An Open Letter to Our Community: anti-racism & environmental action

June 5, 2020

Dear Friend of Ironwood Tree Experience,

On June 4th, Dorothy, a sixteen-year-old member of our Tucson community, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Ironwood Tree Experience, stood in and stood up for her community. Dorothy, or Dot as they prefers to be called, took the lead to organize a peaceful, yet determined 14-hour Black Lives Matter youth protest in a park in Tucson. Dot is still 2 years away from casting a vote, but now, they are intent on casting their voice into the world. Dot expects to be heard, that in some way they can make a difference, and perhaps we all will care enough to join Dot, not with small steps, but with purposeful strides toward a greater change.

At Ironwood Tree Experience, we hear from countless young people just like Dot who are eager to make our community, and the world, a better place for everyone. In these young people, we have great hope for the future.

It’s been less than two weeks since the murder of George Floyd, and more than 400 years of institutionalized slavery and savagery upon Black Americans, Native Americans, other People of Color, and marginalized communities. This has unfortunately encoded our national psyche with pure racism and inherent biases and prejudices that have filled the lives of so many with anger, heartache, and despair. However, this is not encoded in the Preamble of our Constitution, nor in the hearts of many who want to make a difference and live to see a change for a more just, equitable, and dignified future.

To reconfigure our future, today we must step forward with purposeful strides to support one another and help amplify those whose voices need to be heard and actions need to be embodied. We must do this for our own future, yet for the countless people – young and old – who protest time and again, for those who fight daily to express their civil rights that many take for granted or believe are only for certain people, and for those who have been murdered, attacked, mistreated, and disrespected. To make a meaningful, compassionate change, we must be willing to be vulnerable and acknowledge our own inherent biases and prejudices and to commit to a daily practice of real action.

The people of Ironwood Tree Experience fiercely love our community and strive to build a foundation of hope where everyone, especially our youth members, is empowered and inspired to forge a future that sustains love, dignity, and respect for all living things on this planet. In solidarity with the mission of Black Lives Matter, and the young people we serve, we vow to examine, acknowledge, and make positive changes to ensure that the people of Ironwood Tree Experience embody a daily practice of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

~Suzanne and Eric Dhruv,
Founders and Directors
On behalf of the ITE Board of Directors and Staff