The outdoor realm has a diversity problem. Look at the populations of people recreating in America’s wild spaces and working in the outdoor industry, and you’ll find minimal representation by African Americans, Latinx, LGBTQ and other groups. The most recent survey commissioned by the Park Service showed that 78 percent of people visiting federal parks were white. Meanwhile, minority groups often report feeling unsafe in outdoor spaces. The consequences posed by this situation can be severe, as an entire generation risks missing out on the benefits of spending time in parks, gaining outdoor skills or learning about nature.
In this presentation, James Edward Mills, an African-American journalist who has worked in the outdoor industry for 30 years as a guide, sales rep, writer and photographer, will lead a panel discussion that aims to unpack this issue.
Panelists include: Carolyn Finney, a professor, cultural geographer and author of Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors; Teresa Baker, founder of the CEO Diversity Pledge; Jenny Bruso, creator of Unlikely Hikers, a blog and Instagram account dedicated to the underrepresented outdoorsperson; José González, the founder and director emeritus of Latino Outdoors; Erin Parisi, a pioneer for transgender mountaineers and creator of TranSending and Amil Reddy, community investment manager and chair, diversity and inclusion, with Canada-based Mountain Equipment Co-op.