The Grand Canyon Chapter of Sierra Club is committed to centering equity, inclusion, and justice in all aspects of our work, both internally and externally. This document outlines our agreements for how we interact with each other (staff/volunteers/community partners) and is intended to build a shared understanding and shared practice of the conduct we expect from our staff and volunteers. We aim to reduce harm to the volunteers, staff, and partners who are disproportionately impacted by social and environmental injustices as we work towards creating a more just, equitable, and inclusive Sierra Club. Our work as environmentalists is intrinsically linked to life-long learning and unlearning around systems of oppression.
The National Sierra Club organization has Standards of Conduct that outline our shared responsibility for inclusive and affirmative engagement and provide pathways for accountability in instances where conflicts cannot be resolved at the local level (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XuCJV8CmpWbDtBFo6ekRRJuW7Yrul3p5WkjG8LIC_SQ/edit#heading=h.gjdgxs
The following values are adopted from National Sierra Club’s Equity Values. Practicing these equity values will support our efforts to create an inclusive and welcoming chapter culture and ultimately a better world. We recognize that acting in alignment with these values requires ongoing learning and practice, which we are committed to cultivating within our chapter. The chapter executive committee voted to adopt these equity values on October 2, 2021.
We collectively hold these values:
Empathy is seeking to understand another person’s experience, perspective and feelings. The focus is not on how you would feel in the same situation, but is on relating to the other person’s experience and feelings to the best of your ability—recognizing that your own experiences, assumptions, biases and judgments impact your understanding.
Because we value empathy, Sierra Club staff and volunteers practice:
Humility: Listen deeply to, and show respect for people with identities, expressions, behaviors and ways of being and doing that are different than your own. Challenge any biases you have that prevent you from believing another person’s experience.
Reflecting back what you hear: When others communicate their experiences and feelings, communicate what you hear back to them, validate their responses and determine together what you can offer to meet expressed needs.
Recognizing each other’s humanity: Communicate in ways that honor each person’s inherent dignity and agency, including your own, and lead with respect and compassion. Contribute to an organizational culture in which each person's full humanity is recognized and affirmed.
Considering and responding to impact: Be aware of the impact of oppression on the people around you and the impact your actions can have, and shift behaviors to reduce harm.
Self-transformation is an ongoing process to strengthen understanding of your own relationship to power, privilege and oppression and to work towards equity and justice in yourself, your actions and your interactions.
Because we value self-transformation, Sierra Club volunteers and staff practice:
Self-awareness: Work continually to understand yourself and how you are shaped by systems of power, privilege and oppression; how you participate in these systems; how you may be both harmed by and benefit from inequity; and how you may contribute to inequity at Sierra Club.
Allyship: Recognize when inequity is present, take immediate action to interrupt business-as-usual, and work for long term solutions. Act in support of marginalized people, in accordance with their goals, and work to advance equity in your spheres of influence.
Self-care and community-care: Be aware of the impact of inequities on health and wellbeing and support the development of structures for community care. Be considerate of and support others’ physical and emotional wellbeing, while communicating your own needs or boundaries.
Just relationships are developed and maintained over time and built on a foundation of trust, justice, and respect. Just relationships are transformational as opposed to transactional—they support individual and collective ability to grow, thrive, and work effectively together beyond immediate needs.
Because we value just relationships, Sierra Club staff and volunteers practice:
Solidarity with impacted stakeholders: Consult and share resources, relationships and opportunities with people who represent those most impacted by the issues being worked on. Seek to understand and redress past harms on individuals and communities caused by Sierra Club’s work.
Honoring the time and energy of others: Recognize, appreciate and value the time, energy and resources of volunteers, colleagues and partners through affirmation and, where appropriate, compensation.
Constructive feedback and generative conflict: Provide and openly receive constructive feedback and proactively attend to conflict as an opportunity for learning and growth.
Mutual accountability: In your work with colleagues and partners, establish and follow through on shared commitments regarding transparent communication and processes for decision-making, consultation and evaluation. When needed, adapt commitments to support changing needs of marginalized communities.
Inclusion rests on the idea that every individual, regardless of their abilities, identity, or background, has the right to participate fully in our society. Inclusion builds community across difference, and tears down barriers that keep us from working together.
Because we value inclusion, Sierra Club staff and volunteers practice:
Centering the needs and views of others. Inclusion means that we have to move away from centering our own personal needs and instead, look for a solution that meets the needs of others. It also recognizes that the compromised solution will serve more than just your needs. Inclusion will include thoughtful exploration of the possible solutions: Some for you. Some for me. Some for us.
Respect. Inclusion rests on the practice of encouraging the civil and respectful expression of ideas and opinions. It requires listening to others and developing a self-awareness of how you express yourself, recognizing that the impact of words and actions matter.
Sharing responsibility. Inclusion requires each of us to bear the responsibility of creating a positive culture and to safeguard equity, inclusion, dignity, and respect for all. It also requires that we act when we observe someone being treated unfairly or in a demeaning manner.
Although we anticipate Grand Canyon Chapter staff and volunteers will consistently operate with these values in mind, we will enforce the standards of conduct and national processes for accountability in the event that these important practices and behaviors are not followed. Additionally, we reserve the right to ask anyone to remove themselves from the Chapter’s work following a severe offense or repeated offenses.