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The Black Environmental Collective seeks to center and lift up the thoughts, voices, and experiences of Black and brown people. Companies, institutions, non-profits, and others that are seeking “to do equity work” or “include community voices” often turn to us to connect them to these communities or to represent them.   


While we appreciate this intention and desire, actions must match intent. To remain true to The Collective’s mission and values, we thoroughly evaluate each potential project, in terms of its viability, our capacity and in terms of the proposed engagement process.   


We would like to see that the work: 

  1. Connects to our mission and overarching objectives 

  2. Aligns with our current work 

  3. Engages with groups in meaningful and respectful ways 

  4. Builds meaningful long-term relationships with the community 

  5. Recognizes and centers the voices and priorities of those most affected 

  6. Prioritizes residents from these communities in the decisions, research, and investments so that they are the primary beneficiaries 

  7. Benefits the communities that are being engaged 

  8. Leads to transformed practices within the organization conducting the work 


We avoid instances in which: 

  1. The Collective’s participation in the project is for the purposes of checking an “equity,” “diversity,” or “community inclusion” box 

  2. The Collective’s role in the project is to be an intermediary or gateway to accessing “the community” for the purposes of more box-checking 

  3. The thoughts, voices, and experiences of Black and brown people are included in name only 

  4. The project involves other types of transactional relationships. 

  5. The commitment to equity is superficial 

  6. The Collective is seen as both a means and an end to an interest in equity and inclusion. 


Creating a more equitable and just society requires a lot of work and it begins with committing to and practicing respect, humility, and relationship-building. We are happy to partner with other companies, organizations, and groups that demonstrate these values in their words and actions. We look forward to making impactful change with you!