Together we can make a change.

As a part of the environmental community, OCCA and its staff express profound grief at the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. Systemic racism remains to be an ongoing blight in our country, and it is incumbent upon all of us to change this. The first step is to look at ourselves.

The recent event in Central Park illustrates the barriers that prevent members of minority communities from enjoying the outdoors without fear of harassment, detainment, or worse.  As an organization, it is our firm belief that the outdoors should be enjoyed equally by people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.

Environmental Racism and prejudicial land use policies have been long standing institutions in our country and as an organization we will fight against these institutions as part of our mission. OCCA is committed to incorporating diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice concepts in our day-to-day activities protecting the natural world. We aim for equal representation in the enjoyment of nature, environmental protection and advocacy.

Collectively, we must continue to learn about and understand inherent biases within ourselves before we can change our organizations and our greater world.  We all have our perspective of the world and continuing to educate ourselves about other’s perspectives can only improve our understanding.

As a board and staff, we are taking action. First by exploring our own biases and educating ourselves, then by taking actions, individually and as an collective organization to do our part in changing this world to be more just, inclusive and fair. 

We want to share this with you as part of our OCCA community. We would like to share some resources from one of our partner organizations, the Choose Clean Water Coalition to help us reach our goals of change. The resources provided are here to help us learn, understand and take action and share with others who want to deepen their understanding of how they can help make the world a better place.  We invite you to join us in this reflection and self-education.   

Please use these resources provided to continue to educate yourself and share with others how we can work together toward a more equitable world and a diverse representation in the environmental sector.

In solidarity, 

Amy Wyant, Jeff O’Handley, Danny Lapin, Patricia Seybolt, Donna Vogler, Vicky Lentz, John Gourlay, Scott Fickbohm, Jim Hill, Keith Brunstad, Eva Davy, Herbert Marx, Trish Kent, Molly Swain, Steve Zerby, Sue Kenny

Here Is What You Can Do Today

  1. Start with yourself. Do your own internal reflection and assessment with an implicit bias test. ( Click here to take the test- needs to be taken on a computer
  2. Explore and use anti-racist resources, like this one.

Calls To Action:

  1. Make a personal donation of your time or money to an anti-racism organization.
  2. Patronize black and minority-owned businesses and restaurants in your area.
  3. Make sure you are registered to vote.
  4. Be sure you voice is heard, VOTE in local, state and federal elections.

How You Can Help Protect Our Local Environment

Donations provide the foundation for our work throughout Otsego County. By becoming a supporter of OCCA, you become a part of a unique countywide environmental organization whose mission is to protect local natural resources for the benefit of all. 

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