The Eno River Association is committed to creating an environment that welcomes, encourages, respects, and celebrates people from all backgrounds with diverse stories and experiences. We pledge to hold ourselves accountable in continuously advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and establishing ourselves as an anti-racist and inclusive organization.
We humbly acknowledge that a comprehensive, intentional focus on diversity, equity and inclusion has not been a priority of the Eno River Association in the recent past. We acknowledge that the history of work in land conservation and land ownership is intertwined with racial injustice and acts of violence against Black and Indigenous peoples. The land that we protect today is the ancestral homelands of the Eno, Shakori, Sissipahaw, Occaneechi, other people of Siouan descent and their descendants, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation. The accumulated wealth from this land was often built by enslaved people. We recognize that the economic disparities created by this history continue today.
The Eno River Association is focused on environmental justice, access, and equity. Throughout 2021-2022, our staff and board members engaged in diversity, equity and inclusion training together. We are listening and learning about systemic racism, and the structures that deter and block people of color from outdoor spaces and land ownership. We are allying ourselves with efforts to name and combat the injustices these systems and structures have allowed. We are identifying cases of environmental injustice in our community, especially when they relate to, or are in conflict with, our land conservation efforts.
We will continue to research and highlight the stories of all the people that have had a relationship with the Eno River, including Indigenous and enslaved people. In 2022, we published the second Ribbons of Color Eno River Journal, entitled “People of Color Living on the Eno”. This is a collection of stories written by members of our community, for our community.
While our initial focus is racial discrimination because it is at the core of the history of the conservation movement, we are working against discrimination in all facets to help create a more just and equitable community. We are committed to learning from the rich and diverse Eno River community. We are building trust and respect by continuing to ask for, listen to, and respond to the community’s needs, wants and critiques about the work of the ERA. Our priority is to understand our place and be present.
Our Ongoing Commitment & Goals
Our goal is to create a more inclusive, encouraging, and safe organization that is a part of the larger land conservation movement. As we lift up equity within the Eno River Association, we know words are not enough. We are dedicating a portion of our annual budget to creating an anti-racist and inclusive organization. We emphasize partnerships with diverse and nontraditional organizations. We dedicate ourselves to shaping the Association into one that reflects and celebrates our diverse community.