Skip to main content

Park Access, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for All CA Prop 68 #prop68forall

On behalf of frontline communities, we support full funding to comply with the mandate of the people in Prop 68 to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and access to parks, waters, and monuments for all. Furthermore, we support ensuring recipients of Prop 68 funding comply with equal access provisions.

Dear Governor Newsom, President Atkins, and Speaker Rendon:

On behalf of frontline communities in California, we urge you to include full funding in the state budget for 2019-20 in order to comply with the mandate of the people in Proposition 68 to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and access to parks, waters, and monuments for all. Furthermore, we urge you to ensure recipients of Prop 68 funding, including state and local agencies and others, comply with equal access provisions under section 8 and other applicable laws.

People who are of color or low income disproportionately lack the benefits of parks and recreation, including access to parks and recreation, and are disproportionately burdened by pollution and health vulnerabilities in California. This is well documented by the US EPA’s EJ Screen, as well as CalEnviroScreen.

California voters who are of color or low are consistently the strongest supporters of funding, protections, and access for natural and cultural resources. Yet they remain marginalized by mainstream environmental organizations, government agencies, and foundations. The people overwhelmingly passed Prop 68 in 2018.

Diversity, equity and inclusion lies at the heart of Prop 68. Prop 68, including section 8, does the following:
• Recognizes the underinvestment in parks, trails, and outdoor infrastructure in disadvantaged areas.
• Favors disadvantaged communities for certain projects.
• Provides workforce education and training, contractor and job opportunities for disadvantaged communities.
• Provides standards for outreach to minority, low-income and disabled populations, and tribal communities.

Requires annual audits to measure progress and equity, and hold public officials accountable.

Prioritizes projects that avoid green displacement as communities become greener, more desirable and more expensive.

Programs and activities to engage diverse populations, including minority, low-income and disabled people and tribal communities, include the following:
• Conduct active outreach to diverse populations about programs and opportunities.
• Mentor new environmental, outdoor recreation and conservation leaders to increase diverse representation.
• Create new partnerships with state, local, tribal, private and nonprofit organizations to expand access.
• Increase visitation and access.
• Expand multilingual and culturally appropriate materials.
• Develop or expand efforts to promote youth engagement and empowerment, including partnerships with diversity-serving and youth-serving organizations.
• Identify staff liaisons to diverse populations.

Calls for “equity,” without proper data and accountability standards, will not work and instead will exacerbate inequities.[1]

For these reasons, we urge you to require that all state agencies and conservancies adopt grant guideless for community access in consultation with frontline environmental justice organizations before any funds are distributed and before December 1, 2019.

Prop 68 and section 8 is based on the Presidential Memorandum called Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, National Forests, and Other Public Lands and Waters (2017). Both in turn are based on federal or state laws or both. The purpose is to ensure all the people of California have the opportunity to enjoy public lands and waters, to engage in decisions about how public lands and waters are managed, and that the public workforce is drawn from the rich range of the diversity in our Nation. In this memorandum, “diversity” refers to a range of characteristics including national origin, state and nation so that all individuals have opportunities to participate and contribute to their full potential.

Best practice examples to promote implementation of Prop 68, including section 8 and the community access provisions, include the following:
• California Coastal Commission, Environmental Justice Policy 2019.[2]
• National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity (2017).[3]
•  PRRAC, Strategies for Health Justice: Lessons from the Field (2018). [4]

California LULAC is the state council of the largest and oldest Hispanic Organization in the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 1,00 LULAC councils nationwide. LULAC involves and serves all Hispanic nationality groups. calulac.org.

The Praxis Project is a national movement support intermediary committed to capacity building for social change. Our emphasis is on developing fields of work in ways that encourage multi-level, trans-disciplinary learning and collaboration across issues, across the country, and across the globe. www.thepraxisproject.org.

GreenLatinos is a national non-profit organization that convenes a broad coalition of Latino leaders committed to addressing national, regional and local environmental, natural resources, conservation and social justice issues that significantly affect the health and welfare of the Latino community in the United States. www.greenlatinos.org.

National Parks Conservation Association is protecting and enhancing the National Park System for present and future generations. www.npca.org. 

The City Project / Proyecto del Pueblo, a non-profit civil rights team dedicated to equal justice, democracy, and livability for all, has been a leader in equal access to parks and recreation, environmental justice, and health equity for twenty years.

Thank you for your leadership.

Very truly yours

Yvonne Gonzalez Duncan, State Director, California LULAC

Rick Castaniero, Director, Ventura County LULAC, District 17

Miguel Rodriguez, Oxnard LULAC Chapter President

Xavier Morales, Ph.D., The Praxis Project, Inc.,

Jessica Loya, National Policy Director, GreenLatinos

Ron Sundergill, Senior Director, NPCA Pacific Regional Office

Robert García, Founding Director-Counsel, The City Project, rgarcia@cityprojectca.org

[1] Policy Report, Park funds for park poor and income poor communities under Prop 84 and AB 31 standards (2014), www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/32075.

[2] The policy report is available at https://documents.coastal.ca.gov/assets/env-justice/CCC_EJ_Policy_FINAL.pdf. Related information is available at www.coastal.ca.gov/env-justice/.

[3] National Academies at pp. 354-55 (2017). The full committee report, along with recommendations and a comic book summary, is available at www.nationalacademies.org/promotehealthequity.

[4] Mark Magaña, Xavier Morales, & Robert García, A Framework for Civil Rights, Environmental Justice, and Health Equity, chapter in Strategies for Health Justice: Lessons from the Field (2018), pp. 45-57 (Poverty Race & Research Action Council). The handbook is available at available at prrac.org/pdf/health_justice_rpt.pdf.

Download the public comment letter.