A Journey to Racial Equity

Spring is just around the corner and of course, this month marks the anniversary of the Bay Area shutting down due to the pandemic.  Throughout these past 12 crazy months, Civicorps has stayed focused on supporting our young people with education and paid job training.

Thus far in the pandemic year, Civicorps has engaged 146 young people in paid job training.  They have completed over 88,850 hours of work for our partners and the community and have earned over $1,500,000!

Pandemic or not, rain or shine (or wildfire), we are deeply committed to providing a space for young people to grow and take steps toward their career dreams.  In order to assist in the fulfillment of those dreams it is important we address the inequitable systems that negatively impact our BIPOC Corpsmembers.  While this work is ongoing, one way to address historically oppressive and racist systems is by using our network to connect Corpsmembers to well paid career paths with dynamic agencies who provide key services and growth opportunities.  All the while, we contribute to the desired diversification of these workplaces.

“If a man doesn’t have a job or an income he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since 2017, Civicorps has been proud to participate in the inaugural cohort of The Corps Network’s Moving Forward Initiative (MFI).  The MFI seeks to expand career exposure and increase employment in conservation and resource management for youth and young adults of color.  Through this effort, we explore unconscious bias and structural racism within The Corps Network, our member Corps, and America’s land management agencies.

This Friday, 20 of Civicorps’ Conservation Interns will participate in the latest MFI workshop, “Sending the Right Signal.”  This anti-racism workshop focuses specifically on raising our racial awareness and addresses the need for healing from racism.

We’re honored to be part of the Moving Forward Initiative, and invite you to learn more about it. 

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It’s another eerily smoky, hazy day in the Bay Area. We continue to live through challenging times – a time of wildfires and COVID-19 – and the country also continues to be rife with racial injustice. While we are unable to resolve these crises alone, as a community we can take active steps to promote and work towards racial justice.  As Tessa has previously written, Civicorps supports the Black Lives Matter movement, stands in solidarity with those demanding police reform, and is working to be an anti-racist organization. 

Last week, Civicorps paused operations to add our voice to the many speaking out against police brutality and the systemic oppression impacting our communities of color.  This beautiful crowd of about 25 Corpsmembers, our Board Chair and staff stepped out to proclaim Black Lives Matter on our first #WalkforBLM.

We took a spirited walk from the JTC through West Oakland to 15th and Broadway where we took in the compelling murals, enjoyed shouts and honks of encouragement from passersby, and danced to Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” reverberating out of Oscar Grant Plaza. 

In a time when so much feels out of our control, it was exhilarating to come together with our Civicorps family to stand up and speak out. 

We’re planning to make our #WalkforBLM a regular occasion; we hope you can join us next time.

In the meanwhile, we hope everyone stays safe, healthy and connected. We’re glad to be in community with you.

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