Dear New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill Community,

Black lives matter. We are heartbroken and horrified by the injustice, discrimination, and racism that exists across our country, that has taken Black lives and harmed Black lives for generations. We kneel and stand and weep in solidarity with protesters, with the grieving, with those in despair who are running out of hope. Despite our efforts, despite having our hearts in the right place, we at New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill feel that we’re just not doing enough. Until communities of color have equal access to justice, to freedom, to wealth, to healthy food, to culture, to nature, we all must do more. New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill is part of this broken society and it is our responsibility to invest more into fixing it.

The Worcester County Horticultural Society is a 180-year-old nonprofit organization that opened New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill in Boylston, Mass., in 1986. The Society does not have a diverse legacy. In recent years, we have been building a more inclusive organization, but we must do much more. We upgraded our pathways to be more accessible; hold an annual Pride flag raising ceremony; offer discounts to EBT card holders, veterans, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters; hold Free After Three Thursdays each summer; lead Worcester’s second-graders on STEAM-themed field trips; and plant trees in inner city neighborhoods. Our Horticultural Heroes exhibit features Black leaders in the plant world. But none of this is nearly enough.

We can and must do more to support and lift up Black voices, ideas, and lives. We have been focused on these issues, but we must strive to do better. We need to recruit more diverse employees, volunteers, trustees, and members. We must partner more with businesses run by Black and Brown owners. We must help those without transportation reach our beautiful property and we must bring plants and nature to those who can’t reach us to meet them where they are. We must solicit diverse opinions and incorporate them into our planning. We are committed to constant improvement. We must listen and take action. Because Black lives matter.

James Karadimos, WCHS President
& Grace Elton, THBG CEO