As the Hudson Valley begins to reopen, it’s tempting to abandon social distancing and other guidelines. However, when visiting Scenic Hudson parks, I strongly urge you to keep masking up — it’s the surest way to overcome this health crisis.
Building on Scenic Hudson’s recent expression of solidarity with Black people in the struggle against racism and systemic inequality, today I am proud to share our statement supporting Gov. Cuomo’s “Say Their Name” agenda to transform New York’s criminal justice system:
Scenic Hudson acknowledges that systemic racism exists in our communities and is an obstacle to fulfilling our mission to create safe parks and other public spaces for Black people and all People of Color to enjoy the healing power of nature and the Hudson River.
We stand with communities of color to bring an end to racism and injustice and to hold our public institutions accountable. We are committed to taking steps to address this goal — within our organization, through our work with local communities and as advocates for the public interest.
We firmly believe that New York State must take action to change the criminal justice system in a meaningful way. We call on the state Legislature to listen to Governor Cuomo and the needs and interests of communities of color — in the Hudson Valley and across the state — and advance legislation that addresses this issue this week.
We recognize that advancing this legislation is likely just one of many ideas needed to make outdoor spaces truly safe and comfortable for communities of color in the Hudson Valley. We are committed to learning more about the concerns of the region’s justice-based organizations, listening to and engaging in meaningful conversations with them, and partnering with them to advance these and other important issues.
Tomorrow night, Scenic Hudson kicks off our Envision Summer Series, three months of fun, informative and inspiring virtual events focused on caring, connection, community and collaboration. The inaugural event will begin at 7 p.m. with a guided tour of our People Who Make a Difference poster gallery, followed by a Q&A with one of our poster honorees — Karen Washington, co-founder of Black Urban Growers (BUGS), which supports urban and rural farmers of African descent, and co-owner of Rise & Root Farm in Orange County. The evening will wrap up with a curated selection of “Music for Change” presented by DJ Tim McQueen. I hope to “see” you there.
Until next time, stay safe and stay strong.