It’s the first Monday of the month, which means it’s time to post another segment in our Diverse NPS series. September marks one year since our small group of outdoor enthusiasts and national park creatives got together to build out the DiverseNPS initiative. During September, we will share the work of GirlTrek, in our community effort to showcase organizations working towards social justice and more inclusive public lands.
THIS MONTH'S ORGANIZATION:
Co-founded by T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, GirlTrek was born out of friendship and evolved as a challenge to friends and family to walk to heal their bodies, inspire their daughters and to reclaim the streets of their neighborhoods. Officially becoming a nonprofit in 2012, GirlTrek has received the endorsements and support of organizations like Teach for America, the NAACP, the NPS, and the Sierra Club among others.
Since its inception, GirlTrek has become the largest public health nonprofit for African-American women and girls in the United States. With 1 million members, GirlTrek encourages women to use walking as a practical first step to inspire healthy living, families, and communities. As women organize walking teams, they mobilize community members to support monthly advocacy efforts and lead a civil rights-inspired health movement.
Beyond walking, GirlTrek’s active members support local and national policy to increase physical activity through walking, improve access to safe places to walk, protect and reclaim green spaces, and improve the walkability and built environments of 50 high-need communities across the United States.
Follow GirlTrek on Social
Follow their Instagram @girltrek for more information on their advocacy work. We invite you to join us in making a donation to support GirlTrek during the month of September and beyond. More information can be found at girltrek.org and is linked in our bio.
Direct link to donation page: https://www.girltrek.org/donate
About the DiverseNPS Initative:
As outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of America’s parks, we’ve experienced the benefits of connecting with nature and our diverse landscapes. From city parks where we can get a taste of green amid cemented city blocks, to recharging strolls and hikes in the millions of acres of our state parks, to treks and climbs in the breathtaking landscapes in our national parks, the chance to be in nature is an experience we hold invaluable.
Undoubtedly, our lands should be enjoyed by all of us, but when we look into who is getting access to our lands, we see alarmingly disproportionate statistics that highlight a gap between race and park visitations. When we examine the reasons why these gaps are present—access, education, resources, discrimination and prejudice—we understand that systemic racism in our country is the major contributor to these disappointing disproportions.
In the National Park System, for example, Black Americans make up about 7 percent of visitors, while they are 13 percent of the U.S. population. Moreover, 78 percent of visitors are White.
The end of the Jim Crow era in 1968, showcases that Black American generations have only recently gained the freedom and liberty to move around this country. Still today, minorities face prejudice and discrimination within our outdoor spaces and, often, cannot safely and comfortably enjoy outdoor recreation.
AS PARK ENTHUSIASTS AND ADVOCATES OF SPENDING TIME IN NATURE, WE ARE COMMITTED TO ADDRESSING RACISM WITHIN OUR INDUSTRY.
To do so, we are taking action to use our platforms to contribute to the progress that is much needed within the outdoor space and community.
As a part of this community, Park Chasers will join with others in highlighting organizations that are dedicated to bridging the race gap in the outdoor space by connecting opportunities and experiences to people of color.
Each month, we are featuring and focusing on one organization, with the intent to showcase their hard work, raise awareness and support them through funding and donations. We’ll share monthly articles and social media posts along with links for how you can donate.