As we continue February and Black History Month, we’re sharing another installment in our community effort to showcase organizations promoting social justice and more inclusive access to public lands. This month’s feature organization is Oakland, California-based, Outdoor Afro.
Outdoor Afro is where Black people and nature meet. Founded by Rue Mapp in 2009, Outdoor Afro is the nation’s leading organization that celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature.
Their mission: to celebrate and inspire Black connections and leadership in nature.
THIS MONTH'S ORGANIZATION:
Outdoor Afro has more than 100 leaders in 56 cities and connects 40,000+ people to nature annually. Each volunteer leader creates and guides monthly trips and fosters collaborations to strengthen connections with the outdoors. Their organization reconnects Black people with nature through recreational activities including hiking, birding, fishing, kayaking, gardening, and more – in a similar style, you would do if you were taking family members out. They work to harness the value of connecting people and connecting people to nature, in the same conversation.
Outdoor Afro also works to disrupt the false perception that Black People do not have a relationship with nature.
Each year they hold annual training for all volunteer leaders to attend. All leaders are required to attend. There are training modules and ongoing education covering everything from risk management to policy to storytelling interpretation. Outdoor Afro shifts the visual representation of who can connect with the Outdoors by taking photos and sharing them with a growing online community. They encourage participants to do the same.
Anyone who supports their mission is welcome to attend their events. You don’t have to have an afro, to be part of Outdoor Afro.
Check out this video about their organization:
Follow Outdoor Afro on Social
We invite you to join us in making a donation to support Outdoor Afro. https://outdoorafro.com/giving-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.