We are very fortunate in the Potomac River watershed to live among people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. It is a vibrant, lively community, filled with people of talent, passion, beauty, and love. I have always been grateful to live here, not just because of the beauty of the rivers, the forests, the parks, and the monuments, but also because of the opportunities for enjoying and learning from the diverse, multicultural community in which I live and work.
Unfortunately, racism is also a part of our community. It has always been a part of our nation’s history, and it persists – as recent events have clearly demonstrated. Over the course of my life, I have seen overt racism and also more subtle forms of it, but whether or not it is blatant, racism is at work systematically in our society causing pain, hardship, stress, and, as we have seen so clearly with the Covid-19 pandemic, higher rates of illness and death in black, brown, and indigenous communities.
While racism is not new, today, our community is particularly troubled. We are filled with anger, grief, and outrage at the senseless racial violence that has resulted in the loss of so many black lives. At Potomac Riverkeeper Network, we stand in solidarity with black, brown, and indigenous communities – communities that suffer from racial injustice, including environmental injustice. We fight for clean water for those who have too long borne the lion’s share of pollution in their communities.
Potomac Riverkeeper Network is proud to be protecting the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers for the benefit of all, especially those who have been impacted most by pollution. We all have the right to clean water. We all have the right to safe drinking water. We all have the right to use and enjoy our rivers. Yet only some of us have enjoyed those rights.
At Potomac Riverkeeper Network, our mission is to protect the public’s right to clean water.
Whatever your race, class, ethnicity, or background, if you live in our watershed, your Riverkeeper is your clean water advocate. We stand united with you against environmental racism.