Statement From Ocean Institute
Belief to Action
Our hearts are with those who have been most impacted by the persistent racial inequities whose ripple effects permeate widely and deeply. We have always had an anti-racism position and we will increase our intentional support of communities of color.
Our work at Ocean Institute is rooted in a philosophy of access, inclusion, inspiration, and growth.
We have a long tradition of supporting diverse learners, and we will do more.
Working with black leaders, the leaders of other communities of color, and our counterparts throughout the country, Ocean Institute is committing to do more than it has ever done before to implement positive changes to its operations that are intended to improve the lives of people of color.
Team meetings, an internal survey, and distribution of resources that are intended to create a safe and collaborative environment and build our understanding of how to attract and support diverse visitors and employees have begun- and will continue.
Ocean Institute assembled a task force of accomplished black professionals working in ocean/STEM fields and ocean-related counterparts to help us, and others in our profession, as we take action to increase diversity and inclusivity.
Ocean Institute recently hosted its first webinar designed with a panel of black leaders, and they provided specific input and guidance on how we and other similar organizations can structurally support people of color and the messages that should come from us and other organizations. That series will continue.
Allyship and Action
We are proud of our past commitment to ensuring that every child can access our programs through Adopt-A-Class (started in 2001), Student Aid, and scholarships, and while working with and listening to black leaders recently, we learned we can do even more. More deliberate, intentional, authentic, and on-going interaction with the communities we aim to reach are promising practices that we will engage in to ensure we widen the pipeline to STEM to communities of color.
We have a demonstrated track record of answering needs related to connecting specific populations with specific programs. Girls in Ocean Science answered the need for pathways for females into marine science. Our Ocean-in-Motion program supports students with special needs. Our partnership with the Mexican Consulate brings more Latino families to Ocean Institute events. And we can and will do more.
Recent events have led us to hold a mirror up to our organization as we ask about the makeup of our leadership, Board, and employees. Our reflection points to a clear need and an opportunity that Ocean Institute is well-positioned to create. In collaboration with our advisors from black communities, we are designing a new program that is devoted to widening the pipeline to STEM for black school children. We will connect students to new experiences, perspectives, and educational and career pathways related to the ocean, and we will influence the growth of diversity in the ocean science fields.
We do not have all of the answers now. We are asking the right questions to the right people to develop the right programs for this clear need that we have the experience and resources to meet.
We thank you for your support of our work over the years and shared belief in connecting everyone to all that the ocean has to offer. We will keep you posted as we take action and hope you will help us succeed.
Please support our efforts to widen the pathway to STEM, diversify our Board and workforce, and strengthen our culture of inclusion. Please join us or point us to the speakers, leaders, educators, and community members with whom we should be speaking to meet our shared goals.
Wendy Marshall, President & CEO
Vipe Desai, Chairman of the Board