Next 100 Coalition Thanks Senator Cortez Masto, Members Following National Summit in Nevada
WASHINGTON, May 7, 2018 – The Next 100 Coalition, a group of 50 civil rights, environmental justice, conservation, and community organizations, heralded the success of its May 4-5 summit in Las Vegas and thanked participants — including U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto — for their input and ideas on how best to promote and implement a more equitable and inclusive public lands and conservation system.
View pictures from the Next 100 Coalition’s summit.
In her address to summit participants Saturday morning, Senator Cortez Masto stressed the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in public lands management, particularly highlighting the public health and economic benefits of those spaces and the need for greater access to those opportunities for underserved communities. She spoke to the need for a more diverse public lands workforce. She also emphasized the need for more youth development and internship programs to build the pipeline for tomorrow’s conservation and public lands workforce and entrepreneurs.
“Thank you to U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Coalition members, and our allies for gathering last week to discuss our national strategy to support equitable and inclusive management of our public lands,” said Kevin Bryan, coordinator of the Next 100 Coalition. “The Coalition and its members left the summit energized and inspired to continue to identify and support public lands policies that address gaps in access, engagement, and workforce diversity and honor our nation’s diverse history. This summit was an important milestone for the Coalition and we’re looking forward to turning our discussions of strategy into action over the coming weeks and months.”
“We are grateful to have Senator Cortez Masto in Nevada helping us work collectively to protect our public lands and to expand the ability of America’s diverse communities to access and enjoy them,” said Jocelyn Torres, Nevada program director for Conservation Lands Foundation. “Our public spaces are irreplaceable to the American story and contain the character and spirit of the West that defines our country. The Next 100 Coalition accepts the Senator’s charge to advance this work and will lead with our allies and partners to safeguard these special places for all communities.”
Listen to Nevada Public Radio’s coverage of the Next 100 Coalition summit.
The Coalition’s summit came at a time when public land vital to diverse communities in the West, including Gold Butte National Monument, are under threat. It also followed recent derogatory remarks from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on the value of diversity within his own department.
The Coalition’s Vision
Throughout history, our public lands — including national parks, forests, waters, wetlands monuments and other areas — have played an important role in shaping America’s identity. Unfortunately, these lands have not always accurately reflected the true nature of our country’s demographic and ethnic diversity and contributions. This disconnect is becoming more apparent as the face of our country continues to change at a rapid pace and more urgent because the future of our public lands will depend upon public support from all people.
Without a broad base of support, we are at risk of losing the historic, cultural, natural, spiritual, economic and recreational resources that our public lands currently provide and of missing opportunities to identify and conserve other valuable resources for future generations.
The Coalition is driven by three guiding principles: 1) respect for the diverse cultures of our land; 2) active engagement of all people in the management and use of that land; and 3) reflection of the histories and experiences of all our nation’s people. We envision:
- A public lands and conservation workforce that reflects the growing diversity of our nation, both in rank-and-file positions in throughout leadership ranks.
- Abundant opportunities for people, especially those from marginalized communities, to enjoy nature and outdoor recreation, through federal public lands, state parks, and city open space.
- Establishment of public lands that reflect the diverse culture and experiences of our people, and respect and uplift our collective experience in America.
“Our national monuments, marine protected areas, and public lands are the storytellers of the shared histories and the diverse communities that make this country great… Conserving our natural, cultural, historical, and spiritual heritage through our public lands and waters system is a core value of our country, one that brings all people together. The protection of our existing national monuments is critical to not only telling a more complete story of America, but also to ensuring that future generations can learn and enjoy these places.” – Next 100 Coalition