My goal is to erase the stigma of being an African-American who is afraid of camping, or hiking, or swimming, and to change the narrative that white folks have about what black people do or don't do.Read More
In April of last year, I moved to a thirty-acre farm in Santa Cruz, CA, to learn to grow organic vegetables, flowers, and fruit trees. That experience empowered me to see myself as a black woman both caring for and cared by the land.
Dawn Wall and Free Solo took up so much screen time, so much cultural space, that I am left feeling as though none of the work around diversity in the outdoor industry is ever going to pan out if we keep bolstering straight, cis-gendered, white men as demigods.Read More
I remember my relatives yelling at me to stop playing in the sun; I remember my aunt telling my cousin that her skin was dark and ugly—casually, as if discussing something as mundane as the weatherRead More
Whenever I grew fatigued, the backhanded compliments kept me going. “You look so much better with straight hair!” and “when your hair is straight, you look so exotic!” were the most common. There was no way I could go back to feeling ugly, “too black” or less than.Read More
…I finally realized that my inner discomfort is rooted in a feeling of not-belonging. The problem is that we live in a society dominated by whiteness, and I will always be othered because I am not white.
We need to cultivate a welcoming environment; to see other minorities thriving in order to set an example of acceptance. Being "the only one" is not enough. Individual stories of accomplishment are not enough.Read More
The outdoors do not always feel like a great place for a woman of color because of the other people who occupy, and in most cases have ownership of that space. The same people who claim there is no barrier are often the ones building the fence while denying they’re holding a hammer and nails.Read More
I sat alone on the side of the mountain nursing my pride and a torn ligament. To be fair I didn’t realize how serious the injury was at the time. And while I considered asking for help, I was too shy and embarrassed to admit that I needed it. Instead I thought back to what got me into skiing in the first place.Read More
They’ll tell me how beautiful my land is, how strong the people are—the incredible generosity of the incredibly poor. They’ll ask me if I’ve ever been to my homeland without ever knowing the deep, inter-generational heartbreak of that question.Read More
I fell in love with the mountains instantly and felt like I had regained a lost piece of my identity. Out here in the forest, everything made sense. I felt the presence of God in such a raw way that I hadn’t in a long time. I also felt the most Canadian that I’d ever felt in my life.Read More
A couple years ago I began working with the migrant youth in my community. Their fears, insecurities, and internalized shame were all so similar to me. They were mine.Read More
All of the fishermen I saw along the way were black or brown-skinned men with rods in one hand and suitcases filled with a day’s catch in the other. I wondered, as I walked, why none of this was included in our understanding of what it means to be “outdoorsy?”Read More
But let’s not pretend that raised fees alone would be the deciding factor for so many Americans who have never visited a park, and may never have the opportunity to do so.Read More
So imagine their horror and dismay when I told them I wanted to go "camping": to sleep on the forest floor, eat simple meals cooked over a tiny propane stove, and to hike for days just to come back to where I started.Read More