By Jessica Mathews/

Huron-Clinton Metroparks say it’s more important than ever that they step up, speak out and stand together for what’s right as pain and trauma over injustices unfold across communities in Michigan and nationwide.

The Metroparks Board of Commissioners recently took action to endorse an open letter statement to the community, given the times and national protests surrounding racial inequality. The letter states there is no question everyone is living in a time of profound challenge, hurt, anger and frustration - from the coronavirus health pandemic to the horrific incidents and images that show the underlying racial injustice far too prevalent in society. Officials say everyone should always feel safe, welcome and respected in the Metroparks but for too many, that feeling can be a challenge as fellow citizens are unjustly attacked simply because of the color of their skin. The core of the Metroparks mission is to provide exceptional outdoor recreation and educational opportunities for all who call Southeast Michigan home. All means all – regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, income level, ethnicity, or ability. The letter states that while the Metroparks strive hard to be representative of the incredibly diverse region they’re honored to serve, they know they can and must do better.

The Metroparks message to every Michigander is simple: “you belong here and you are welcome here. They’re YOUR Metroparks”. Metroparks officials say they’re deeply committed to actively listening, learning and being part of the solution. Among some actions include ongoing and meaningful diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and training to ensure they’re not only the best stewards of the parks system but of the public trust. The complete community letter is attached.