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Clean Water Conference challenges organization to seek diversity

At clean water conferences throughout the country, Jill Witkowski says someone usually stands up and makes a comment along the lines of, “Why are we so white?”

At the Choose Clean Water Coalition conference this week, which she organized, she encouraged environmental groups in attendance to make that more than a passing observation. Attendees filled out diversity surveys at the registration table to help the coalition collect baseline data about the demographics of the attendees and the groups they represented. And they had the chance to hear from speakers who specialize in both diversity and environmental justice, areas of admitted weakness for several Chesapeake Bay organizations.

“Our priority is ensuring that all the investments we make in the Bay and in the Bay cleanup are shared equitably,” Witkowski said. “People across the region should all share in the benefits of clean water.”

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