The Violence in Silence

By Keia Booker, Senior HR & Equity Manager

BIack, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) have felt the violence of silence for centuries. Envision racism as a fire whose flames have been stoked for too long—not only by violent oppressors, but by the breath of individuals and institutions that have remained silent against racism, slowly and almost effortlessly breathing life into it. The environmental movement, too, has gathered around that fire, and at times even stood up to add another log.

A photo of Keia Booker in the outdoors
Keia Booker, Senior HR & Equity Manager

The fire of racism serves only to destroy, dehumanize, and engulf us ALL, including those who have sat silently watching that fire or even benefited from its warmth. Right now, that fire is out of control and threatening to burn everything in its path. We all have a responsibility to stamp out every flame, ember, and spark. Now is the time for us to snuff it out.

As many Indigenous communities have told us, fire also brings renewal, and what comes out of the ashes can be a cleansing rebirth with new growth and ideas. Start in your sphere of influence. Demand of yourself and others to uplift BIPOC voices by listening and making space for their leadership. Seek out opportunities to advance and fund Diversity, Equity & Inclusion work, and find ways to fulfill the BIPOC community’s requests and demands to be heard and valued. Educate yourself on the beautiful array of BIPOC histories and talents that have helped shape this country and the environmental movement.

And tell Bird Alliance of Oregon that you value the voices, breadth of knowledge, and tireless work that BIPOC environmentalists bring to the work of conservation across the globe and right here in our own backyard.