After all that has transpired since the events of the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in Denver, Colorado, one thing had yet to occur—a formal statement from Teresa Baker.
When Camber Outdoors introduced its CEO Equity Pledge, with the intention of making the outdoor industry more diverse, equitable and inclusive, the document was framed as the “first of its kind." As previous efforts had been undertaken months earlier by Teresa Baker, an African-American environmental justice activist, through her Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge, there were many people of color and sympathetic allies in the outdoor community who took exception.
Following the resignation of Camber’s executive director Deanne Buck and a formal statement of apology, Baker had not publicly publicly responded to the events, until now. In the following statement shared exclusively with SNEWS, Baker expresses her forgiveness and willingness to work with industry professionals toward the common goals of DEI, and calls upon the industry to let bygones be bygones.
Teresa Baker's full statement on "moving forward in forgiveness":
I’m learning my responsibility to forgiveness. I have a better understanding of the saying, forgiving others isn’t about them, it’s about you. I’ve struggled with this over the past few months and how I need to trust in my faith and believe that change is possible even through discourse.
I feel the outdoor industry is at the proverbial “fork in the road.” Which direction does it take to maintain its growth, how does it mend some of the issues that it now faces and who is responsible for bringing all the different voices and concerns together? I believe the answer to that is WE ALL PLAY A ROLE in patching things and moving them forward.
I have started to patch things with Camber Outdoors, conversations are being had, action plans are in place. It has taken me some time to reach this point, but allowing things to linger doesn’t repair them, it takes individuals coming together with the understanding that we may never be on the same page, but we care enough about a subject to listen respectfully and move forward in action. I’m ready to move forward in action.
I’ve had so many people reach out to me asking for advice on how to not make mistakes in the work of DEI. My advice has been to not focus on mistakes that may take place, focus on doing the work with individuals who have skin in the game. I believe mistakes will happen, but if respect is built into the work, we can come together and talk through those mistakes without them blowing up over social media.
So, to Camber Outdoors, I hold no animosity, I continue to extend my hand in equitable collaboration. I encourage you to lead your DEI efforts in respect of others who have been doing this work for years. And most importantly, know that your road ahead may be bumpy, but trust in the promise of change.
Let us all honor Ann Krcik by moving forward in respect of the org she help to create.