A message to our community

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Saturday, June 13, 2020 - 10:00am

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channel marker buoy on the ocean during sunset

 

The nation has been shaken by the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among countless others, and we stand in solidarity with the Black community during these painful times. We feel outrage, sorrow, and frustration but also a turning point for change. At NH Sea Grant, we cannot sit back in the face of injustice. This moment marks an acceleration in our dedication to advance dialogue and action within our program to work towards a just, inclusive, and equitable society.

NH Sea Grant’s mission is grounded in service to the people of New Hampshire, and to meet this mission we need to recognize, confront, and assume our responsibility in addressing the systemic biases and privilege that have shaped us, and that we have sustained. We must honor those who have suffered not just violence and death, but all forms of victimization, prejudice, and injustice in this country because of race, religion, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic class, by taking intentional steps to better ourselves and our program.  

We acknowledge that words and commitments are not enough and that actions are needed to dismantle systemic racism and discrimination. We must face that we have fallen short and that we must do better.

At NH Sea Grant, we will have the difficult discussions, look carefully and critically inward, and take concrete steps towards an inclusive, anti-biased, anti-racist version of ourselves. We have worked intentionally to include diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our program, but we will hold ourselves accountable to doing more. Specifically, we plan to:

  • Integrate principles of DEI in all aspects of our work, from program management, meetings, and strategic planning, to recruitment, student opportunities, and hiring practices, to our research, education, extension, and communications
  • Continue to engage our staff in professional development activities to develop a self-aware culture that counters the effects of bias in our work
  • Critically examine our programming and research portfolio to assess the current reach of our efforts and explore ways to engage more diverse audiences and partners
  • View resilience efforts through the lens which inextricably links climate change to social and environmental justice
  • Work to decrease inequities in marine and coastal science-related fields and the communities we serve
  • Ensure that everyone has the opportunity, access, and space to share their ideas, concerns, and vision for the future of New Hampshire’s coast. We promise to listen and to work for change.

As an organization, NH Sea Grant has a role to play in combatting structural, societal, and environmental injustices, and we will put in this necessary and critical work now and for months and years to come. We welcome your feedback on additional steps we can take to meaningfully improve our DEI efforts. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts or ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact me at erik.chapman@unh.edu.

Sincerely,
Erik Chapman
Director, New Hampshire Sea Grant 


A message from the University of New Hampshire: 
unh.edu/president/black-lives-matter-our-action-plan

A message from UNH Extension:
extension.unh.edu/articles/our-values-define-us

A message from the Sea Grant Association:
sga.seagrant.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Social-Justice-SGA-Board-Statement-June-2-2020.pdf

National Sea Grant Network Vision, “Reaching Outward and Looking Inward”:
seagrant.noaa.gov/Portals/1/Network%20Visioing/DEI_Vision_Final_10122018.pdf