May 28, 2020

Statement on Incident in Central Park

In the past three days many people have seen and shared a video of a racist incident in New York City's Central Park. We unequivocally condemn the behavior of the white woman in the video and the continuous injustice and racial inequality of people of color. No person of color should be made to fear for their safety while enjoying nature and natural spaces.

As Christian Cooper, the Black man in the video, stated in an interview with NPR, “I, as an African American, crouching down and peering through a shrub with a metal object in my hand will be perceived by authorities likely completely differently than a white birder doing exactly the same thing.” Outdoor spaces should be accessible, safe, and welcoming to all people without the threat of confrontation or violence. For these reasons, ANCA continues to promote equity and inclusion in all spaces, and specifically at nature and environmental learning centers.

The environmental field must actively examine why natural spaces are so often not safe for people of color and others, and work to change the systems that make them so. We are dedicated to such change so that outdoor spaces are safe and welcoming to all.

For resources on how to create equitable and inclusive spaces at your organization, see our In the Field Resources Page