Inclusion

Standing Up To Racism

As an organization of birdwatchers and bird lovers, the Bruin Audubon Society and Birding Club deeply believes in the power of birds for bringing people together as a community, for stimulating conversations, and for cherishing diversity. We believe that engaging with the outdoors and birdwatching should be safe and accessible to all, and that much work needs to be done to achieve this.

As an Audubon student chapter, we stand with this statement from the National Audubon Society: “Black Americans often face terrible daily dangers in outdoor spaces, where they are subjected to unwarranted suspicion, confrontation, and violence. The outdoors – and the joy of birds – should be safe and welcoming for all people. That’s the reality Audubon and our partners are working hard to achieve. We unequivocally condemn racist sentiments, behavior, and systems that undermine the humanity, rights, and freedom of Black people. We are grateful Christian Cooper is safe. He takes great delight in sharing New York City’s birds with others and serves as a board member of the New York City Audubon Society, where he promotes conservation of New York City’s outdoor spaces and inclusion of all people.”

We also emphasize this message from the National Wildlife Federation: "None of our work in support of people and wildlife will matter if everyone cannot safely go outdoors, none of our work to restore our public lands will matter if everyone cannot safely make it to the trailhead, and none of our work to secure cleaner air and water matters when Black men and women are dying in the streets.”

The Bruin Birding Club condemns all forms of racism, and we are deeply saddened and outraged by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black Americans targeted by senseless acts of racism. We stand in solidarity with the protests against the systemic racism and police brutality that has long plagued this country. We are grateful for the work of countless community leaders speaking out against the violence and injustice against Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color, and who call for much needed change.

We are also committed to taking an active role in addressing the issues of diversity in and access to birding and the outdoors, as well as in dismantling the racist structures that permeate our society and institution. We plan to do this by:

  • Cultivating a culture of inclusion and awareness in our organization

  • Speaking out against acts of discrimination and violence within and outside of our organization

  • Recognizing and highlighting the contributions of Black scientists, birders, and conservationists to the birding community and wildlife ecology

  • Reaching out to the Afrikan Student Union and other UCLA student organizations to co-host events that encourage and celebrate BIPOC members in the birding community

  • Organizing events during Latino Conservation Week to support local conservation efforts and provide fun and safe opportunities for Latinx families to access the outdoors, in collaboration with local Latinx community leaders

  • Supporting calls to demilitarize UCPD and for the University of California to cut ties with police departments

We welcome you to participate in these activities and encourage you to reach out if you have any ideas for how the Bruin Birding Club can build constructive conversations and make the joys of birding available to people of all backgrounds. You are a valued member of our community united to enjoy nature and camaraderie, and we are committed to listening.