Systemic racism has plagued our country and the world for centuries, and we are still bearing witness to horrendous acts of discrimination and violence against the Black community. As protests against police killings of unarmed Black people continue across the nation, and in the midst of a global pandemic that has disproportionately impacted Black communities, FD is whole-heartedly committed to affecting change toward justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) in healthcare, the outdoors, and in every area of our work.
We know there’s so much more that needs to be done. As an organization, and as individuals, we do not have all the answers, but we desire to use our work to help bring about real, impactful change that includes fostering equity and inclusion for all categories of identity. This will not happen overnight, but we are committed.
As an imperfect ally-in-progress, First Descents created a dedicated internal JEDI Committee in 2018 to guide the organization’s efforts to reach more Black, Indigenous, People of Color and LGBTQIA+ communities now, and for decades to come. As a next step, we will take the following immediate actions as we continue to build a long-term plan:
We are assembling a group of individuals representative of diverse communities and backgrounds to serve on FD’s JEDI Advisory Council, to work closely with our team, and to hold us accountable and ensure long-term effectiveness of the measures we undertake.
We will actively recruit candidates from diverse backgrounds to add to our Board of Directors.
We will partner with others to host JEDI trainings for all members of the FD Community, including our staff, board, and volunteers.
We will continue to make meaningful changes to our hiring, training, and employment practices to better diversify our company and culture, and will actively look to recruit people from diverse backgrounds as hiring opportunities present themselves.
We will continue building partnerships with organizations in the healthcare and outdoors spaces to reach underserved groups impacted by cancer and MS, and to address the systemic racism that plagues our healthcare system.
We will continue to join the conversations, attend community talks, read the books, and ask the hard questions – as a team, and as individuals in our personal lives. We stand with BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities and promise to listen, learn, and allow space for growth and action.
To learn more about the current work and future goals of First Descents’ JEDI Committee click here.