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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee
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The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Committee is a diverse group of park and recreation professionals pursuing meaningful action toward racial and social equity for all in recreation and park spaces.

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Our mission is to enact change by recognizing diversity in our communities, building equitable systems, and providing inclusive spaces and programs.


  • Providing educational opportunities
  • Serving in an advisory role to the ORPA Board of Directors and staff to ensure organizational equity
  • Supporting educational events on the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Helping make the ORPA Annual Conference more equitable, diverse, and inclusive for attendees and speakers
  • Expanding opportunities for black, indigenous, and people of color in the parks and recreation profession
  • Creating space to explore and engage in dialogue about equity
  • Providing tools and resources for professionals


  • Access to public lands, recreation and facilities is an inherent right of all people.
  • Access to the benefits of nature, open space, community activities and events, improve the quality of life that nurtures the spirit, body, and mind.
  • Access to recreation and education on public lands can heal a rift between human and natural communities and can contribute to a more sustainable and equitable use of natural resources.
  • Power structures exist in communities that limit the ability of marginalized communities to access parks and recreation services which undermines the ability for all community members to prosper.
  • Racism is at the root of social oppressions and deserves special attention in equity work.  Read our statement on anti-racism.
  • True structural change requires diversity in leadership and impactful positions.
  • Having open and difficult conversations about the role white supremacy plays, including implicit and explicit bias, in our current structure is necessary in order to dismantle white supremacy.
  • The goal of social justice work is liberation.  We believe liberation is possible and can be accessible to everyone.
  • We must continually learn and challenge our conventional beliefs in order to evolve while also recognizing the process will be imperfect.



    This group welcomes people of color, immigrants, refugees, people from the LGBTQ+ community, neurodiverse people, the differently-abled, and all other traditionally overlooked voices to join the DEI Committee.

    Operating in a consensus-building, shared-leadership, manner, the committee consists of a core group of leaders committed to carrying out the mission and vision of the committee.  Additionally, the committee contains four workgroups, open to additional volunteers interested in assisting with specific projects.



    The following workgroups serve to execute the projects and priorities of the DEI Committee.  The first three workgroups are led by core members of the committee. The fourth workgroup (Directors) operates as an arm of the committee but is not led by the core group.  Click on a workgroup name below to learn more.

    This workgroup plays a role in one of the tenants of the ORPA mission to provide education to park and recreation professionals. Projects include:

    • Creating an acceessible conference
    • Expanding DEI-related sessions at conference
    • Sourcing educational opportunties on the topics of equity and inclusion

    The Engagement workgroup serves to increase membership engagement and help make social connections, as well as communcating to the broader park and recreation industry.

    • Connects members in affinity groups and supports listening sessions
    • Provides regular updates to the ORPA Board of Directors and serves as a liaison for the committee
    • Crafts notifications and press releases for the ORPA membership

    This workgroup develops resources to be used in the park and recreation industry as well as professionals. On-going projects include:

    • Developing a "handbook" of resources related to social justice
    • Sharing resources in the ORPA Resource Library
    • Connecting park and recreation professionals with partners and external resources to support equity work inside agencies

    This workgroup serves as an arm of the DEI Committee and is comprised of agency and district directors. Projects include:

    • Identifying funding sources for agencies to establish and execute equity plans
    • Working in tandem with the Legislative Committee regarding any legislature impacting equity in parks
    • Elevating all Oregon agencies to standards of equity work through support and certication


    This is the only workgroup in which core members of the group do not sit and vice versa - no directors sit in the core committee. This is purposefully designed to prevent existing power structures from unintentionally disrupting the equity work of the committee. It allows directors of agencies to be involved in related work, while maintaining the autonomy of the committee.



    Statement of Intent

    On June 13th, 2019, representative of the group, Lonny Flora, presented a Statement of Intent developed by stakeholders.  This statement defines the purpose of the group, as well as identifies the future direction and planning.  You can read more about the statement here.

    For the most up-to-date news regarding this committee, check out the ORPA Blog.


    The DEI Committee has accomplished:

    • Approval from the ORPA Executive Board to form the committee that will provide recommendations on actions to be taken to support DEI practices throughout Oregon.
    • Developing a curation process for annual conference session presenters to identify and highlight DEI focused topics
    • Organization of online resources available to ORPA membership on best practices and issues related to DEI topics
    • Formation of DEI Committee structure, including a core committee meeting regularly and broader supporting group of members





    We are looking to partner with stakeholders who share our goal of making park and recreation services more accessible and equitable. 

    Looking to be a part of an inclusive group of park and recreation professionals seeking to improve our industry?  Whether you have experience in coalition building, equity work, or simply want to be a part of an effort working toward social justice, we welcome everyone.

    Participation in the DEI Committee is a collaborative effort made up of a diverse group of individuals.  Participation is not restricted to ORPA membership.  We encourage professionals from parks and recreation, non-profit organizations, partner organizations or other interested stakeholders to join.

    Contact ORPA Staff Amanda Parsons for more information on getting involved.



    Oregon Recreation & Park Association | PO Box #202, Lake Oswego OR 97034 | 503.534.5673
    ORPA is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization