WFO Statement on Racial Justice

Protests have made it plain that injustice aimed particularly at Blacks is pervasive in our country. The recent killings of Blacks by police have had tragic consequences for our society. The interaction involving Christian Cooper, a Black birdwatcher in New York’s Central Park, revealed that implicit as well as explicit forms of racism are much more widespread than many of us have recognized.

Equally important is a fundamental change of heart and a willingness to understand these issues. When society works to understand the longstanding forms of racism, we can make more effective long-term changes for many who suffer discrimination. These turbulent times require all of us to comprehend, speak out, and work for societal change.

The WFO board of directors condemns all acts of individual and institutional racism, harassment, and discrimination. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families recently affected by these acts of violence. We have an obligation to make our world a safer and more inclusive place. The American Ornithological Society, as well as other ornithological, birding and conservation groups have articulated important ideas and paths forward.

The primary goal of WFO is to promote knowledge and education about the birds of western North America. We work to provide opportunities for all people to study and observe birds. Our community of field ornithologists benefits tremendously from racial and cultural diversity. We should reflect on how individual actions, perceptions, and words can contribute to diversity and inclusion. WFO will continue to develop, maintain and foster a culture of inclusion and awareness. The WFO board will take specific actions to encourage fuller inclusion in field ornithology. Achieving this goal is a priority for WFO now and in the months and years ahead. All suggestions in accomplishing this are encouraged and welcome.