Monday, March 25, 2013

Major Environmental Groups, NRDC, Sierra Club, Etc, Lack Hiring Diversity: Fail To Employ Representative Minority Staff And Professionals: Problem Exist For 30 Years: Why Aren't Anti-Discrimination Employment Laws Being Enforced?

Posted by Milton Recht:

From The Washington Post, Health and Science, "Within mainstream environmentalist groups, diversity is lacking" by Darryl Fears:
the level of diversity, both in leadership and staff, of groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is more like that of the Republican Party they so often criticize for its positions on the environment than that of the multiethnic Democratic Party they have thrown their support behind.

Some of the groups say they are working toward greater diversity. "I think that the concerns are absolutely well founded," said Adrianna Quintero, a lawyer for the NRDC. "It’s taken too long for environmental groups to work closely enough with minority communities."

Kim Coble, vice president of environmental protection and restoration for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said the organization strives for inclusion, even though the percentage of minorities on its full-time staff is only 4.5 percent in a region where they represent nearly half the population.

"The environmental movement has a bit of a reputation as being a wealthy white community, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation works hard to counteract that," Coble said.

The reputation is deserved, said Norris McDonald, president of the African American Environmentalist Association.

"This goes back a long way," McDonald said. "It’s why I founded the [association] in 1985. . . . White groups weren’t hiring black professionals, and when they did, it was a hostile atmosphere. There were a handful of black professionals in the environmental groups then, and there are a handful now."
"We essentially have a racially segregated environmental movement," said Van Jones, co-founder of the nonprofit Rebuild the Dream and a former adviser on green jobs to the Obama administration. "We’re too polite to say that. Instead, we say we have an environmental justice movement and a mainstream movement."
In 1990, the director of the Southwest Organizing Project, Richard Moore, issued a letter signed by some 100 community and cultural leaders saying that the big green groups lacked diversity, failed to protect minorities from pollution impacts and had histories full of "racist and exclusionary practices."
But, he [Fred Tutman, the only African American riverkeeper] said, "I do think we’re invisible. The movement is inauthentic if it remains all white . . . if we can’t get a seat at the table unless we emulate their values.
Why aren't the federal and states Offices of Civil Rights, the Departments of Labor and the Attorneys General bringing anti-discrimination employment lawsuits against these organizations? Who is behind the funding of these mostly white organizations?

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