Rainforest Action Network and Racial Justice and Racial Equity

For over 30 years, RAN has fought to preserve forests, protect the climate and uphold human rights. Fighting against systemic injustice and partnering with communities on the frontlines of these efforts have been core values at RAN since its founding in 1985

Challenging racial injustice and racial inequity falls directly in line with our mission, vision and values. We cannot fulfill our mission, achieve our vision, or embody our values if we do not actively address this fundamental systemic injustice that informs every aspect of society.

We maintain that neutrality on this issue is not an option. We must address the issue of racial inequity directly to avoid perpetuating unjust systems while we try to solve equally pressing — and intrinsically connected — issues such as stopping climate change, transitioning to a clean energy economy or preserving critical ecosystems.

RAN’s Theory of Change and Racial Equity

Our focus on challenging corporate power for people and planet has not changed. What we are hoping to change is how we do that work — we being the staff at RAN, the greater environmental movement, and society at large.

By consciously applying a racial equity analysis to our work, we are working to challenge the implicit biases we all hold and to create a broader, more inclusive, and more effective organization and movement.

RAN and the Movement for Black Lives Platform

We feel the Movement for Black Lives platform falls directly in line with our programmatic and ideological goals to create a more just and sustainable world. We also feel the urgency of this movement needs as broad-based support as possible at this specific point in time.

The comprehensive and deeply researched nature of this platform will help sharpen RAN’s approach to many of our core values, including challenging racial injustice, working for systemic change, and recognizing the intersectionality within all social justice movements.

RAN’s Evolving Strategies

RAN’s strategies to challenge corporate power are always evolving — from peaceful blockades to social media surges; from hi-jacking corporate brands to organizing shareholders. We will continue to organize actions that may involve peaceful arrestable demonstrations — while openly acknowledging that risk of arrest and differential treatment by law enforcement and government agencies is greatly influenced by race and privilege.

RAN has a history of working closely with frontline communities across the globe — and we will continue that tradition with an even sharper eye toward which campaigns we choose to launch, from whom we seek leadership and which community voices should be amplified in the process.

Incorporating a Racial Justice Analysis

Along with endorsing the Movement for Black Lives platform, RAN has long subscribed to the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing that prescribe inclusive, shared leadership and just relationships between participants from different cultures, politics and organizations.

Likewise, over many years RAN has developed and constantly revised (with input from many partners) our own Guidelines for Working with Indigenous Peoples and Frontline Communities that outlines protocols and expectations for developing honest and authentic partnerships in order to run effective campaigns and achieve our mission.

RAN has also created programmatic and editorial racial justice and racial equity analysis protocols that allows us to examine if and how our campaigns and communications can be leveraged to explicitly challenge systems of racial prejudice.