We’re only 10 days into the new year and already looking forward to getting on the road for new adventures. Taking a break from trip planning to share another installment in our DiverseNPS series. During the month of January, we are highlighting the work of Latino Outdoors in our community effort to showcase organizations who are working towards social justice and more inclusive public lands.
Latino Outdoors is a unique, Latinx-led organization working in support of a national community of leaders in outdoor recreation, conservation and environmental education. As part of this work, they focus on expanding and amplifying the Latinx experience in the outdoors. They provide leadership, mentorship, and professional opportunities and serve as a platform for sharing oft-overlooked cultural connections and narratives that will bolster the collective outdoor movement. Latino Outdoors is a space for the community to be present, share our voices, and showcase how an ethic of conservation and roots in nature have been ingrained in la cultura Latina for generations.
ABOUT LATINO OUTDOORS:
Latino Outdoors strives to make the outdoors a safe and welcoming place for all people, regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, ability, language, and nationality. This extends beyond their outdoor programming to their core values as an organization, especially one that understands the history and power of public policy and legislation in protecting public lands and landscapes that we enjoy today, but that many times came at the expense of communities that were marginalized and displaced. Latino Outdoors welcomes the full spectrum of people and stands in solidarity with all individuals, organizations, and societies that uphold this value.
Started in 2013 by José González as an online blog and networking platform for members of Latinx communities interested in outdoor recreation, environmental education, and/or conservation José shared his ideas with participants in this new network, and together they began to grow the community, while also building the foundation for Latino Outdoors as an organization. Since 2014, Latino Outdoors has been providing outdoor experiences to families and youth through its Vamos Outdoor program, growing from a California-based organization to a national movement powered by volunteers.
Follow Latino Outdoors on Social
Follow @Latino Outdoors on social for more information on their advocacy work. We also invite you to join us in making a donation to support Latino Outdoors during the month of January and beyond.
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.