Date: 6/14/20 10:54 am
From: Bevbowe1 <bevbowe1...>
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] The intersection of racism and birding
Hi Whitney, and thank you for this thoughtful post.  What current WWB members may not know is that when the group came back online with the "Welcome Back" message, not all were allowed along for the ride.  Some members (including me) were removed from and blocked by WWB in the archived period.  I never posted about Black birders Week, but I did "like" a post that was on the board, and also commented, something like "this is a great video, with lots of cool link embedded; check it out!"  In discussions with other ex-members booted during the WWB recess, it appears that many of us only liked or commented on one of those posts.  I'm very troubled at WWB's lack of transparency regarding how they handled this matter.  I would never have even known about being blocked unless a fried had posted the WWB return message - I had assumed they were still archived.West Coast Birders is a great group, and I have happily joined it.  Another area birding Facebook group that encourages diversity and inclusion is Washington Birding; I have joined them both!Good birding to you all,Bev <Bowebevbowe1...>
-----Original Message-----
From: Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser <whitney.n.k...>
To: Tweeters <tweeters...>
Sent: Sun, Jun 14, 2020 10:33 am
Subject: [Tweeters] The intersection of racism and birding

Tweeters - 
OnJune 9, the Facebook group Western Washington Birders (WWB) was archived by theadministrators, with this announcement, “Dear Ones, today Western Washington Birders endured a coordinatedassault for our No Politics policy.  We have had to archive the groupuntil we can address the matter.  We hope this will be temporary.” This was in response to several people posting tothe group about #BlackBirdersWeek ( and aboutthe assault on Christian Cooper (a Black birder)in Central Park by a white woman after he asked her to leash her dog (awell-known rule in that part of the park). The posts were all deleted by the admins and, in some cases, the peopletrying to share the information with the birding community were removed fromthe group. On June 12, the group was re-activated with this message, “Dear Ones, thank you forallowing this breathing space.  To stayon topic, all posts will be held for moderation.  Welcome back!” WWBhas 10,878 members.  The administratorscould have used their influence and that platform to moderate a much-neededconversation about the very real intersection between racism and birding.  Instead, they shut it down and are nowcensoring the group. Racismis a political issue because it is institutionalized in our country.  In our government, in our education andhealthcare systems.  The birdingcommunity is not immune, which is an uncomfortable reality for white birderslike me to face.  But racism is not apartisan issue, it’s an issue of human rights and dignity.  For white people like me to remain silent,for white people to ask that we keep the discourse about the birds, is whitecomplicity. Facebook is a challenging way to have a dialogue.  It’s too easy to misconstrue what someone hasposted, too easy to be disrespectful, because we’re not in the same roomtalking face-to-face.  This listserv may not be a good way to have a dialogue either, but in this time of pandemic andsocial distancing, it’s one of the best tools we have.  Sam Terry led the way last week with hisposting asking white birders to be sensitive to the complexity of looking forthe Black-Billed Magpie in the New Holly neighborhood.  Can we continue the conversation?  The birds need us to do this work.  The efforts to conserve ecosystems, to bringbirds back from their steep decline, need everyone.  Everyone caring, everyone having safe andequal access to the beauty of the natural world and the birds that live in it. IfFacebook is part of your life, consider leaving WWB (as several folks includingme already have) and joining West Coast Birders, a group created on May 28 with the explicit goal of building a “…community of people who share a love for birds and a desire to makebirding accessible, safe, and enjoyable for everyone.”  The group “serves as both a celebration of West Coast birds and a placeto discuss the challenges to birding. The challenges are diverse and intersectcomplex topics that are ecological, social, and political.”
Best,Whitney <Neufeld-Kaiserwhitney.n.k...>
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