Racial Justice is Environmental Justice

A message from the California Urban Forests Council

We have reached the tipping point. The American (and global) public is challenging long-standing social inequities, triggered by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and untold others. Violence is a public health problem unleashed by fear, anxiety, and anger. A symptom of centuries of self-righteousness, hate, ignorance, oppression, and discrimination has manifested in the unequal treatment of our fellow human beings.

We must embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. We, at CaUFC, struggle with shame and aversion while attempting to recognize the everyday hurdles black people face, living in a system stacked against them. We want to know more and do more. We want to build a more solid bridge toward a social contract focused on health and well-being. Racial justice is environmental justice. Black Lives Matter. We are an ally.

CaUFC is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting urban and community forestry to improve the quality of life in California’s communities. We achieve this through education and outreach, and tree planting programs addressing public, economic, and environmental health. Much of our community-based work happens in under-resourced neighborhoods, in partnerships with the residents. In these areas, mature or healthy tree canopies are sorely absent. It is in these places where new trees become symbolic as a catalyst for change in the present and new opportunities in the future. Everyone is entitled to all the benefits that nature affords – no matter what their zip code.

Yet we can do more and better. We are currently examining our purpose and our strategies to demonstrate our dedication further. We are in the midst of meaningful and sometimes difficult conversations. We need to listen – to transform and support the communities we serve.

Something special happens within human connections and relationships when we endeavor to recognize and understand one another. The California Urban Forests Council is all about trees – all about the benefits that trees bring to the residents who live with them, and with each other. We are all connected. We all need to pull in the same direction for the greater good. We will promote action. We all need thriving, healthy green communities. Change is upon us.

The California Urban Forests Council
Board of Directors and Staff