Roughly 50 environmentalists of various racial backgrounds - African American, Native American, Latina, and Caribbean - gathered at the National Press Club yesterday with a message for mainstream green institutions: If you are serious about diversity, then put your money where your mouth is or suffer the consequences later.

The newly launched Diverse Environmental Leaders National Speakers Bureau, or "DEL," convened yesterday on the 98th birthday of the National Park Service to convey chiefly two things: That environmentalists of color are plentiful and available as employees and leaders, and that environmental groups and government agencies have no legitimate excuses for having predominantly white workforces.

"We are here, and we have always been here," said the event's host, Audrey Peterman, jabbing at the notion that people of color are unbothered with the environment. The display of talent among the attendees - many of them DEL members - further crushed that notion.

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