#BLM and #nacforadventure Part 1: The Outdoors

The past couple weeks has been a time for a lot of learning. I used it to take in information, and I was able to quickly share some graphics and facts on social media platforms that stood out to me, but I wanted to address it in the best way I know how: writing on #nacforadventure.

It’s been such a roller coaster. And as I receive new information, my perspective shifts. And it keeps shifting every single day. Even every hour. I used to think that I should let black people have the moment and use their voice to speak up against being oppressed, but then I realized that I need to recognize my privilege as a white, middle class female. And I need to use that to my advantage and share my voice.

I am constantly afraid of putting my words out there because it’s cemented into the internet, and I need to think clearly and respectfully. But I also want to be raw and unreserved in this time of constant change. So I figured I would share my opinions on some things that pertain to #nacforadventure’s values of adventure and sustainability because that’s what I feel educated on and passionate about, and I think this is the best way that I am able to influence and inform others in the same space.

This first week, I want to cover the outdoor space.

bright orange fall leaves

I’ve voiced my opinion on outdoor elitism, and I know that it doesn’t come any where near the discrimination that black people have faced, but I know that we can learn from drawing parallels between what we know and what we don’t. For instance, I realize that just because outsiders to us are in a space that we occupy, doesn’t mean that we can’t recognize and celebrate their commitment to living their best life.. just like we are trying to do. And this principle can be applied both in my life in the outdoors, as well as to American society.

In the world that I know, the outdoor recreation community is notably whitewashed. Women and men of color are rarely seen on the hiking trail, ski slope, and climbing wall, which is where I spend most of my time. And let alone finding diversity in Utah, USA?

But that doesn’t mean that that I wouldn’t fully welcome any and all humans into the outdoor space with open arms (6 feet apart these days, but you get the memo). As long as they are educated on leaving no trace and respecting the Earth.

I think it’s important to influence this change with the small things in your community. So if you spend a predominant amount of time outside, you need to realize that making a safe space for all people…. and a main focus on black people and other POC right now, is a very reachable goal.

Small steps lead to bigger change. And while others are focusing on major reform in other areas through the law, I think that we also need to focus on also starting from the ground up. Starting from a place of love and commonalities.

A good place that I like to start is social media. We live in such a small connected world thanks to platforms like Instagram and Twitter, so use it to your advantage to follow and support black men and women in the outdoor space. If you support them, they are able to keep encouraging others to get outside and moving. And I personally would love to see a more diverse crowd outdoors and adventuring. That means more people to appreciate the Earth, and more people looking towards saving it… but we will save that for Part 2: Sustainability.

I wanted to highlight an awesome page I just started following:

melanin base camp

Melanin Base Camp.

Their Instagram bio reads “We are People of Color in the outdoors”, while their web banner displays “diversity in outdoor adventure sports”.

But they don’t just post jaw-dropping Instagram adventure pictures that you will forget as soon as you scroll past. The page also posts the blogs they share on their website, which give a lot of awesome angles of being a person of color in the outdoor community.

In the recent weeks, they’ve had blog posts from how to be an ally in the outdoors( The Melanin Base Camp Guide to Outdoor Allyship, which I shared the other day)  to how the outdoor community needs to see more people recognize their privilege, and not be afraid to bring important social movements into their space titled “Shut Up and Climb“.

Just reading these two posts made me immediately want to share how I feel. And the most humbling, and also alarming thing, was that both of these blogs were written prior to this year. It was so eye-opening to read right now when the #BLM movement is trending, but also realizing that just because it isn’t trending, doesn’t mean it’s still not happening.

 

So please take a moment to not be afraid to recognize your privilege, and use it to your advantage.. and don’t forget to take action, support diversity, and enjoy the outdoors.

 

Your nacforadventurer and outdoor advocate for all,

 

AJ

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