GrowSmart Maine Statement: Black Lives Matter.

GrowSmart Maine is committed to doing our part to end racial inequality throughout Maine and our nation. Reflecting on the chaotic and heartbreaking events of recent weeks, we have heard the call to prioritize racial equity in our work to build lasting prosperity without sacrificing the quality of life that defines Maine.

We know that conventional land use, housing and transportation policies, and inequitable school funding have often contributed to destructive divides in our country, producing sprawling places while marking a stark separation of both uses and people. We also know that these practices have the power to promote racial and social equity by providing housing choices for all, safe, inclusive built and natural environments, environmental justice, access to economic and educational opportunities, and celebration of culture. It is time for all of us to take a hard look at who is included in our leadership, opportunities and communities, and who is being left out.

Our internal work has begun with shared reflection on ensuring that equity is centered in our 5-year strategic plan and annual work plans. As a small staff working statewide, we commit our limited capacity to fully investigating both how we do our work and how that work must change to dismantle these destructive systems. We will take action to ensure that GrowSmart Maine is helping Maine communities make meaningful strides in addressing underlying racism and inequity in their everyday operations, policies, and work such as transportation policy, land use and community planning.

Current events remind us that addressing racial inequity is an essential component of smart growth and GrowSmart Maine is committed to supporting and building communities that are just, safe and provide opportunities for ALL. We invite you to join us in this journey. You can expect to hear from us again about our progress and how you can participate at the end of the summer.