I share, along with all of us at the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, the heartbreaking pain, outrage and exasperation at witnessing, yet again, the impacts of injustice, racism, discrimination and subconscious biases in our society. We stand in unity with our Black and Indigenous communities, and all people of color. We condemn racist behaviors and the systems that create, condone or remain indifferent to those behaviors.
As general manager of a public agency that plays a leading role in regional conservation, I take seriously our responsibility to provide inclusion and equity in open space access. In our nation’s quest to build a more perfect union, change must occur at all levels in our society — not just for the sake of our democracy, but for the sake of our humanity.
The work we do — protecting open space, caring for the land, plants and wildlife, preserving rural character, encouraging viable agricultural land use and connecting people to nature — gives people a place for introspection and an opportunity to renew hope. We invite you to visit an open space preserve to take time amidst the tranquility of nature to reflect on the changes that we, as individuals, can spark within ourselves, our families and among our friends, as well as within our communities, to bring much needed positive change and healing.
I am grateful for the opportunity that Midpen provides everyone in our region, regardless of race, background, income, gender, sexual orientation, age or physical ability, to connect with nature — and with each other as humans on this shared planet. Nature welcomes everyone with open arms to witness and experience its infinite beauty, peaceful serenity and magical wonder. Nature can teach, through shared experiences and common values, the importance of caring for our natural environment.
As you head out to the preserves, consider how these special places allow us to build community and strengthen the inherent bonds we hold with each other as human beings and as stewards of our planet. Be inspired by the awe of nature — how every living creature coexists in collective harmony, depending on each other to keep fragile natural systems thriving. We can all apply the lessons of nature to our own lives: reminding ourselves of our kinship with each other, and taking actions to change the inequities and injustices that persist, so that we humans, too, can ensure that our entire society thrives.
Ana María Ruiz