Diversity and Inclusion

In June 2020, the WAC Board put together a Statement on Racial Equality in response to current events. In that statement we acknowledged that we are not a diverse organization, and must make a commitment to diversity, build up and amplify the voices of those that are marginalized, and must educate our board, leaders, and members to become a more inclusive community. 

Since June, the board and other WAC members have listened to members, met internally and have identified ways to do better by creating a strategic road map to equity which includes several initiatives to help get us to where we should be. 

Purpose

The purpose of this road map is to be a starting point for current and future leaders to strive to make the club (and the outdoors) a more inclusive space. The road map focuses club-wide with plans to expand to class-specific strategy in the near future.

Next Steps

Work on initiatives – Each initiative has a status that is either being driven by the board, it’s members, co-chairs, or is looking for volunteers to help drive.

Recruit members to help – Even though this work has started with a small group (board and co-chairs), we realize it is only a small subset of the entire Washington Alpine Club membership. We are ready to get more members involved, get feedback from all members of the organization, and get volunteers involved to steer the direction (and accountability) of this work, and propose other initiatives that align with our organization’s equity and inclusion goals. 

Recruit members to be involved – We hope to share more transparency of decisions being made and open anyone interested to join the board meetings. 

If you want to help or see any space where your professional or personal experience can lend a hand, please reach out to the Board of Directors.

If interested in a board meeting, a committee, or have a proposal to make the club better (meaning you’re volunteering to implement the proposal), please reach out to the Board of Directors via wacboard@googlegroups.com.

Club-wide Initiatives 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training 

We acknowledge the lack of diversity and access in the outdoors. The board will investigate and budget for a reputable racial equity consultant to train the current board, leaders (including co-chairs and instructors), and members. The training and work will continue to lay the foundation for developing a multi-year commitment to addressing racial equity. This work must continue beyond the tenures of the current board and co-chairs.

Status – Board selecting consultant 

Feedback and accountability

Establish clear standards of behavior (and code of conduct) along with a protocol and process for reporting and addressing incidents of misconduct throughout the WAC. The protocol should cover incidents reported through official feedback processes as well as informal channels. The response to reports should include reaching out to all parties involved in an appropriate manner and avoid jumping to conclusions, spreading misinformation, and/or silencing. The process needs to be transparent and clearly outlined.

We strive to create a culture of trust where feedback can be given directly to anyone–members, students, instructors, board members. As an organization, we recommend going through the process as opposed to spreading it throughout the club without being addressed to maintain trust and avoid damaging people’s reputations in an already small outdoor community. 

Status – Board drafting feedback form. Member(s) requested to be part of this protocol and process. 

Foster diversified leadership representation 

The goal is to promote diversity in the club and have a call to help provide inputs on how to make that happen. It is our responsibility as a club to work towards more diversified leadership representation whether it be instructors or club committees. Outline a target diversity goal for leadership positions and develop a multi-year plan to be put into effect as soon as possible. Having a personal commitment to diversity and a willingness to learn should be the baseline for all leaders within the WAC. 

Status – Foster new leaders, in-progress with co-chairs, and looking for volunteers to help.

Build meaningful relationships with underrepresented groups

Establish long-lasting relationships with BIPOC-led (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) organizations. Identify ways to support these organizations so that the relationship is reciprocal and not one-way and free from the nuances of savior complex. It is our club’s responsibility to ensure a welcoming and supportive environment for BIPOC without the expectation that BIPOC will give us their expertise or the emotional labor to teach us how to do that.

Status – Looking for volunteers to help drive this initiative. 

*Road Map to Equity–November 2020.

Resources

These are just some of the resources we are starting with, please add to the conversation by sending us what you are reading. We also want to note that we don’t necessarily endorse everything these links say, but they are voices that should be heard.

Contact Us if you have suggestions for this page or ways to help improve diversity and inclusion in the WAC.

Here are a few ideas how you can take action now via The Access Fund (read their full statement here The Access Fund):

  • VOTE. We all need to make sure we are registered to vote in the upcoming election. We can make a difference by electing people who stand with the Black community in the fight for justice. Find out if you are registered to vote and get more information on supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Educate ourselves. The amount of quality material on systemic racism in America is vast. Here’s a list of anti-racism resources to start with. We think this piece from the Avarna Group hits on the important connection between the Black Lives Matter movement and protection of public lands. You can also check out this blog post JEDI 101 for Climbers, which Taimur wrote just last month.
  • Support movements for justice, whether by your presence at a protest, by donating, or by contacting your legislators to demand change and accountability.
  • Both in person and in our online presence, we should amplify and prioritize the voices of those on the front lines and those whose voices have historically been repressed. Listen to what they have to say.
  • Critically examine our own behavior. We all have biases, and it is a never-ending—and very worthwhile—struggle to make sure we as individuals are doing all we can to live up to JEDI principles in our own everyday actions.

Additional Resources: