Dear RARE Community,
The Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) AmeriCorps Program unequivocally condemns the murders of Black people by police and white supremacists. These are repetitive, horrific reminders of the systemic racism and militarized police force still present in our society. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and commit to elevating racial justice in our ongoing work throughout rural Oregon.
The RARE AmeriCorps Program is a white-founded and white-led organization which strives to build capacity and quality of life. Our program, staff, and members benefit directly from community development models originating from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) leaders and organizers who are largely unacknowledged in the field.
We must honor and celebrate the vibrancy and resiliency of BIPOC individuals and communities within our state and the community work they do for rural Oregon.
Our work has not previously, but must now begin centering lasting change that will build up and support the voices of our BIPOC members and communities. We are in a deep learning process. Internal conversations regarding our own implicit biases, white fragility, and the structure of our organization have led to the development–and delay–of this statement. We recognize our silence has contributed to the continuation of blatant and passive forms of discrimination, injustice, and racism. RARE is committed to spending the time and money to educate ourselves in order to build more equitable communities in rural Oregon. We must break the silence about racial injustice in our communities and organizations.
RARE is committing to continue to listen, learn, invite people in, and work for better BIPOC representation in community development. Our tangible action items of commitment include:
- Developing a more robust equity plan,
- Revising recruitment processes,
- Investing in further anti-racism training opportunities for members and staff.
To uphold the mission of the RARE AmeriCorps Program “to increase the capacity of rural communities to improve their economic, social, and environmental conditions,” we must change the way we recruit, train, and support our communities, members, and staff.
We look forward to publishing our Equity Statement, sharing resources and tools, and continuing conversations with our members and communities. Our anti-racism work is not limited to our staff, members, and policies, but extends to every corner of this state. We invite you to join us in our continuing journey.
Standing together for rural Oregon,
The RARE AmeriCorps Program Staff and RARE Year 26 Cohort