Weekly Roundup: Diversity Outdoors Edition

Photo: Justin Dream

What’s this? A weekly roundup on a Wednesday? Yes, friends. Sometimes, when the world hands you centuries of systemic racism, schedules get thrown to the wind. I did some reading and researching after I wrote last week’s post about the invisibility of POC in mainstream nature writing and the outdoors, and I found all kinds of good stuff to share with you. Follow these links, and you will find new understanding, helpful resources, and dare I say it, hope for a better future. Click and share liberally.

This Outside piece by Latria Graham, “We’re Here. You Just Don’t See Us.” is required reading for anyone who loves spending time in nature, or who has ever seen, interacted with, or even heard of the concept of nature. Everyone should read it, is what I’m saying. Born and raised in the South, Graham writes beautifully about her family’s farm and her own love of the outdoors, while providing powerful insight into how lack of access and representation create and perpetuate the idea that Black people just aren’t that into nature–the “no reason” I alluded to in my own piece. Graham’s article was originally published back in 2018, and it feels even more relevant now.

Back in 2017, The Roadtripper profiled three incredible women of color who are reshaping the outdoor travel industry by dismantling the idea that outdoor adventure is a man’s game. They share their struggles, their joy, and their determination in the face of an industry that was (and still is) often hostile to their presence. All three are inspiring as hell. Lots of great links and reading recommendations in this one too!

Also in 2017, Brittany Packenett responded to the Charlottesville white supremacist rally by writing about the joy she experiences when she spends time in nature–demonstrating that in the face of forces trying to diminish Black wellbeing, seeking and embodying joy is an act of resistance. She makes a compelling case for the role of self-care and self-love in activism, and counteracts narratives that too often paint Black people as tragic victims and little else. Another must read.

The Willowherb Review is a visionary journal of nature writing by people of color (or colour, as their editors would say, because they’re British). It primarily features narrative non-fiction, but there’s lots of good fiction and poetry too. Their contributors are from all corners of the globe, and FYI writers of color: they’re accepting submissions for their next issue until June 30!

Five Ways To Make The Outdoors More Inclusive is a rare find: a marketing campaign that actually manages to be super informative and actionable without feeling like a naked money grab. Created by The Atlantic and REI, it’s an excellent resource with specific steps to guide individual and collective action. Scroll to the bottom for suggestions on how you can help turn these action steps into reality.

And finally, a good old-fashioned link dump. Below are a whole bunch of incredible organizations working hard to make the outdoors more diverse, through increasing visibility, or hosting events and activities, or more direct activism. Some are geared towards specific communities, some are more general, all are awesome. Read about them, get involved, and tell your friends:

Education/Visibility/General:

Diversify Outdoors

Nature Bridge

Unlikely Hikers

Community Specific:

Outdoor Afro

Latino Outdoors

Native Women’s Wilderness

Outdoor Asian

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