Date: 7/21/20 9:09 pm From: Paul Sullivan <paultsullivan...> Subject: [obol] Re: OBOL A Message from the OBA Board of Directors
If you’re asking for dates and names, I cannot give you specific citations. Perhaps that will seem like there’s no real data.
When someone does not feel welcome they are not likely to say, “Hey, I don’t feel welcome!” They’re more likely to quietly slip away and say nothing. They may think, “What a unkind group of folks.” The person offering the unwelcome vibe will probably be clueless.
I can say, from talking to a spectrum of people over the years who are female, or new to birding, or not up on the latest taxonomic splits, or the latest field identification fine points, that “Oregon birding,” seen form the outside has been an old boys club. That certainly has been true if you look at the roster of OFO/OBA membership. If you look folks who post on OBOL, the pattern continues. Of course, women have been part of this from the start as well, but not in the same way. I’ll let them speak for themselves.
Clearly we have offered classes and field trips. We have welcomed new people who fit the mold of what we already have, keen birders willing to strive to “become better birders,” people who are “serious.” Middle-class whites.
Clearly local Audubon chapters have also offered nature classes/trips for adults, kids, camps, in-school programs, etc. In recent years Portland Audubon has made an explicit effort to reach minority communities, the BIPOC demographic. I applaud that effort.
The OBA Board has made a serious effort to be self-reflective, humble, honest, to be open to learn, and to begin a journey. I welcome that.
I think your question is a good one. We each need to look inside ourselves to seek the answer – and then “do something” as we have been hearing John Lewis tell us in recent days.
Subject: Re: A Message from the OBA Board of Directors
Date: Tue Jul 21 2020 12:25 pm
From: jeffgilligan10 AT gmail.com
When has anyone not been welcomed?
On Jul 21, 2020, at 8:09 AM, Nagi Aboulenein <nagi.aboulenein...> wrote:
The Oregon Birding Association (OBA) board met recently to discuss how our organization can do more to remove the barriers that face Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) birders in Oregon and to adopt a strong position on this issue that goes beyond our initial statement on racism in birding. In the midst of the nationwide outcry over the centuries-long oppression and brutalization of Black Americans, we recognize that OBA has historically been a mostly white organization in a mostly white state, promoting a hobby historically enjoyed by mostly white people. We have not done enough in the past to recognize the ways in which birding is not equally accessible to everyone, or worked to change this dynamic. We are working to make birding in Oregon more welcoming to all, while acknowledging the privilege that white birders have in this regard.
Moving forward, we hope to use our grant program to support organizations doing work that aligns with our mission in communities that we don�t currently reach. We also plan to incorporate this work into our field trips, our annual meeting, and the Oregon Birds journal. These are all volunteer endeavors, and we welcome your participation.
We encourage Oregon birders to actively educate themselves on anti-racism and specifically the challenges that face Black Americans and Black birders in our home state as a first step.
In the meantime, for your own use, here they are again:
These panels are highly educational in terms of explaining the obstacles faced by Black birders.
We hope that Oregon birders agree with the growing understanding that this topic is not political, but one of basic human rights, and that it is not tangential to our hobby, but central to it, and critical to include in our forums, including OBOL. We support the recent statement from Seattle Audubon and encourage Oregon birders to read it and reflect on its meaning.
We recognize the work that is already being done in this regard, particularly by BIPOC-led organizations such as Wild Diversity and Outdoor Afro, that are working in Oregon to welcome and create a sense of belonging in the outdoors for the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, and encourage our members to become familiar with and support their work.
We approach this work with humility and a willingness to learn and change, even though it may be uncomfortable. We welcome your feedback about how we as an organization can work to remove the barriers that face BIPOC birders in Oregon. We would also like to encourage anyone interested in getting more involved with OBA and helping with this effort to contact us. We currently have several open board seats, and would like anyone interested in furthering the cause of birding and birders in Oregon to join us on the OBA board.