Statement by OSI President and CEO Kim Elliman on Central Park Incident: The recent incident that occurred in Central Park is a sad reminder that racism continues to be a painful blight on our society. The video exchange we all witnessed undercuts the very notion of how public parks are intended for use and enjoyment among all people. Access to nature and its spectacular beauty should not and cannot be limited to people who are white or privileged.
As someone who spends most mornings, sometimes alongside Christian Cooper, finding inspiration and solace in the splendor of Central Park, I am especially saddened that a fellow birder would be denied the same experience. The incident should serve as the latest reminder of how more must be done to improve access to the natural world and make these shared green spaces more inviting, accessible, and welcoming to all.