To our Friends and Supporters –
At Scenic America, we need to acknowledge that people across the nation are feeling deep pain and frustration right now as a result of racist violence in our communities. The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have joined a staggeringly long list of people of color killed by police forces in this country. We here at Scenic America stand in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter protestors and others who are demanding change.
It may be surprising to some that an organization like ours would be taking a stand on an issue that is so clearly about social justice, rather than scenic beauty. But Scenic America’s mission is about creating a more scenic America not just for SOME people and communities, but for ALL. A scenic America is one where there is equitable access to everything from parks and scenic byways to economic opportunity; where our youth is protected from intrusive advertising and the corrosive effects of visual blight; where the unique qualities of our communities, and their full histories, are celebrated and preserved.
It is well established that environmental, economic and racial justice are inextricably tied together – we cannot have one without the others. So we recognize that our pursuit of a scenic America for all means we must have justice for all.
We have seen first-hand that the burden of blight, visual pollution and environmental degradation falls disproportionately on communities with fewer economic resources and on communities of color. We have also seen that it is these communities who often lack the funding and capacity to protect or invest in scenic resources, even though these resources are powerful economic drivers, and the ability to leverage them is crucial to these communities’ thriving. As COVID-19 continues to negatively impact our nation’s economy, it is especially important that we ensure that the tools for economic recovery are equally accessible to all. We will continue to advocate strongly for legislation dedicated to the protection of the scenic legacy that belongs equally to all Americans, and to fight for the funding necessary for all to share in its benefits.
We have faith that our vision of a more scenic America is not just possible, but necessary and just.