Sustainability, as we are often reminded, is all about the triple bottom line. Those lines are: Environmental, Social, and Economic. Change, engagement, transparency, and uplift take place on a variety of timescales. Equal opportunity and an equal sense of belonging for all our community members is certainly a part of this process.
For EarthWays Center this means greater focus and mindfulness on:
- Expanding our networks and outreach to ensure inclusion of marginalized groups.
- Being good advocates for and promoting the work of minority lead organizations involved in complementary efforts in our region including: community gardening, STEM education, energy efficiency, and community development.
- Challenging ourselves and those around us to continue our studies and critical introspection related to sustainability, environmental, and social justice.
Here are links to a two-part series that ran via St Louis Public Radio in November 2021 on the subject of restrictive covenants. There are both written and audio parts of these pieces. The Garden is a part of this story.
"30,000 St. Louis properties have racial covenants in their deeds. Your home could be one", St. Louis Public Radio. Learn more >
"St. Louis homeowners want to get rid of racial covenants. But in Missouri, it's complicated" Learn more >
Quoting from the piece, ‘”Amanda Shields, director of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, said that the garden’s lawyers recently looked into what could be done about it. She said acknowledging its role in upholding racially restrictive covenants is part of a commitment to re-examine its history.
“We certainly support focusing on not only getting rid of the language but the spirit of what that language represents,” she said. “Although we’re not aware of anything existing right now, if there was an appropriate legal remedy to do that we would certainly be open to supporting moving in that direction.”’
The original plat map of the "Shaw's Garden subdivision" shows lots located just west of the Missouri Botanical Garden that were previously owned by the garden's board of trustees. In 1923, the board signed a racial covenant, which states that trustees are “desirous of maintaining the same general character of residents and property owners as now exist in the immediate vicinity of the Missouri Botanical Garden therefore the said Board of Trustees, Missouri Botanical Garden, hereby restricts the occupancy or ownership of any lot or portions of lots in the aforesaid subdivision to members of the Caucasian race.” (Photo by Brian Munoz / St. Louis Public Radio)
We look forward to continuing to share actions and insights in the realm of diversity, inclusion, and belonging within the Garden's EarthWays Center.