River Voices: February 2022
If you’ve been to River Rally, you’ve likely met Darryl Haddock. This month, as we share stories from Black leaders all across the national network of water protectors, learn about his work with environmental justice organization West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA). In the interview, hear from Darryl about the shifting dynamics of community-centered work, the challenges and benefits that WAWA sees as a Black-led organization working on water issues, advice for young professionals in the water space, and how River Network and Rally have evolved.
The truth is that there’s no getting around the complexity of being a BIPOC-led organization who wants to work with allies who are white-led and resisting the pressure of taking on their leadership structures.
Meet Your Network: Black Leaders Making Change
February marks Black History Month, “an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history” (History.com). At River Network, we strive to amplify the stories and voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color year-round. This River Voices issue is primarily devoted to sharing these stories, some that we’ve told before, and some of which are new to the newsletter. These organizations and individuals have been at work for, in many cases, decades, and while you may have heard or seen some of these stories before, we encourage you to take time this month to reconnect with them, reflect on how your own work intersects with racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and to support these organizations with your attention or dollars if possible.
We recognize that this is a small subset of the many Black leaders and Black-led organizations working on water. If you would like your work to be featured at any time of year, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“At the end of the day… we’re here to take care of each other, to be kind to each other.”
A lifelong advocate for human rights, female empowerment, and sustainability, Dianne was River Network’s first woman and African American Board Chair.
“Going forward, I hope that Black History Month can become a time where people outside and inside Black cultures realize that it’s normal to see Black influences in all aspects…”
“When you say that you’re going to do something or include [the community] in a decision, they need to see action from what you produce and they need to see that their input is there.”
As Manager of Community Engagement and Equity Initiatives at Groundwork Jacksonville, Gloria engages citizens in visioning, advocating for, and shaping local projects.
In 2008, We The People of Detroit (WPD) was co-founded by Chris Griffith, Aurora Harris, Monica Lewis-Patrick, Cecily McClellan, and Debra Taylor in response to Emergency Management over the city of Detroit and Detroit Public Schools.
As a community-based grassroots organization, WPD aims to inform, educate, and empower Detroit residents. We spoke with Monica in 2018. Now, catch up on WPD’s work as of January 2022.
After two years of virtual gatherings, River Rally, the nation’s largest annual conference for water professionals, is in-person once again for 2022. We’ll gather in our nation’s capital to mark the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. The River Rally 2022 program will feature speakers celebrating this and other clean water victories and center equity across all topics, while illuminating today’s most urgent challenge: climate change. Plus, join River Network, American Rivers, and Waterkeeper Alliance on June 7-8 for Action Day for Clean Water & Rivers!
River Network and the WaterNow Alliance are providing support for community organizations and water utilities seeking to build trusting relationships as part of their work together toward more equitable and sustainable water and community outcomes. We are seeking applications from interested water utility-community group partnerships to receive technical, financial, capacity building and leadership development support over an eight-month period.
Science Corner: EJ Screen
The latest from our science team.
At River Rally 2020, EPA staff members presented on EJSCREEN, an environmental justice screening and mapping tool. This tool “provides EPA with a nationally consistent dataset and approach for combining environmental and demographic indicators.” To learn more, watch the video below and check out EPA’s website.
Events & Learning Opportunities
The Fundamentals of SRF Administration & Influencing Equitable Infrastructure in Your Community – A Three Part Series
Mar. 2, Mar. 29, Apr. 21; 10a PT/1p ET
Join River Network for a 3-part training series focused on unpacking the fundamentals of State Revolving Fund (SRF) administration – how they work, how to influence the process and how to understand the intersection of water affordability and water infrastructure funding. This series will feature guest facilitation by experts in the SRF process and each training will be highly interactive with opportunities to put their learnings in to practice. There will also be an opportunity for follow on “office hours” for those interested in engaging further in a small group or 1-1 setting with SRF experts. Registration is required.
Feb. 10, 11a MT
Join WaterNow and administrators of Colorado’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan program and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) for for a 1-hour webinar to deepen local Colorado water leaders’ understanding of the fundamental mechanics of the SRF program and to dig into the details about how the flexibility of SRF loans can help finance innovative, climate & drought resilient water infrastructure projects.
Feb. 16 & Mar. 2, 10a PT/1p ET
Leading a collaborative? Don’t miss this! Register for two highly interactive trainings led by Institute for Conservation Leadership focused on facilitating productive virtual meetings, managing conflict and tension across members, and supporting decision-making processes. Session #2 will build upon what we learn in session #1 so be sure to add both trainings to your calendar!
Feb. 23 – 25
Join Rivers Edge West for their 20th Annual Riparian Restoration Conference at the Grand Junction Convention Center in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Connect with others in your field who are managing or studying riparian lands and stream environments and discover novel techniques, scientific findings, and lessons learned that make restoration successful.
Feb. 24, 3:30p PT/5:30p ET
Join Rock Creek Conservancy, Rock Creek Park, & Montgomery History for a conversation at the intersection of race, history, and Rock Creek Park. This event will examine the lynchings that took place in the region and the legacy of biophobia in communities of color. Speakers: Sarah Hedlund and Ralph Buglass of Montgomery History; Mickey Fearn, a diversity and equity in parks and recreation expert, and Tyrhee Moore of Soul Trak Outdoors.
Mark Your Calendars for the 2022 CWP National Conference in St. Pete, Florida – April 26-29
The 2022 National Watershed and Stormwater Conference will provide a forum for watershed and stormwater professionals throughout the nation to learn how to increase the resiliency of our communities in response to emerging and persistent threats to our water resources — from headwaters to coasts. Network with water resource managers, practitioners, researchers, and regulators from all over the United States. The conference will include technical presentations, case studies, panel discussions, and workshops.
Member News & Tips
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is seeks an Equity and Inclusion Projects Specialist, a critical role in advancing their commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice efforts. The successful candidate will build upon the Alliance’s emerging partnership with Bowie State University and engage other Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the watershed, among other priorities.
Join our team and help advance the health of western rivers at several scales: by providing watershed science support to local coalitions, by hosting trainings and field days for statewide peer networks, by advancing integrated floodplain management in the Colorado River Basin; and more. The role is located in a Colorado River Basin state, based out of your home office.
EPA’s Urban Waters (UW) and Trash Free Waters (TFW) Programs are looking to hire a grad or postdoc researcher to focus on environmental justice and impacts from trash pollution and climate-related events that are particularly significant in underserved communities across the U.S. Project research will primarily address substantive issues related to the TFW and UW Programs.
The NPS-RTCA is accepting applications for technical assistance on locally-led conservation and outdoor rec projects. The program will assist communities in evolving climate resiliency strategies, developing or restoring parks, conservation areas, rivers, and wildlife habitats, as well as creating outdoor recreation opportunities and programs that engage future generations in the outdoors.
What We’re Reading
- “Environmentalism’s Racist History” – Jedediah Purdy’s 2015 piece in the New Yorker remains a relevant and important read.
- Green 2.0 2021 Report – explore diversity data from across the nonprofit sector.
- Unhidden – a new book coming in 2024 by James Edward Mills, with photography by Kris Graves will explore untold stories of historical sites across the country, with a particular emphasis on the contributions of Black Americans and other people of color.
- Inclusive Conversations – Mary Francis-Winters’s book offers specific dialogue strategies to foster greater understanding on topics related to equity and inclusion.
- Waste – if you haven’t yet read Catherine Coleman Flowers’s book, pick it up now!
- Water for All Report – Kendall Dix wrote this People’s Policy Project report making the case to eliminate residential water fees and fund water utilities through taxation.