Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, reveling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.

— bell hooks

The success of the effort to diversify the environmental movement depends on our ability to not only engage individuals and organizations, but to foster connections on a larger scale and coordinate all that incredible momentum. That’s why community building is one of the 3 pillars of CDE’s mission. Our widespread and potentially individualized efforts must be galvanized into a powerful, collective force if we hope to bridge the racial divide that continues to bisect the environmental movement. CDE’s work at the movement level focuses on effective, culturally competent engagement of communities of color, facilitation of meaningful and equitable dialogue, fostering of critical connections and relationship building, and engagement of diverse stakeholders. There is already a fundamental revolution at work in the environmental movement–into an equitable, inclusive, diverse, multi-cultural coalition of people at work on a wide array of environmental issues.

CDE fosters this work in the following ways:

  • Coordinating the Environmental Professionals of Color (EPOC) Network, a nationwide network of over 1,000 leaders who are often the only person or one of the few people of color working at their environmental institutions. The EPOC network connects people of color who are engaged in a fundamental cultural shift in today’s environmental movement: from a historically homogeneous culture to one that supports people of color thriving and innovating in a variety of positions. Members play a unique and valuable role as change agents bridging the environmental community and communities of color.
  • Convening Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Forums, which serve as community roundtables in which the environmental community and communities of color are invited to engage in open discussions about the underlying dilemmas that perpetuate the racial and ethnic divide in the environmental movement. These forums create safe space for meaningful dialogue about the historical and persistent root issues and challenges to equitable and inclusive engagement of people of color in the environmental movement. The goal of this work is to identify action-oriented solutions that stakeholders agree are critical to helping move this work forward.
  • Offering inspirational Keynote Talks by Director, Queta Gonzaléz, which offer insight into the diversity challenge at the heart of the environmental movement, the opportunity we have to cultivate diversity there and how it will benefit the movement politically, financially & culturally.