Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Accessibility (DEIJA) Mission Statement
Protecting clean water for everyone is at the core of our mission. We protect clean water so the Bay and the people of southeastern Massachusetts can thrive.
However, we realize that not everyone who lives in our region experiences their local environment the same way. Too many are disconnected from our waters and natural areas. We want everyone to feel connected to and welcome on the Bay and in the watershed.
Advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and accessibility (DEIJA) in everything we do is fundamental if we are to succeed at saving Buzzards Bay. In the days and years ahead, we will:
• create programs that reach people in their communities;
• advocate for clean water and access for all;
• open new conservation areas and outdoor exploration facilities and manage those already in our care for the benefit of all,
• endeavor always to reflect the region we serve through our board governance and staff recruitment practices.
The Buzzards Bay Coalition is committed to removing barriers to equitable access and acknowledging the privileges that prevent all people who live in our region from benefiting from the natural world around us.
We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences with us so that we can improve at providing equal opportunities for all to connect with Buzzards Bay and its watershed lands. We are listening.
Why is DEIJA Important for the Buzzards Bay Coalition?
1. It’s has always been part of our Mission Statement, which reads, “The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection, and sustainable use and enjoyment of our irreplaceable Bay and its watershed. The Coalition works to improve the health of the Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy”. But, ‘for all” is undefined and deserves explanation to assure everyone that they are recognized and valued as part of BBC’s purpose and programs.
2. The watershed population of Buzzards Bay in the future will be majority Non-White: The people who live around Buzzards Bay will be much more diverse in the future than they are today. While most Bay communities are comprised of >90% white populations, that figure fell by 4.7% between 2010-2020 and that trend is accelerating. If people of color are not connected to the Bay, they will not value and protect it – that is a central pillar of BBC’s approach to Bay stewardship. Now is the time to bring more diverse populations into conservation in our region.
3. Some areas of the Bay today are already more diverse and are less connected: People today in New Bedford and Wareham are more diverse and they are less connected to the Bay. New Bedford is now just over half White (57%) and the Latino/Latina community has grown quickly to 26% of the city in recent decades.
4. New Bedford’s low-income and more diverse population continues to suffer greater environmental harm that other people who live on the Bay due to toxic pollution, loss of greenspace, etc. BBC should acknowledge historical and current disparities in access to healthy natural resources, work to understand how environmental racism has impacted people on Buzzards Bay, and discuss what the organization can do to fight against this.
5. Acknowledgement and support of the Bay’s native people: Our service area overlaps entirely with the ancestral homeland of the Wampanoag people, who have suffered land loss and discrimination and who continue to use and value the Bay as an integral part of their culture and community.
6. Like the ecology of the Bay itself, diversity in nature and society makes us stronger. Adding diverse perspectives is important so we can explore different paths and lines of thinking we may otherwise not have considered, thereby helping to ensure that our decision-making and strategic planning are well-informed and effective.