Confronting Racism

To all friends of AVIS and our valued Andover open spaces:

Like many of you, we are appalled by the injustices and acts of violence against racially marginalized groups. The events that have unfolded in the past weeks and months shake us all. The murders of unarmed black people over decades, and the recent protests (that have followed), illustrate the historic, systemic racism and environmental injustice that exists in our country towards people of color, especially Black and Brown people.

To address these injustices, we commit to work with partners and grassroots organizations to ensure everyone has access to clean air, clean water, and open space; We will focus on the climate crisis, which causes people of color to bear the burden of some of climate change’s worst impacts; we will work to ensure we create access to our reservations and trails that is safe and welcoming to everyone; we will reach out to and work with environmental partners in Lawrence and other Greater Lawrence communities. In particular, we will continue to work to increase linkages between AVIS trails and trails in Lawrence along the rivers.

Systemic racism is a public health and environmental issue. We recognize the leadership of frontline organizations and individuals. We stand with them in the call for justice, accountability, and an end to violence. We additionally commit to educating ourselves, our families and loved ones on the historic and current racism across Massachusetts, to understand cultures and practices that perpetuate systems of racism, and to advocate for policies and support elected leaders willing to address these issues.

We have much work to do to become more inclusive so we can better represent the diversity in both Andover and Greater Lawrence. We will reach out to include more people of color as members, participants and trustees. We hope you will stand with us in solidarity with those fighting racism and injustice, and share your thoughts on how we can make AVIS and Andover a stronger, more just community where people of color feel safe and welcome walking our open space.

Thank you from the AVIS Trustees