure, culture, norms, and leadership. We will need to leave our “comfort zones” and be open to new practices, places, ideas and allies. This change will not always be easy, but it is imperative and will bring great rewards.
We would especially appreciate your ideas for how your committee, team or campaign can help to advance these goals.
If you are interested in helping to get the word out about this effort, and in helping us plan upcoming trainings and educational opportunities, please email email@example.com to sign up!
On behalf of the North Star Chapter’s volunteer leadership and staff, we look forward to working with all of you during this exciting transformation, and together making the Sierra Club all that it can be.
Margaret Levin is State Director of the North Star Chapter. C. Scott Cooper is Chair of the Executive Committee.