National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) seeks to authentically build upon a long history of learning, engaging and leveraging its own diversity and the larger issues of justice, equity and inclusion regarding peoples’ relationship to land and our national parks. In the last 25 years, NPCA has at times led on these issues and at other times been confronted on these issues; either way, they have never been far from the organization’s consciousness and mission. As it approaches its centennial, the organization’s goal is to create a path forward with integrity that includes the wisdom of all staff as a collective effort, and to set a new intention to have justice, equity, diversity, inclusion work become part of the organization’s DNA.
NPCA is a leading voice on the natural and cultural values that our national parks system holds for our people (and therefore, too, our democracy). As this is a time when our country is having important, challenging conversations on many levels about power and difference, it is necessary and responsible for NPCA to be asking itself what the role of land and our national parks are to these same issues of power and difference. NPCA’s ability at this moment in its own history, and in this critical moment for our country, to step into these important questions internally and externally will be a defining act of leadership for its future.
After interviewing dozens of staff and spending two days with the executive leadership team for the organization, we co-created an inclusive process led by their own staff, dubbed JEDI Facilitators, who will engage every NPCA employee in conversations and multi-day trainings to create a culture of inquiry, learning and to foster dialogue on change.
I will train and mentor each of these facilitators whose work is to create a respectful community that can handle difficult, transformational questions and to make visible that which is less visible within NPCA. They will help the organization to sharpen their own JEDI lens on all of their programs.
The JEDI facilitators model the future we hope NPCA will become. One of the tasks over the next year is to listen to their colleague’s aspirations for this work and to form those tangible requests into a statement of intention to which the entire organization can be held accountable. Then will follow more training and a possible learning journey with a partner organization to the boundaries of their mission.
Stay tuned to learn how this work takes shape and creates change.