Black Lives Matter.

By Sara O’Brien, Bobby Cochran, Erin Legg, Nicole Maness, Kristiana Teige Witherill, Barton Robison, and Emily Irish


In the face of continuous systemic injustice and racism, Willamette Partnership stands with the Black community. Law enforcement violence is a public health issue as well as a moral one. The racial inequity and systemic injustices that shape our communities must stop. Our staff is turning to the open letter from Marcus Mundy, Executive Director of the Coalition of Communities of Color to better understand the actions needed to address this injustice. 

As individuals, we are choosing to donate to organizations that support the Black community and can help make the action plan outlined in Mr. Mundy’s letter a reality. If you are financially able, please consider joining us in donating to some of the sources vetted by Don’t Shoot PDX.

As an organization, we are committed to fostering inclusivity, creating space for diverse perspectives, and working with communities to create more equitable outcomes. We recognize that none of our goals can be achieved without addressing systemic racism and violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). It makes no sense for us to work for greater health equity through new parks, open spaces, and outdoor programming, without directly addressing the fact that BIPOC members of our communities cannot use them without fear of police violence. 

We have to do better as individuals, as a community, and as a nation. Now is the time to look hard at our unjust system, educate ourselves, listen to those who have historically been underrepresented or without a voice at the table, and take action – together. 

In her role as Executive Director, Sara O'Brien, is Willamette Partnership’s chief strategist, lead conductor, and biggest fan. Under her leadership, Willamette Partnership is helping to build a future in which people build resilient ecosystems, healthy communities, and vibrant economies by investing in nature. Most recently, Sara was Willamette Partnership's Director of Strategy and Business, helping to refine its business strategy and identify opportunities for growth. She previously worked at Defenders of Wildlife, the University of Arizona's Institute of the Environment, and the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia. Sara holds a B.A. in anthropology and linguistics from Grinnell College and an M.S. in natural resource management from the University of Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys relaxing with projects such as managing a farm, building a straw bale house, and raising children.


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