Protecting Our Promised Land
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day we honor the life and legacy of the civil rights hero who urged our fellow citizens to ensure that our country lived up to its democratic creed that “all are created equal”. As we celebrate his legacy today, in 2021, we recognize that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s message is more important and more urgent than ever.
Just a little under two weeks ago, a violent mob broke through the doors of the United States Capitol, in a destructive act that shook the very foundation of the house in which our country’s democracy stands. Regardless of beliefs, intentions, or motivations of the individuals who brought violence and hate to our state house – we all now know that this is a critical time to stand for what is right and to stand for each other.
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) commends the example Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. set of peaceful protest and support that right for all. We will not stand silent in the face of hate, and we do not consent to the continued tolerance of discrimination and oppression of anyone for any reason. We believe emphatically in supporting our nation through this trauma by supporting and advocating for our neighbors and communities here on the Eastern Shore.
As we move forward together, ESLC will build on our efforts from 2020 in which we committed ourselves to develop a better understanding of the role that diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) has in land conservation and within our organization. Following our statement on the death of George Floyd, we developed a series of internal conversations titled Digging Deeper where we created a space for staff and board members to dig into the core of what connects each of us to the land we love. We acknowledged our differences and the challenges we face in serving all members of our communities equitably.
This year, we will continue to work together with renewed commitment to identify a path forward, unifying our fellow citizens around the land that we preserve. ESLC will form a standing committee addressing opportunities and challenges related to land conservation and DEIJ issues. This group will ensure that we better serve people of all walks of life through our work. Additionally, we intend to focus on the next generation by connecting youth to the land and introducing them to its many career paths. We will develop a conservation-training program that places significant emphasis on reaching minority and underserved youth.
We believe in the vision of a unified people of which Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke, and we believe that we will get there. We cannot let national crises deter us from the path to the Promised Land that Dr. King outlined in his last speech in 1968; a land where we all can stand as equals on fertile ground and rest without need to protest or fight over how we exist together in this world we’ve been blessed with. We must have faith and commitment in each other and our shared ability to create a better world for all. In honor of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. let’s protect our Promised Land, together.
Staff of Eastern Shore Land Conservancy