As 2020 draws to a close, we have the following updates on efforts and progress towards equity, diversity, and inclusion within the ABA and the communities it serves.
We have continued to listen to and amplify BIPOC voices and to increase representation in our various media and content streams. Our publications and our podcast have featured Black, Latinx, and other non-white voices regularly. Our November issue of Birding magazine featured extensive coverage of the #BirdNames4Birds issue, including an essay by teen birder Ashwin Sivakumar. Our December issue includes content aimed at reaching a broader audience, from beginners to more experienced birders alike. In addition, all of the contributors are female, non-binary, and/or trans.
We continue to offer free electronic memberships to Black, Latinx, and other birders who will help diversify our largely white community. We will initiate a survey of the over 150 birders who signed up for these memberships in the first quarter of 2021.
We welcomed 6 new board members and bade farewell to 6. Our incoming group includes a Latinx person with a strong interest and experience in EDI efforts. Additional BIPOC board candidates were approached but none elected to move forward at this time. As of the end of 2020, our 14-person board includes 7 women, including the Chair; 1 Black birder; and 1 Latinx birder. We are always looking for board members who can diversify our leadership in the following and other ways: race/ethnicity, geographic region, gender, and non-profit stewardship and communications skill set.
A new working group of board and staff has been formed to keep moving forward on our EDI efforts and is meeting twice a month. We are also looking at the cost and efficacy of EDI training for the staff and board, among other things.
Our series of informal, short presentations by BIPOC birders for ABA board and staff has had to evolve. In short, we are now looking at expanding our free, public, online Virtual Bird Club offerings and continuing efforts to feature BIPOC voices and experiences. If you are interested in presenting a program or would like to recommend someone, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org An honorarium is offered. As always, this is a partial, not exhaustive list of our ongoing EDI efforts.
In 2021 we’ll have updates here on or before May 31 and November 30. Please let us know how we can better work to achieve our inclusive mission of inspiring ALL people to enjoy and protect wild birds.
Birding is a force for good in our society. Learning and sharing about birds translates into concern for birds and the environment, and the American Birding Association provides resources and community for all people interested in birds!