As a predominantly white staff, we have to take it upon ourselves — as a team and as individuals — to uphold and model these beliefs. It is important to us that we prioritize listening and unlearning, and that we strive to create change in our community and the space that we inhabit. We will continue to prioritize and share this work, regardless of any backlash, and will stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and POC communities and the Plant.
We will intentionally seek and act on opportunities to diversify representation in yoga and climbing and challenge the sport and industry’s history of being predominantly white and male by uncovering erased voices and actively standing against racist and discriminatory narratives in the outdoors.
This will look like consciously inviting BIPOC communities and people outside of ASCEND’s close circle to be a part of representing this space, including in our Community Advisory Board.
This will also look like purposefully diversifying our staff and leadership teams, including our Board to ensure our staff and leadership is representative of the communities we serve and seek to support.
We will prioritize programs and structures that address unequal access to this sport and space, and will incorporate the intersections of environmental and social justice into our mission and messaging.
This will look like creating programs that address challenges of transportation, gear, training, cultural histories, and more, in addition to financial support.
This will also look like standing in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and POC communities, advocating on their behalf, and amplifying their messages, especially taking a vocal stance in political and cultural moments that impact BIPOC communities.
We are committed to prioritizing the safety, health, and emotional/mental well-being of our employees and believe that our staff comes first, and will always seek to support them, above the demands of business growth.
This will look like providing equitable pay for all staff and freelance workers and earnestly creating space for employees to live healthy lives.
This will also look like respecting the boundaries of BIPOC employees (and customers) and not asking them to perform emotional labor for us in pursuit of these initiatives. Similarly, we will operate from a primary standpoint of believing and trusting our employees when they report issues and ensuring they are safely heard by HR and the appropriate parties.
We expect ASCEND staff to abide by these values and beliefs, and to treat every person in the ASCEND community with respect and empathy. We will enforce these expectations in order to create a healthy community space and ask staff and community to hold the ASCEND management team accountable as well.
This will look like providing training to staff about racial, social, and environmental justice, and in particular, how it affects BIPOC communities.
This will also look like regularly inviting opportunities for the community to be engaged in the conversation and conduct critical self-reflection as a company on how we uphold these values.
We will expand our business and influence in the SWPA region and the climbing industry with careful consideration and collaboration with the Pittsburgh communities (urban and regional) that we inhabit, and strive to develop working relationships.
This will look like sharing our work and findings with those in our industry.
This will also look like developing relationships with local communities and critically examining the impact we are having on the dynamics of our neighborhoods.
We will Identify training opportunities for management to learn how to create a culture of accountability, starting with the Intersectional Environmentalist accountability program.