Parks and Racial Justice: A June 2020 Statement

June 2020 - The current events in our country and around the world highlight the systemic racism that exists in our society. We at Sonoma County Regional Parks are committed to achieving equity and racial justice.

Parks equity matters more than ever in the context of the overlapping challenges we face. As we navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, parks are more critical than ever for people to access the outdoors, to maintain mental health and to stay physically active.

As we enter summer, we know that parks provide critical relief during extreme heat events. During a time of telework and distance learning, parks provide a break in screen time for both children and adults. And as we face increasing economic stresses, parks provide a low-cost way to manage anxiety.

We understand that people of color have long faced unequal opportunities in all aspects of their lives, including access to parks and the natural world. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to address these disparities.

Fortunately, we are deepening our commitment to this work. In 2019, Sonoma County Regional Parks established the strategic goal of making parks more equitable, diverse and inclusive.

We began training our staff in implicit bias and the history of racial inequality in this country. We have adopted the ambitious goal of making our staff mirror the county’s demographics within five years. And we have expanded programs benefiting under-served communities and investing in youth of color.

Finally, we are working with our city and non-profit partners to bring new parks and trail access to neighborhoods and regions of the county that have been historically under-developed with park assets.

A few years ago we adopted the slogan “Parks for All.”  That mantra rings truer than ever at this moment in history. Please join us in helping deliver parks for all.

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