Striving for Equitable Outcomes

Painting: Amy Tam

By Audrey Mei Yi Brown

Five people of color, four of whom who were women, took center stage in a full amphitheater for a 2019 State of the Estuary conference panel discussing how to achieve more equitable outcomes in both human and estuary health. Mishal Durrani, an undergraduate researcher at UC Berkeley, observed from the audience. “As a woman of color from an underrepresented community, it was powerful to see a panel with so many women of color represented.” As multi-racial as it was multidisciplinary, the diversity on the stage was striking. From community frontlines to the university to the EPA, each panelist brought expertise in equity work from a different field. Despite the diversity in their fields, it quickly became apparent that they all experience many of the same barriers in their work. Some key strategies for those seeking community expertise and input mentioned during the panel included: be willing to get uncomfortable (beyond 9-5); think about bi-directional power and learning (rather than top down); streamline the process to access funds; and validate local understanding. Art: Amy Tam.

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About the author

Audrey Brown is an independent writer based in the Bay Area who works at the intersection of environment, culture, social equity, food, art and climate. She covers environmental climate justice issues for Estuary, among other topics.

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