Orange County Coastkeeper believes that all people have a right to safe, accessible, affordable, fishable, swimmable, and drinkable water. We are committed to creating a community where we can all enjoy our most precious natural resource.
We’ve done a lot in 21 years to protect Orange County’s waters – and there’s one thing we can do better: be more representative and inclusive of the diverse Orange County communities. Diversity to us means welcoming all cultures and backgrounds and offering opportunities to include all people in the fight for clean water.
At Coastkeeper, we acknowledge the systemic issues that disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in our region. These systems have created barriers that limit access to our local natural spaces and the leadership roles that help to protect them. These barriers also limit access to meaningful experiences in these natural spaces and make it so BIPOC communities are being disproportionately affected by pollution issues.
While we have focused on eliminating these barriers through our education, advocacy, and legal programs, now is time for us to be more strategic in our work to establish greater inclusivity in our programs, the people they serve, and our leadership.
To accomplish this, we have developed a diversity plan and timeline which we will carry out over the next year to guide our effort, hold ourselves accountable, and have tangible milestones. We will focus our efforts on three areas:
- LEARN: Provide and lead all staff and board members to complete Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion trainings that will help guide our intentions and strategies to ensure true equity and inclusion in our programs and organization.
- ACT: Evaluate our bylaws, and employee and intern requirements to ensure that the qualifications match our recruitment goals and do not act as barriers:
- Begin by electing diverse board members.
- Follow with new staff opportunities
- ENGAGE: Collaborate and partner with various environmental justice and other organizations that represent the diversity of Orange County and the surrounding region.
If you would like to join Coastkeeper in our fight for clean water for all, please consider joining as a member by either volunteering or donating to our organization. We all need clean water to survive, and more importantly, we all deserve access to clean water as a human right.
Let’s get to work.
Photo Credits to David Ohman