« The MeatEater Podcast

Ep. 230: A Difficult Conversation

2020-07-20 | 🔗

Steven Rinella talks with Rue Mapp and Janis Putelis.

Topics discussed: A solid two-syllable, navigational name; when your cowboy dad hangs pigs in your garage and you don't want kids on the school bus to see; how parades mean different things to different people; Outdoor Afro re-connecting black Americans to the outdoors; upping your nature swagger; unpacking statistics; how black children drown at five times the rate of white children in the US; Harriet Tubman as a wilderness leader; losing sight of the sociological factors that have lead people to be where they are; the great migration; how the outdoors and nature has not always been regarded as a safe place for black people; Emmet Till; how being on the other side of too much intrigue just isn't welcome; in cases of racism, rarely do you ever get the proof and rarely do you need it; gauging the age of an airplane by whether or not its bathroom has an ashtray; how looking at communities as needing to be saved isn’t the right way to go; picnicing vs. birding and tailgating as day camp; and more.


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
The on a shirtless severely beaten, in my case, underwear of the meat eater podcast. You can't predict anything presented by an ex hunt creators of the most comprehensive digital mapping system for hunters download the hunt app from the itunes or google play store nor stand with annex okay, ru map you're. Finally, here I know at long last exciting and we're going to get we're going to get to you big time, but we like to often talk about just some juvenile stuff before we get rolling get to it, but just
one any comments you got alright, but I want to catch him with the onyx there's some things I haven't talked with the ani about like for real. We haven't talked about and out filming das boat season, two does boat. That's right! I wanted to call it dos boat. I didn't come up with that did someone shut you down? Well, I think Josh pristine came up with that cause. He's super good at name and stuff, and he's good at making long sentences, but he's very good at at very short things. So I thought it's great that season, two like dos boat would become dose boat, but I've been educated on the fact that you can't just name a show something new, because people don't find it right. So I'm thinking DAS boat season, two dos boat, but you were out filming or you could say season- does navy know to keep it.
Now. You know about what. How did it go and I we were excited about it. I was very excited. Yeah. I may I'm. maintain my excitement to, but we had some tough fashion We had fun building, I never adding this stuff to the boat. We did not have tough yeah and, as I left, I told the crew. You will now have tough fish, not because a year, because what you're going to do yeah! I don't know why you cast that no cloud of passes. Pessimism remind all right now and then and think we're going to do that on cash, that hat in the dark. Now what we do is get swarmed by unbelievable amounts of biting in thanks, yeah and then you'd hear fish now and then and you'd spend a lot of time. Trying in the dark to get your bat cast untangled from the alders is you have got more skills I didn't have viable ruin
they're trying to do is there's a bog called the hacks aegina and it's a giant may fly it stand huge sons of bitches almost too hinges. On top the water me leary looks like a little sailboat going down the water in the very attractive to your garage door, light. Have you ever gonna lie. roger you, wake up one summer day and all of a sudden are all over your yard light and somehow stuck to your garage door. I remember that from being a youngster there, when the hash on certain years when it can be very, very thick and into the congo one of the lights, and I was told actually that, though they'll end up on the sidewalk underneath the lights, because they think that's the surface of the water. Okay, there's a bit of reflection there, oh but there were saying represent some of those northern michigan towns easier that organ yes, so the light is reflecting on the sidewalk right, That's where is heading, and so, even though the light might sort of attract em, it's the fact that their seeing that sort of shining surface that's under the light in the
our case all around what they like by grudged or even though they must have thought the water was vertical they have do many tyler reopen breath. We continue. They can be so thick that they'll bring out the snow plows to school off the bugs off the sidewalks, whom god is instinctive I guessing there's gotta, be some sort of it. Wasn't that thick when I was there, so I didn't its experience that ours abby stories of cars crashing yeah from the likeness, Why does it on your own music, with any old? I grow browser twenty years. I never saw any this shit I never saw any these things happened. I grew up telling people that they happen here. other things after ten p m, see that's a thing. It only comes off like like thirty
it's after dark in the northern michigan at the end of june, mean literally you're out there at ten thirty like, I can still see. You know, twilight in this I once again completely dark and this value to ethical love finally you shine the light on the water and there you go, you can go really for their starting afloat down the river lab and in the right conditions. It brings up a lot of the fish and a lot of the big fish in some of these rivers. These fish can intake, like I forget what it is like forty fifty percent of their annual. Dietary intake annual calories it like a week or two when they get to feed on these giant bogs, rights of very important food source and are unfortunately, for me, we got hammered with like thirty six hours of rain and the temperature went from like high of ninety two, a high of like fifty five and it just made
drought, sulk we're just went to the bottom and whip, but a palace they put a party face on didn't want to do anything. So we try everything we are throwing middle spinners Nepal is in no way I didn't. Third throw was as a night crawler private should have been. The last day. We are changed gears and went out to a lake where there was known to be some good small scale fishing and causes Did you catch those undefinable? Now now I was going format. It is trying to catch fish now the boat, so the boat for the boat, dos boat is about that. I knew all through grown up yeah. My one of my fishing mentors down the lake for me, Ganem John Gary, had He ought he bought this boat the year before I was born, he bought a nineteen. Seventy three is still has
all. The registration stickers on laugh go on back to seventy. No because, like you, bite, blocks a years, namely the first one accounts for seventy three and in pace it all down. The side of the boat is like for your increments, However, they do the registration stickers are still on their when he died. We got his bow and sat my mom. poor or outside my mom's poor. By and for twenty years, then we refurbished the boat and as our new fishing boats. See worthy vessel us all. I mean that transom radon and the new engine on it it was, I was glad we had to take it in off cause. We're afloat it down a river which is like in a part of the fond of this show is that you know you going take. A boat is not meant to go, float down the river, take vengeance off of it and then, and then, because of the way to go shape in the way you row about down a river. You go down backwards, mr looking forwards, but the bow itself is:
and you know backward like pictures it a current. You want to the ability to not go the speed of the current right, so the king slipping under the curvature of the bower it there is akita a row. Is such a narrow beam on that bow that it made the ors seem very heavy because he had much more shaft at the or outside of the oarlock vs inside we gotta done. We figured it out. Fine, I just being the whole town, most regulated John gary, looking down from the heavens thing like this is cool that you asked trot. The high level. Ok, he wasn't centric dude John Gary, he He didn't understand why shirts had collars and he would cut the collars off his collared shirts. Instead of wear a t shirt, he just had all the shirts he removed the colleges. I don't know why it's there I don't either so you'd is cut it off and one time all that is protection. He on he was old and has at his house, and
told me he needed. He wanted a does have a little bit easier time with money He said I will sell you this house and everything in it. He said right down to my shoes for seventy five thousand dollars, the the catch being. I live here till I die and that would have been a very, very smart financial move for me to have made, but I had just dismissed it and then later realized what a miss that will allow yeah automate a lot of money. Yeah. You probably can't buy a garage on that lake for seventy five thousand dollars or more. It became residential. So what happened to the place of a doctor bought it and fix it? All unchanged tore down his fish tore down his fish shed. Let his boat launch go to shit was funny this guy, my brother's a doctor, but he
and one day made him a walk down the beach and my brother has nothing. I would appear cut off, denham shorts and just looks like you know, some cat dragged in, and so we get to disguise play. Is your brother, northern eccentric daisy set out a guy? He doesn't play by the rules. Whatever the rules are he doesn't it does you know what they are, but we get there and we meet. This guy is like oh, this guy bought John Kerry's house, and so we're talking about John and us grown up in and around the house and the guy introduced himself as whatever like dr young. You know and my brother goes well. I'm doctor and Ella the gutter is the best and the worst of it is like yeah right yeah, it was funny alright, rw. I will talk more about those boat later, I don't wanna waste all your time. I know I'm here first off how'd you have the name. Are you eat? Well, it's actually short for roulette.
but russian roulette yeah yeah, like literally hundreds of their names. You react totally and there's no story. I wish there was a story roulette. Yes, that, like really all the game merit our second roulette like in russian roulette. There is also the Gabriel, both cambridge financial version of russia, both games of chance, but no there. I wish there was a story but It wasn't a story. I always asked my mom like. Why did you? Because you know when you're a kid? No one, you know people say: oh, that's such a pretty name. M, but as I got older people were alike, so did your parents campbell allied to bail out of my life. I've been these business meetings and, like my name, became the punchline, why you switch back to roulette well, because I don't always want to be a punch line. So I, like it businesses it's crazy! You! I see that you get sick and even
does the original idea had a great story? I would go for it, but I did because there's no story. I just feel I want want like we were gonna, let down you know. We anticipate that I'm gonna talk about some wild vegas. inception they didn't like when you in a game of roulette, know that you do twenty three and me to find out it'd, be like other now, viper yeah yeah. Well there. There is definitely some narrative there, but on but yeah just your route, you know came together for me around, like my mid twenties and I just just feel really solid, like being like a two syllable name route map, so that was great. Have you armor and other roulette roulette map their weirder right now upon I now because real is like french for street and then Ass they map with two peas. I will have grown into the street map navigational name, so it works. Us goes good brandon.
A lot of symbolism there definitely like it. I want to ask one more question for, as my main question are before I set the table, how okay Your dad was a cowboy yeah considered himself, a cowboy for sure I am definitely the first generation californian my dad came from taxes, his dad. cattle ranch, and you know it's something I totally took for granted and didn't really come to us stand that there are so many people, like my dad who came from the south, but the thing that was really unique, my dad- is that he brought along in a really active way his love for the outdoors, and so even though you know my parents came to oak wind and, as many african americans did between each other with your world war two through the early seventies. He in you know he had a place in oakland, but he wanted to have a place where he could pursue his outdoor martians. So we have this
and with about fifteen acres, when I was little and we had cows, we had pigs and allowed That was you now his that was his his place where he got his life together. I read somewhere, you being embarrassed marietta dead, he's dead. Pigs. Hang, you know we bring that stuff back to oakland. You know like the garage would be and in their own there'd, be. You know, animals hanging in asian The garage and the bus would pass by and I'd be. Mortified began. It was really I it's one of the things you just don't realize how special it was to have had that really unique background. Even you know for me in oakland to be able to have those connect. points both you know in an urban setting, but also in order to be able to be in a wild, plays an inefficient
way that truly valued hunting and fishing and harvesting all kinds of things- and it's been a big wonderful journey through my work, to help bring those things back to more people and recreate those opportunities for more people. You know so that we can, you know, does help people get their lives together and help people get more connected What's really real about nature, you know a up make in this area as it like to set the scene Does it there's a part about this conversation that makes me uncomfortable because we're gonna talk about like regret about race, ok and wrote about after all, doors and door. After outer I'm sorry Adora direct people do that all the time to have yeah yeah, I apologize it's. Alright, he recalls man eater all the time when I grow up,
up k. I grew up in a very like, like strictly white setting for the most part in thing that you were taught to strive for was like total color blindness. that was sort of the north star and it would be You never said there it would be like did it would just be the thing you would never ever do that he would sit with someone say your black, How does how do you feel about this now be like shit? You would do them that, even though, to be honest with you too, the thing in your head is like super aware You think, I'm a warrior, miss turner, I'm talking about women. I want to mess up frank, like what an autonomous might have a toy differ worldview, but don't ask don't ask other all colorblind. and I'm so low that stock emma yeah well you're gonna have to get over it. In this conversation, What you want you to see me you know, is not complicated, like it's ok to have differ,
it's ok. What do you say? You're be like I'm talking no white. Do now, I'm tired! somebody who love the outdoors and I wanna- connect on that now beginning Are we get there? How do we get there to talk about? How do we get their words, although it cuts? ensure shorter assigned, to wit files. there. They who I believe, has been on the fourth he's a presidency of tea, our sepia, yeah and I'll, sell momo might ask like what I recognise the problem because we are trying to have you on a long time ago, but we got derailed by covert yup and ours. man. I hope, and I mean you know- that yours gives the comic I hope I feel now that has become like a thing works like a forced conversation when it would have before ben like a more natural but now everybody's here, goals are up. I know I know you like talking about something you sergeant crew, supplied, eucharist button. not talk to somebody we're gonna, be pissed not talkin- about raise peer to peer our time I'll raise. Oh now your interests and rest and what it was like
just be glad has come not yet, but really I mean, I think it's important, that people know our or origin story here, like I actually reached out to your team last fall and I reached out because I You show an actually. I had heard about your Pa Cas well before that I was with some colleagues who I work with on the board. the wilderness, society, and you know we're just sidney at you know, and this conference and we're talking about you know podcast that we all listen to. Inevitably we get to that conversation like what are you listening to cause? It's a way of getting to know people, and someone told me that I should listen to meat eater and it was with this disclaimer diameter. Orbs right, but it was like with this disclaimers like yeah, but it's really cool like it's not like just about you know. You know just this, Dario type of people who you know, hunt and fish and unlike
you now, I'm I'm already with it. You know, so I'm I'm definitely just interested just because I'm interested in that topic, and but with my background, so I listen to your show, and then I saw you have a show netflix. Of course, my watch that and and I realize like we had so much common language, and so common language that was really about helping people understand their possibilities of being in the world and understanding wildlife more and living in harmony with it, but also as a waiter to connect with other people across difference, and that resonated so deeply with me that I thought about writing you for a couple of weeks Until I actually did I just you know I sent one of those. You know emails. You novia year contact us late
on your I mean you know it's icy, yeah yeah, you just you just send it off into the night. You know you have no idea who's, gonna read it. If someone will read it, it gets it lands in there amidst a lot of emails photos of mangled fingers yeah, all kinds of, because I'm the recipient of of those kinds of e mails, like people write us for all kinds of reasons to partner with those two poor their souls out to us too. You know talk about race. Ok, all right through to argue he'd know within very fortunate. It may change after this call or this interview by it, but I think that first
I am reason- and I have I have some suspicions about. What that reason is, is because outdoor afro is so forward in its love story in its love story about community and it's love story about nature and that's what I really got from your work and that connected deeply with, I felt the values that we have without from that which I grew up with so I reached out and a real human responded and said, had loved the talk to you on the phone and hear more about what you think and- and I didn't have a goal I just wanted. I just wanted to connect. I wanted you to see thy k. I see you in and we'll see where the ripples go and that that big and last fall, and then we had our plans to do a turkey hunt together
Well, that's right. I forgot about that yeah and now we're going to go turkey and still make that happen. We should- and so we already have that planned for April and then the whole shelter in place happen, and then I got you know everybody you know couldn't do anything and during that time, and so this was really our first opportunity. And we may hate to interrupt, but I'm going to, but it's actually going to work out in your favor, because where I was planning to take you, I didn't quite know this. It went very well and it took me quite a while to figure it out now we did ended up killing of turkey in the general area later. Okay, if you come back next year, I've got a dial, okay, okay I'll be grabbing, so I think it's important that people know. that that this was one initiated by me to this
add new, now a time frame that that began in advance of all of the kind of shit show or living through right now. Yet I am grateful and that's how I felt this is a pandemic hit as soon as the whole sweep of black lives matter really kind of landed upon us as a country. I just felt so grateful to be doing work that feels in a lot of ways more urgent than ever before, when the shelter in place happened, and I saw people getting outside and getting into parks, I mean I saw kids on bicycles, and on rollerblades, and I saw families out nature, I saw our parks be overwhelmed, but because I think that people had this this primal awareness that they needed to connect with nature for their healing. In that moment,
you wouldn't be able to go to a restaurant or movie theater people knew they knew they had nature, and so we began just making sure that folks knew that we were there for them. We were there for families, and we were also there to help. People recognise that nature is necessarily in a place where you go and drive to, but it's all around you it's your window. Sill like I was just like you know. In the beginning of the shelter in place, I looked outside and I saw my lazy pit bull laying on the grass like she always does. I saw you know the blue scrub jay coming through, like it always does, and I just again you know, grounded myself to take my cue for how to be at this time and that's like nature, and that's that's where I keep going back to in this time, and I think right now, I think, about
outdoor afro and just my whole, in a reason for being without or afro, is really about how I can help through this work. More people find common ground and I think people are low for that. Right now. Explain the claimed the mission of outdoor afro, but then also tell me what you're going to tell me about when I said that that the the north star of like total color blindness like convinced me that that's not the northstar anymore well, outdoor afro is very questions, yeah yeah, I got it. I got so you're. Ok, I'm tracking outdoor afro, celebrates and inspires black people. To reconnect to the outdoors in reconnect is a really intentional word that I use
because, as I kind of move through the journey of developing outdoor afro, you know that was born in social media, had a personal blog, and I started talking about growing up wild and all the thing I used to do in the outdoors and what happened was that there were folks who responded back to me in this back in the first wave of she'll media, so the algorithms, raul, nice and flat you didn't have to pay to play, and you could literally- and I did from my kitchen table- have this very intimate conversation about all the things that I loved about being in the outdoors and about my family traditions and the outdoors. People responded back and there were like you're tellin, my story. This is my life to man. That's when I realise that we have a visual representation problem, that we didn't see. People who look like me or, like my dad, like my dad loved nature, he loved wildlife, but he never would have called himself a conservation
nor an environmentalist ever because that was just not where he took his cues from he took his cues from his dad, who got it from his dad and so on and so forth, and so It's really been for outdoor afro, our effort to really help restore that sense of outdoor leadership and knowledge back to the home. I really want people to have their nature. Swagger, like you, go and you know how to be how to live, what to harvest what to set aside what to leave behind for poison. You know like way like how to really understand nature and not think about nature is someplace that you have to drive to and access through a parking lot when just begun. google and be comfortable and respectful? You know at the end of the
so I had a lot of experience is through outdoor afro and connecting with people from all over all cut all walks of life from children to elders, and eventually people wanted to find communities of folks to get outside with. So we started what we call the outer raffer leadership team, and for me this is really disrupt. Because I didn't go for the wildlife biologist store. You know the eagle scout the people who we traditionally think of as the experts in the outdoors. No, I instead for the real estate broker or the the pre school teacher or the accountant, the attorney, and then we even had military. That's who said hey I love nature and I want to share what I love about nature where I live with others in my community, and so I brought those folks.
Gather, and we trained and and and really learn from one another about risk management, of course, and trip planning and logistics, but also things like you know how to tell our story in a different way how to use You know unharnessed social media and other mediums where we weren't present right now, but where we could, move the needle on lifting up this other vision of how people who look like me could be out in nature, strong, beautiful and free, and it's really been phenomenal. How that's grown right now we have. We know that started off as a group of about eleven people who say yes to being raffer leader in every year. You know we ve grown incremental ages, taken the time to we learn about what we're doing and why we're doing it and not getting bigger just to be bigger. You know, like vanity, metrics me nothing to me. You now, because I see a lot of people being big and being wrong, You know, are, being you know, unwieldy, and so we just grew in
mentally our team and this class that we have this year's about ninety men and women from thirty states, and we have a participation network of about forty thousand people and they get out with us, may hike in they buy in the camp and they bird and do all kinds of things and one of the things I want to continue to move the needle on is, as people get more comfortable being in the outdoors. You know: how can we talk more about sustainably hunting, fishing and helping people really round out their experiences in the outdoors. I'm I'm actually re learning a lot of those skills right alongside them. As my parents have passed away, you know. several years now. You know you really need a community people around you to pursue some of these activities that you know
You described take a long time and take a lot of hands and a lot of equipment and, and so the the honor ample is, can be pretty steep when you start talking about some sportsmen's activities, some looking for the building more community deliberate community around that as well. The mentors are hard to come by. They are you can build like us, you know, and that's what I'm gonna do. That right is I'm hoping will do is like really create. You know I've been calling it the be side of outdoor afro hunter ever after dark or maybe before anup and where were you know deliberately, building community and I've had some great conversations with the california fish and wildlife to come up with ways that we can actually start folks. You know at the phase of it there in a hunter certifications and then moving them through the fall early winter, to get the kind you know. I am a big fan
at the end and really bring people through the continuum of good education, good conservation, ethic, harvesting, seasonably, but also I get their grip on at the end. So why the water participation rates like another. We have ninety percent like fervour, fishing is allowed Her hunting is ninety ten may female yeah. I've heard three percent african american you know it depends. You know you know the rates like now. Yeah yeah, and also I mean you know you can't get to this question- that I get Ass a lot like it's the. Why don't you now? Black people do blah blah blah and I think it really has to do with who you're hanging round with what you're yeah, where your geographic area is, because you definitely see, for instance, in the south, you know proportions, and so I really look at not like the these, like finite amounts in this big part.
I have how many people are doing an activity. I always measure like in proportion to people's population and their opportunity right. So if you have like a big population in an area of you know black people and then you're going to probably have higher rates of participation in all kinds of things, all kinds of outdoor activities, especially if those access points are near where people I live in, so I like to unpack those statistics a little bit, because people will shoot me with that. Well, there are zero zero point. One percent of black people who go to yosemite, I'm like whoa whoa, whoa, wait like is that like
all of nature, or is that like one park, that is about four hours from where people live, and I think about you know just the lives of busy working families. You know on the weekend, you may or may not have time off to go and drive some place where you ve never been to do things you ve never done before with people you ve never met. I mean that's the first, so many big asks in that, and so that's why, whenever people choose to come out with us, I always start by thinking you know thank you for saying yes to. First of all, get up from your warm bed on. You know a sunday morning may be before the sun comes up thanks for saying. Yes to that, thanks for getting car and finding this place because we know navigation, is a huge challenge for people, especially when you get out to remote areas, and then you know for
find something you never done before and around people who you don't know, because you know I've been there. I've been in, but in the embarrassed one where everyone's got the skill and- and I don't I or you know the physical abilities- and I I don't you know, and so we spend a lot of time, helping people to get prepared and to feel confident and then once they're there they're supported you and they don't have to feel like they are the only one in the group you know who has to you know, know things and we don't, you know, have a competitive atmosphere. You know where you got to, you know: have the biggest go the fastest. You know bag the tallest. In order to feel successful,
and so when it comes to being seen now, I think it's really important that we really see each other, and I think that when we really take the time to see each other, I think it opens the door for greater understanding and empathy and reveals the core of the love story of what outdoor afro is really about. I want you to see, that I stand on the shoulders of in a black people who you know made away out of no way, quite frankly, who you know learned how to live off the land, sometimes under duress, but sometimes of their own using and they did in a really powerful and beautiful way, and that there is so much that's. When I think about amerika- and I think about you- know the ways that there's just these intertwined histories. I think it's important to recognise that we have I've been in this thing together for a long time, and even if we know didn't live in a neighborhood. You know where you were
serially integrated. I think the effect on the overall culture, the food we eat them music. We listen to is undeniably, and you know, intersectional in the way that we been in relationship in in a in a deliberate way for forever and- and so I think, it's something to be celebrated versus avoided, and I think that we can. We can look at difference and not look at difference from a hierarchical point of view, and I think that that's where now. We end up in the slippery slope that if you notice it, then then somehow your positioning, a higher and a lower and some people do less be real, but I think that its some people do what I do see a hierarchy yeah. I think that some people do, and I think that that you know is something that that we all manage. But again, I go back to this work as an opportunity to really free ourselves of those isms and those judgments that can somehow cloud
are our way of getting to know one another the things that I say- and I am saying it more and more frequently- and you know when I go out into nature- the trees. Don't know that I am black, you know the birds are gonna, saying no matter how much money is in my bank account and Flowers are going to bloom, no matter what my gender is or my political party, and so I feel, like nature, really gives us this broad platform to be
but also to understand one another like when I was. I was in the arctic refuge with some friends and we had just landed and just beyond the brooks range on the sialic river, we're going to we're going to you know, paddle down to the ocean and Jas when we landed. We had seen like this whole like biblical heard of porcupine caribou, we were just mesmerized I'd, never seen that many you know caribou any caribou, but that many many hearts beating altogether yeah yeah you can like you, can't be the same after seeing that so after that had happened this kind of standing there, stunned and. You know really mesmerized bite is being in that landscape and having that experience, a bare pops up in camp, and you know either
I honestly it was it was. It was terrifying, it was shocking and there are people who you now do what humans like to do sometimes with care as manic megaphone. That's reason We bear you know and we hear bear clap, clap. Do you and the bears. ray got deployed, and all that and I'm like standing behind a raft. You know as if that was going to make a difference and my knees are all shaken, and you know, and and just glitter really no more than a minute or so because the bird at the the bear just looked at us. Curiously, it was not aggressive at all, and it just you know, took a whiff of that. You know that arctic air and just disappeared in the landscape and and that was a moment where I had a hard reset of my humanity realize that I was in that bears wild, and I think that there is this perception as human, that we are
in it we are a cause in the wild and. Just re ordered things for me in there. Way that I not at the top of the food chain first off and how that bear decided to enjoy any of us for take out that that wild would continue to lumber on without any regard for its human passengers and that You know that was just another of many lessons that I've learned in this work that, while I'm leading people and helping people to get outside you now, I'm also sharing my revelations and my experiences to really help deepen more people's understanding about what it means to be in relation. the ship with the wild and how you know that bear you know we may not be you know at at cause in that moment, but we have a responsibility to help protect. You know where that
our lives and and be with that bear in a way that is responsible for it to be able to stick around. Can you charge bow? drowning selling. This is it is, as we know, interview with you and you brought up, you got up like different relationships with different activities and how can different activities like how be a sort of racial, biased toward different activities. Yeah, that's a great Have you ever read, Javert read them, terrible lightness of being by cougar, we live under a long time ago. Has: let's do it? and this condemnation of communism
in the unbearable lightness of being as a guy and his girlfriend and the rider gets in into when a parade goes by like she grew up in communist czechoslovakia. I think kimi. I think she grew up in communist czechoslovakia when she sees a parade There is something very, very different, very different out the window. A person. Caesar pray at right right when the celebration and another one is holy shit It was amazing, the sort of american fourth of July esque yeah and one of them's. Imagine like oh shit, yup, here's, the commies showing off their military and, like the word parade, takes sense of the different, and I read this thing in this I think is used to or may I came here you are in someone else, arguments some abroad up swimming yet and pools liked it historically to be pools that we just like flat out, say like no black people could swim in this pool. Absolutely athlete.
so hey now we have, and then you can link this to yeah drowning rates. Today. It gets interesting way for people to to to begin to see a little bit of what we're talking.
well yeah. I mean it's, it's no, like it's no fantasy. You know that there was a time in the not too distant past when there were pools and beaches and public areas. You know I mean and and but public property now public property public beaches. I think there was a bloody summer in in Chicago where there were. You know people getting beaten for for trying to access the the shoreline and there have been beaches and everywhere where there has been restricted or excluded, and you know parts where black people could not be. There have been public pools. You know where black people were not allowed, and so the consequence of that is that today we have a drowning rate of black
if who drowning five times the rate of their black eye with her white peers ages, five through nineteen, so you know the public health consequence that your grandmother or your mother was unable to learn how to swim and develop a relationship with water is still felt today, and so in response to that, one of the things it out door afro set out to do last year, was to award swimmer ships answer
We set out to get as many babies in the water as we could, and I I wanted to you know, get about seventy swimmer ships out. I call them swimmer ships, basically their swim scholarships for for lessons and we were able to with the support of a lot of folks, get nearly two hundred of those swimmer ships together and the reason why is because if a child doesn't know how to swim, they're not going to ease into a tippy kayak they're, not going to put a pole in a lazy lake and they're not going to give a damn about plastic in the ocean. So it's not just about people's lives being saved. It's about that being such a like cornerstone, skill that until we can
Yet people comfortable with water there, just not gonna, be able to pursue a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities. Much less fishing- and I just remember I was about ten years ago before outdoor afro. Really was a thing and I had gone out with a bunch of friends and we had rented a catamaran in the caribbean ocean in and I thought at me, I was really comfortable- had died, swam all my life and our host head swam as well but most of the people who were on that cameron, I don't think they really understood with their get into
and when the water became really choppy, even though people had their pfd is on people were terrified in that moment and they couldn't enjoy it. You know some people got sick, I mean it was. It was a disaster, but had those people had comfort and a feeling of of even you know steadiness around water? It would have a totally different experience, and so that's one of the reasons why out or afro exists is because we are responding to some. Historical barriers that were real, while also said, operating the fact that people did persist in learning how to swim, learning how to be in nature. Folks, like my dad for dense and so were you know, try.
Remedy some of the past, while also lifting up some of the figures in our history who were every bit the wilderness leaders, I think often times about harriet tubman. You know we don't think about her as a wilderness leader, but how did she get people moving across dateline? in the cover of night and not no nature not know- and I do not know the sound of you know the birds that may share warning. You know or where to you now stop and and and and eat or or what can you harvest from the landscape like how? How could she have done that without me? your knowledge and so for her. For me, she you know, embody
in a way that we can look at people in our history in a different way. You know rebrand, if you will, but really you know, look at history of african and black americans and in an empowered way. You know versus ones that only need saving earth interested in when you look at american history. Is the rapid like the rapid, relatively recent, urbanization of blacks that if you go back a couple of hundred years, I mean outside of their own choosing, but because they were ah, your ancestors were like owned by people and were told what to do and where, like intrinsically nature, without even like an option, did not be tied to nature both like working in agriculture. living in the real situations no running water, even like shit
a cropping and things where you're work the soil and in europe's or like what you eat is directly dependent on what you do with your own hands. Yeah and then the and then in the rican. Production era like after the end of the civil war, the did the these people, who were like really connected to the seasons and natural systems, fer a need to find work. into escape persecution went to northern cities to get manufacturing jobs right and it's funny. How much is a funny? Does inner seeing how, in a couple generations arse like Even our associations would be on they like cities,. right as, although the a natural order of things and we lose sight of sword like that, the factors that led the Democrats affix sociological factors that lead people to be where they are in a way that innovation, appeared a time we
Look, there's an assumption like that's how you'd like it right and it's wrong and that's in its innocent disruption. Absolutely because you know I read isabel where wilkerson. book, the warmth of other sons, and it talks about in painful detail how people you know had to basically the blackie war refugees in this country and jumped on on trains and and didn't get off until the train ran out in places like Chicago men new york in oakland- in los angeles and created and and my my folks were a part of that that wave of that great migration, and it was really I mean- I think, a lot about their beginnings like they they did what's called hot bedding, knew now where they will work in the shipyards as a family in m, uncles and- and you know, kin all or shift
don't shift work, we doing shift work and also sleeping in shifts in the same bed like so in the bed, always state hot air. think about like the grid and the tenacity of people too. You know leave what what they loved. You know to create something new and an even those new places not being welcome place for them to be necessarily but you're right. In that you know we are not generally Generally speaking, we are not more than a couple generations away from that knowledge that connection that, knowing this with nature- and I feel like that's a huge job that outdoor afro you know is responsible for- and that is its not talking about the app since of but the presence of and how it's always been there. How? If you look at it now, I like all of the ways that black people have been, and in this country we have been everywhere doing every
thing and if, even if you don't see it in a magazine or if its, if you don't see the representation in a particular club or organization, doesn't mean that it, it doesn't exist, and so that's you know, that's that's. A huge part of the work is to tell a new narrative, And to tell a narrative that again is empowered and really helps us to find a way to tat. We may not ever get back to those those places where we are completely. I went in there some parts You guys you, as you pointed out, we don't want those who had also just onawandah schools, inner as us, They're after I said and I realize serve like- miss my logic would be that lets say here oh you're, a slave and useful to build the egyptian pharaoh's tomb right, and so you are forced to learn to be a stone mason and you build these
works of human engineering. That will be celebrated right for thousands of years that person who was enslaved, build king tots tomb, look and be like. No, that was the life. right. I learn stone masonry by god. I was good at it or is it just? They don't he's, don't invite me to be nostalgic about me, agrarian background. Exactly because I happened to be there like under force of a whip, that's right, so I'm not gonna get like all you know Sentimental about living close to the land, exactly it's gotta, be tricky, well, For me is allowed people like you gotta go Can you wanna, you know you, people go back and any. Maybe over Bela sure. Why, like accentuate your hardships, because it creates this personal narrative, but that's a whole the level it is it isn't again. That's why stag ice.
Grounded in new narrative creation, you know so going back and in your family history. and recognising how you been empowered doesn't negate the bad stuff right. How do we take the things that that actually could be in service of a better life right now and create something new for ourselves is what I think are ask Israel. Because, because I'm I you knows as much as I appreciate the ways that that that folks have had historical contacts does mean. I need to go back to those places in every way, but I think that sometimes in our effort to distance ourselves from those bad things, we throw away the good to you, and so how do we isn't? Even, for instance, you know for some people living in the
tree or you know, learning about me or being engage with our food ways may feel backwards riot and may feel like a lot. If progress, and so what I, what I hope to do through this work is to really help lift up the those skills, those abilities and your quality of life. You know as actually progressive in a way that you can live longer. You know be be healthier and and find more joy and connect, so is there any? Is there any sentimentality, nature is at all like on, or is it Is there any language of returning to work? It all
framed as there is this thing out there that we haven't engaged in in its beautiful and let's go find out about it for for the folks in our community, but also recognise that the out doors and nature? Why old remote nature has not always been regarded as a safe place for black body I remember I was I was about ten years old and I was like watching a special about civil rights movements in on the whole kind of time line of various event happening, which I honestly don't feel a lot different than the life than that. What were living through right now and there was the there- was a story of em. It till you know them effort for those. I don't know
mattel, was you know, a chicago boy and what people dead when they move to northern cities may still have family living in the south. They would send their children to the south for the summer time so that parents could work and for various reasons, to maintain those familial. Action there, and so he like in outer, relies on about em it's ill, so he guys more in the north yahoo he was, he was mere visiting. His southern relatives and knew now. Guy INA was misunderstood and ended up brutally, he didn't have the addressed yeah a white woman without the proper deference yeah, what with which was you now fatal for for four years and years,
boy figure beaten to death and tied him to appease the mill equipment, threw him off the bridge. So so what happened? in that story and seeing how you know his his I wanted to have an open casket so that the world could see. You know what had happened to her boy, the brutality of it I was you know I was. I was shocked, and I remember going right to my dad after seeing that- and I had asked him you note- could he lived in texas all of his life and I asked him- I think you know: do you know of any one who's been lynched and he just levelled with me- and he said all the time. and that help me to get present in a really young age that there has been a disruption of a feeling of safety and belonging that exist
in generational memory. You know if your dad or if your grandfather can tell you first hand, stories and accounts of those types of things happening and who you know still hold those fears of something happening to you and we, you know we send outdoor afro sent You know folks on all kinds of different adventures, whether be mount whitney or kilimanjaro, and I can tell you that when those expeditionary go out new now just the real fear and concern that those families have for the safety of those folks. For then, I think that that something that No, we we, we, some groups, can take for granted that you can go out and you can feel ok and you might work bout, wildlife to some extent, if you're not experience with it, but for black people. It's about me, I'm worried about other humans? I was,
our starting new writer. One time wrote a piece about being about being black and being afraid to be on public lance, and I called, to ask him what like what he meant right. I wanted to back it up what he meant when he said that. I can see that some would say let's say somerset. I have concerns have been out in the woods on public lana getting shot by a hundred, and we could go and look in the news. And see, and we go via, like. Oh here's a case where a guy who have a mere two ago, some like MR woman walkin, her dog for dear daughter, so we could go, find instances, Is that would substantiate or not or some says, I'm afraid of grizzlies and be like okay, let's, let's dig into this right and is being very grizzlies warranted or not. Now they might still be that gap sober, but I get it statistic
it won't happen, but I'm still afraid of them. Here I wanted to understand, like the fear of public lands yeah, I dunno. If it's public lands, I think it's just the fear of just being out. You know in places where you know, there's not anybody with places where you don't feel defensible and want to keep let's be clear here when it comes to incidents of racism, rare, do you ever get the proof and really rarely do you need it Would it be validated, in a case of a violent like physical safety and violent crime yeah? What we now know these so here is that you Is that how we address it in our organization because it comes up pretty frequently for us and we're not. You know out here, yeah we're not you know out here. You know publicising our stats and things like that, and we don't need to know for it to be valid right. If someone, you know, tells me that they are confronted by a
but people who want to know why are there you now? What? What? What do you do? how are you gonna be here? You know, that's not, really friendly and inviting no no right, and so those are the kinds of things that you know are really tough to help. People understand that just the unwelcoming peace can be enough of it a barrier for people who you know are already coming in with a lot of again a lot of artists Google narrative a lot of things. I know we ve been. We ve grown up. knowing about, and so when you go out to a place and and people are confronting you're very reason for being in a place. That alone is is problematic and those are the kinds of barriers that we have to push through in our work. I've. Personally,
experienced it now got tremendous nature. Swagger I go out and I dont feel ever that I don't belong in public lands, but I've absolutely encountered people who asked me a few too many questions to prove that you know I belong here and I'm not a trespasser here, and I think it gives back to this idea that in its it, I think this is kind of a traditional mindset that public lands belong to certain people you know and that even human human there's a whole. You know don't belong in true wilderness and, I think they're just a bigger conversation we have to have you know around just this idea of humans belonging in nature and how we can exist with nature
generally speaking, but I think that when it comes to communities that have not one felt historically and have known historically that they're not welcomed man and and that bad things have happened in the wood, and there are statistics about that. I mean it from- I believe. Eighteen, seventy seven through nineteen fifty there were forty four hundred instances of people being lynched men, women, children, shot maimed, and these are all- and this is just what we know now so, Everything gets reported that Everything, you know, makes the front pages, but it doesn't make it less true and so again. This is why the work I do feel so relevant, because I want people to be able to come out in groups. Oftentimes people, don't wanna traipse out, to the outdoors by themselves. They want to go out and groups of people
It helped them not only learn, but importantly, to feel safe and if people can continue to go out again and again, which they do, and I very much see like the work we do is like you know, of almost training wheels. If you will you now for people to get out and go well. Ok, I know where to go. I know how to get there. I know where to park. I know I'll be ok there, yeah, and so there's there there's a lot of work to do around welcoming and then there's the other thing. That happens, though, in its overwhelming hey, how are you doing? Oh, my god, be your tour guide, yeah yeah yeah. It's like I walk me through, be to walk me through what it feels like to be overwhelmed and just Just what I just said you know like we were. People are encroaching your space. You know in their one leg you now maybe
I don't know like there's a great a really great video that you should watch in your view is probably pull it up on funnier die it's blear, underwood and he has a spoof called black hiker and basically he's experiencing like the whole range of what happens as a black man in the outdoors right everything from you now the white woman jogger, who suddenly turned around and runs away because she is afraid of pursuit to the park ranger. You know whose basic when, following the whole time and then gets you at the time go ahead and says: you'd need to sign the gas book and like. Why do I have to sign? The guestbook is zero rule that I have to sign the gas book and at the end, you know they break down
Well, you know, we've just never seen a black hiker is my first time I just we just need to know that you are here, you know, and so that's what I mean by over welcoming it's like I. I almost want to defend the overwhelming number, because, like does at some point, does it like is there a room for intention? I think that, now, you're aware like I've heard yet that, because of the things that have gone on, this count yeah I've heard that black people often feel uncomfortable and unwelcome in certain places, and I dont want to contribute to that. yet, so I don't want to also not acknowledge and other persons present few care lest it be misconstrued as hostility. So in there is like be a good person I want to. Many are wrong but then there are shitty actor yeah. You know
I would like. If I I think people put too much on it, just just be with other people. I will try to be an apologist for the person whose, like in their mind, air, like I will not let this city and I will add to that. But when you encounter like the tenth of those poor people, listen it's like you know you like. Ok, I welcome no gay like let me let me enjoy my camp fire here. Let me know our whalers way like a thing that look away: that would happen to somebody as animals k we we human animals, we sort of like become. trained, and what's what we see like right, we become we dislike. subliminally see things where you can trained what word what we know around us thing. I we bring up in point when I travel to other countries like in america. I can see a person walking down the street
and I have a sense of what, like one summer walks by my house, like that person is exercising rate that person like the racing home for some reason, that person It looks like their bike into the office. I don't deliberately deconstruct but what it s like, there's a gather bike helmet knows sue ann shoulder by. I don't know I never even get into it. I don't know boy I go to other countries and drive down the road that some faraway land, another continent it bothers, that everyone walking down the street accused mike, like I don't know what they're doing and we even laugh about our inability to tell like what is up with people, you know all yours, the shit you operate our mind. If you see me out here what hiking boats- ok let me finish my story, okay. So if you I saw my entire life religious, say someone, their entire life in an area where,
they ve ever seen, walking down a too on the woods would be like that. Do its hunting that one walking her dog, the womb with the subaru out back in the like the nylon hat in a profound shades and jogging is like oh exercise, fanatic. Many build these things knew how, without thinking about anything- a person they like you see up person of another. You see a black person or person of another race, you've never seen there. You would there's a there's a trigger where you like
doesn't fit into what I'm accustomed to, and I could see how it would. How would bring about an someone like a need to make sense of it and see bath exactly why we really have to lift up different representation. This is again, this is a representation problem, because if you don't see people who look like me in the glossy pages of the magazine, or you, know you out and in an empowered way they now you are going to be startled and perhaps disrupted and in terms of your perception startled but disrupted. Were you then cause you'd? You can't you. passively make sense of it. So then yours, you put in this position of trying to actively make sense of it. I am laying it all out for you, yeah yeah. I don't want to make into a comfortable sound like lay it out. You know
yeah like how our like our heads were yard. I just I just you know again I go back to you know. Sometimes we over thinks it If you do like do I get paid over thing, I mean what I mean by that is, you know, can people just be? You know and just say: hey how you know our whatever, whatever the norm of communication is forgiven place and just leave it at that. You now because the idea that somehow Well, you know you, or you know the the example that you gave you know has to be responsible. For creating. My experience is in its in and of itself disempower are you now. I like that. I give a worrying. Like is what matters now is not the job of that person, and I just I don't take it s my job. Ok, I don't take it s, my job about, do good jobs,
It's like I take it as a moment where all the and your head, you don't calculate yeah decay, object of just encountering an unexpected face. Yeah and unexpected body yeah, all the things you don't hear carrefour and in may It's like a. Maybe it's an inherited racism, but you can't get rid of. Whatever is stuck in your head You see a person, you don't know you are forced to them. And be like well. How would it be? How would it be that they're here not antagonistic, but it sticks like it. Just sticks. You and colleague. One is one of the circumstances of the individual. They live here. That's interesting yeah, I'm telling you that kind of interest and intrigue
on the other side of that have on is not fun in its not welcomed. I had two like, like I'm in india, nothin on anywhere near that bullet. I don't like that. They have been in situations. In my life, where you are aware of your presence in his socks and so to live like that, all the time yeah on public lands yeah, and that's why I mean again. This is why I the work is so important because we have to lift up and really work through this perception that has been fed to us. That is simply not true of who belongs in the outdoors, because I want the thing. Is people ask me all the time do What like what are you really working toward here, moraine and what you say, and I am working tour. I gather example me but like how do you say that an elevated and elevator but allow in our reef interaction? Well, it is it's been consistent and that is
no. I mean we ve learned a lot of things over the years, but I think your question really gets too. You know what the goal is here in our there when the work is done. There is now going to be so big you're done and there's the parade and may I go down main street and you know that all the resolve, the organization I don't know where he lives in a kind of parade, mind you do you know it's not. You know that big big moment. It is really back. Why it moment right in that moment, when we look up when they guy that you just described that woman or whoever looks up and Seeing people who look like me out, recreating enjoying the outdoors in proportion to their population and their opportunity now, and it's no big deal
you, don't know the fog. Why has ever like giving I'll give you a concrete examples? As I know you like concrete examples, some of is comparable. dear little vessels below a beggar online and I was dead though so I think a lot about. you're old enough to remember this trick to noticed lived through this trajectory too, like a rough in yeah so like when we were little. I rarely get to say that two people, I'm gonna, say, We were a little lower ruin, little kids at the same time right, but usually it's like what I was a little kid you now when I was a whole area but the. But when I was little you were little, I'm sure you remember like you could smoke cigarettes everywhere. You could smoke em in the bank.
smoke, I'm on a train. You smoke em in the restaurant smoke, your non smoking, you get smoke, you can smoke at airplanes, maybe aeroplanes in the back, and they are very limited layer. Nowadays, this love ass. They say I now wish to sell like you could smoke everywhere, it was not even a thing it was. It was something that no one questioned you know there were people probably were individually bothered by it, but generally in the culture. It was just something that was accommodated and then over time it became it, began to be not ok in certain places, and then it got to. point where you really couldn't smoke, anywhere and now northward started, took pity on smokers. Out in the rain? You know where you came from hook. You can't even smoke cigarettes in front like within twenty feet of a building now right but think about where we started? You know and think about how it took a whole generation,
to really shift how we think about tobacco, how we think about smoking, how we think about you know the appropriateness of it, as well as greater awareness of the health consequences of that that we're all is there, but it took a lot of police keys and levers and organizations and pr- and you know a lot of different ways that folks work together to create that shift, and so that's one of the reasons why I want to be on this show. That's one of the reasons why you know. One big reason why do outdoor afro is because we have to be a part of those pulleys in levers that tells a different narrative and gets as to that ordinary moment? Were black people again can be outside enjoying the outdoors being strong, beautiful? and free, not people who have to be rescued from the hood in order to have some kind of conversion experience in the outdoors because that's been that's been the programme,
when at narrative right, like people I'll tell them. Wilderness therapy and quietly out targeted inner city. Kids out holding. So here's the narrative right, it's an evil. I tell people what I do. Something their response is like the opposite of what I do. You know it's like, oh ruined, so great. What you're doing for the poor, children in all. This is that you you're you're rescuing Yeah train by weaken out. I can be a exactly and then they're gonna become conservationists, after that, What are they go home and you know tat their families and then you know the whole families- and I Michael vilest, sit with that for a second and think about what really happened. What happens is that you have provided breathing for this young person, you know worthy no matter what, but you provide everything the gear, the equipment, the the though, where ago, go there how to do you
isolated them from their family in delivering this experience there just there out with pier but they're not with their family and then they go and they have some kind of experience. That is, will absolutely be memorable and there's a lot of narrative also of people having like these breakdowns in breakthroughs or some kind of you know, even jellicoe experience in the in the outdoor is, and then these kids in a bully. Are believed to be changed and then they'll have this in this long, lifelong value of protecting and loving the outdoors and what I see get get plate actually gets played out is that these kids go home and their families may or may not be interested in what that experience was the kid has no way of getting back to that experience. Without you, your organization,
and so there is no chance for that repeated experience and you and I both know that it's not the one time experience it's the life. Long experience. They usually starts in your home and happens again and again and again where you get to learn lessons and you get to fail and you get to be successful and you get the whole range of experience, and that is what creates this passion love the sense of the need to advocate and protect and and be a part of that equation. But it's not the one time backpacking trip- I think that we missed a really big opportunity. You know, I think, as long as we're looking at communities that isn't as needing to be saved or needing to be rescued than we are tapping were not tapping into the full breadth, of a community's empowered cells and that other people, like me, you know
who are professionals and all the people who are our leaders of of of our organization there. All you know busy working professionals of all kinds of backgrounds and nay, you now bring a ordinary ness to the potential for who can be an expert in these experiences and then were in our communities doing these experiences, and so we can do them over and over and over and over again- and they not be episodic, you know and a photo for the newsletter. The outcome was so that I so again we're you know just to kind of get back to your question, I'm so glad you asked about. Like the you know the. What do you Do you really getting to the point where I want that person that feel like they can do, they have to do anything and that they can just be,
and they can respectfully enjoy the outdoors with whoever they happen to encounter in those experiences. Before you areas in our time about a thing another thing he had read that you were talking about the burning Ash picnicking conundrum mention how to get people involved. Oh yeah, you have two very different responses. If you have, if you said, sort of a day of burning out an ex location and like nobody, calls yet nobody rights in like no participate, and then you say well with regard to the same location and have a picnic, and that often everybody comes because I guess it's.
More approachable and you just haven't to have, along with you, you're spotting scope as binoculars, and you achieve the same bird everybody, birds, yeah. The intention is still met but like whatever it was like people just like we're like it doesn't grab and go birding yeah well. First of all, I gotta give you props and props for digging into the crates because that, like that interview, I d like knowing years ago, career that like went deep into the crate chris does her job yeah? Well, I mean it's still true, I mean it's. An evergreen issue where you know people on equal pay attention to people and ask them what they why rain and in peace. Oh I'll, tell you the thing they got a lot of people out initially with, as is that people just want to meet other people. It is what,
meet other people with similar interests, and so, when you create, you know, opportunities for people to connect with people and then there's all kinds of magic. That can happen, and so is absolutely true. I love you know watching wildlife. I love watching birds. I really can there myself a burger per se just because it is a kind of kind of gets to a very narrow point. In my mind- and I want us a highly specialized year- and I just you know- I mean I never can not notice a bird is put it that way, my tracking a meticulous lifeless lists or anything like that. You and I can't say that I do, but I think it's really important for people to notice also because noticing, birds and other wildlife really put you into with the rhythms of of where you are in and and and the health of those places, and I you know I love going too.
Lake merit in open, which is the oldest wildlife sanctuary in the country. and it's also a fine place to have a cook out, and I grew up as a little girl going places likely merit with his wildlife. All around us not necessarily the focus of why people go there, but you you, Pritchett it right, and you know it's important that them. Then there are people indeed who may bring the bread crumbs and by seed season and really engage with the wildlife there. But what I like to do is is exactly that. Like fine away the people are are open to getting outside and even less. Hiking like to say that you know you want people to go for a hike like that. sets up a lot of expectations. People about skill, difficulty, hardship, you know, and so sometimes I'll say, let's go for a stroll. You know like even just
of doing like how you talk about things, opens the door wider for people to feel like? Ok, I can do that, and so, when I say ok, let's have you know a cook out. Will show up for that, because our genome people of food and people left people in and would probably right get it again. I can imagine how this will go very, but if called a birding people might think it. Some kind of you know at very finite educational. You know. that's happening or that they have to come in with a certain amount of knowledge or bring but I colors or whatever, and so by eliminating those things you and getting people to just show up, and I the spotting scope and I have the bird guides and I have a chance to talk to people about,
The migration of these birds and and and also one of the things I love to do without or afro, is to talk about. Just migration histories of of black people, as we mentioned earlier, also arose and how we can learn and and and really connect in with the migration of wildlife similar to the migration of people and thinking about like you now. What are you? What? What? What are you need during the times that you are our people have travelled. You know what did they need to be sustained? What are they need to feel safe in and talk about also. You know those same birds that were around you know who are who are flying from alaska along the pacific flyway. So it's a really fun way to connect people into a conversation. That's not just about this purely academic exercise, but one is really about belonging and connecting and noticing and
I've been really thrilled to see the ways that people have really caught on and and we ve got people in our community who, who are who say their borders We we have, you know I have a really robust number of people who, just you know, I've embraced wildlife, observation and engagement, but you gotta meet people where they are. Do you pitch people on it, like dimmer account or someone who says no interest, man no interest in asia and do I did like cool? I respect that urge. You then go like all but hear me out. Ok, so the conversation for people usually goes something like by I'll tell people. What I do and they'll say, while like camping now, like hiking em, like ok, what I mean. Do you you like a fish?
well yeah yeah. You know me and my dad or me, you know, there's a story. You know, there's always going to be like a breakthrough story that you can connect with that relates to something that people are already doing another thing that people do is tailgate lake, if you ask me like tailgate, is like day camp like miller tailgating like atta game. They can't I mean I've. You look at all the equipment that people by its name equipment that people by when they're going camping, you know complete, sometimes with a tent and like the zero from the airy dangling. Everything is, very you know, primitive in those environments with me not rarely any running water cooler with eyes, tat, ear yeah I mean exactly so. You know. Also getting people just see the things that there already doing as outdoors. Could I think that the other problem
we ve had, is it there has been a representation that there is the right way. There's like there aren't. There are the best ways, to be in the outdoors and then there's ways to be in the outdoors. I dont really matter as much and again I look at how do you know especially busy working families stressed communities The idea that someone can confine leisure in an experience like dangling off side of a mountain is ludicrous. You know like. Instead, you know people who have recreational time if they have the ability to take time off cause a lot of people work through weekends or they work in the evening times and what they are wanna do is probably do a cook out. You know, maybe you know, connect with you know some of their friends and go fishing. And not do some of these really high adrenaline far away activities, and so that's been a really em.
In part of our work and when I did it a pole, earl we had just enough of a sample size, asking people they what's in the way for you like how you know, how can we help solve some of the ways of getting you outdoors if you're not already am damn gear and equipment was huge, people just did there asked about. You know what do I need or widow I already have that it can be be no repurposed for outdoor experiences, and, as you know, quite a lot, you already have the union. Have to go and buy where to go, what to do fears and perceptions, fears of not only, of course, wildlife, but also of other people, not feeling welcome, but the number one reason was time: zero, young yeah and any here it here's the thing it wasn't.
there is not enough time, but it was the perception that you'd needed a lot of time in order to get out and so, if you can't go to yosemite for a week, then you there was a guy. Doesn't right now. So that's what we set out to do was to help create opportunities for people to get out in nature in chunks of time, so we started doing like these. Like you know these hiking happy hours, you know where people might spend time like in a bar, or you know something after work between you now work in going home, but instead invite- them to go out and nature with us. Creating those opportunities on a weekend that took more no more than two hours from start to finish so that you still could go and participate in the soccer practice or take care grandma go to church or whatever, and so they know we really are meeting people and especially busy working families in the point of their need in order to open the door to access, and then we can take.
people along a continuum to do more things. You know things that take more time, but by then leave we establish trust and we have also established a way for people to feel more comfortable. Do you? Do you play in your head? european numbers game about represent. nation in sort of like that, the industry of the outdoors or the the nonprofit like the non industry of the outdoors. Do you do look and think like man, it would be great if we, get to some level of parity yeah or is it more? You desinteresse an individual experience. As you know, and you not using like a metric of totality here, I think when you start plan the color by numbers game, it's dangerous. I think you do I don't you know I'd, I don't I'll rather I'd. I don't play that
color by numbers, meaning like we gotta, have x number. You know I. I cannot go back to looking like america, let's, let's start there, you know, let's look at, let's be proportionate. Right by gender by raise, but also really looking at where people live like. I don't expect to see a big population represented of of of people who look like me in places where we don't even live right and so or were you know when I look at, for example, places near oakland where there's like tons of beautiful hiking trails. When you go on those trails, it looks like the population of people who were there goes yet, and so I expect you now where people live and it proves to be true- that where people live and where is accessible to people, they are. I think it's really important, however, that the.
History that associate with the outdoors do a better job of representing that reality, and I think that's what we don't see enough and that's when you know again: r r b. Names in working with the outdoor industry years ago. There are very few folks Look like me who are on the show, floors and really talking about represent in this way I'm not really proud to say that they have come a long way, but again, I'm I'm looking for representation that actually feels realistic and represent that actually does represent the realities of what people do verses it being just a marketing strategy are affected. So we have a representation, I think quite it is our no. I wasn't make you feel cause. We notice how many years ago brain we love and you a lot mountain house. The food products are familiar and then their packaging, is always had a group of people camp
insert well historically, is the bad doesn't know the painting it's like, oh and then it went to a million ears. It was like a backpack or like in the pacific northwest like a pan, but they changed the packaging and also there's a picture of a very diverse, looking group of people this. I can't remember exactly two men, one woman yeah person of asian descent, yeah and a black person than the man's glass, right. So when you see that, are you like grey, good for or are like you know, when I do, I look at the company's leadership Look at that tells me the real story. Zara who's represented there. So that not like us. We now who's on your board design, your board There's the who's this week, because
I believe that equity and rebel indentation, starts with design and not with optics now just because you hired model, you know to be on Cover of your product doesn't that you really stand for, and that's one of the reasons why you know we're really thoughtful about the partners that we have as part of our partnership portfolio, because I really want to know what you're doing when no one's looking. You now and and I also want to make sure that we have a risk reciprocal relationship where can learn from you and you can learn from us in others, not just the you're gonna pick brain for diversity, equity, inclusion, because we have so much more to offer the mad. Now we have, you noticed the network of super brilliant people who come with their own expertise that continue to you no help. You should outdoor afro. That is also you know able to move into some of these organizations. Like the thing, that's really
me so happy inspired to see so many people who become outdoors Afro leaders get awakened to a whole industry of professional opportunity that they didn't even know existed, you know and so and we're talkin about not you know, entry level, professionals or talking about mid career people who are able to pivot some good education and inexperience into these fields and and get good jobs and and jobs that have influence and sire really care a lot about. You know what's the holistic way, that a company or a non profit organization is showing up, and I know that if you ve got folks who are really at the helm of decision making, that I'll have a lot more confidence in the authenticity of those efforts. I everything I know I know my real I have no, that's not well articulated. Fear of cynicism around inclusion and
I meant when I wrote. That is that I don't know well look at our own company. Ok, I'm aware in my head I am aware that we ve built the company that is equal male like fit, but about fifty percent about fifty percent. Male might be a little bit off or it's like, remarkably better than the industries that we work in okay, and so I look at that and like I feel proud about that, but the I think and you'd want someone. You are forced into a conversation about this about gender equity force into conversation. I dont like the feeling of needing to say. Oh no, look My call c o is a woman because of the lake, I don't want to. I run the. I don't want to risk making her he'll trivialized are making I feel like an emblem right.
she or she or that qualified, not qualified. It's like yeah, wiser being really heart, like ice I see it, I acknowledge it, I'm proud of it, but I'm afraid to like, start, applying numbers to all this shit lest people all of a sudden start looking around the room and be like. Why am why am I here? You know, am I here, because you run around counting all this shit up in your head, yeah and you're. waiting for some ball and on the part of this year, like master plan like that's what I'm doing here is on animals here, because I'm kickass at work- and I. on the flip side of how you like tell me like explained. like how idea now. How did they deal with that like why they One of the things that challenges us right now, especially in this time, is that people, I call thirsty for diversity. You know like people just want it just to be, because it's
emblematic. You know, and I and you can reassure me and you can tell like when it's not like they gotta, they gotta, say a gun to their head, but they're like they feel enormous pressure to be like yeah. Here I am kicking ass, yeah yeah and you know we're really thoughtful like we can smell being a grant, deliver, all like a mile away. You now, because real here you know people want the picture they want. You know, They want us to explain, grant deliverable well for some. the profit organizations there, they have mandates through their funding streams, to commit to diversity, equity and inclusion right and that I mean that might be in that. You need to make sure that your programs have representation, outreach, actual engagement, you know of certain demographics, and there are folks who reach out to us routinely. You know that
want to partner with you and for us you know, partnership means a few different things right partner may mean like you've got something already baked in, and you just wanna invite us to be a part of that thing that we didn't necessarily have a part in creating, but we're invited and then the photo get snapped, and it looks like its diverse but it wasn't really thought partnership involved. It was just kind of more of an optical exercise, Another version of partnership is, when you know two or more groups, get together and think about something that makes sense for them all participate in, and that feels a lot better than the third is just outright sponsorship like we. You know we love you're doing. We want to give you support to keep moving in the direction that you're moving in, and so I think, o optics. Now, with no optics. You know that people really want to support what you're doing and don't necessarily need to center themselves visually in in and in a way that validates it's success. So I think to your question, though I think it always boils
and the relationships right and people even online, and I know you have experiences to like all know when you're authentic and when you are not new and so on we want to encourage us all to get a better relationship with each other and I feel thankful. I I'm on a board right now with the wilderness society and we ve been in relationship with each other for over a decade it and it started with them. Just seeing me seeing my work and and using their platforms to share what I was already doing. That in co opted they're like hey. This is what she's doing we want to recognize her all the way. to you know helping us with some office space in d c, and then you know now among their governing council, but it was like a long time for me to feel like it. I get asked to join board, all the time you can tell the year on the normal path to aboard member yeah right
just someone may lose a relate, there's a courtship. There is, and so I think that the same thing is has to be true in our work places where we really need to get down sectors in the same room together in one of them all that I have for outdoor afro. You know in it in this new conversation. Obviously, as it is a little piece of this, but we have to get out of the the same conversations with the same people and makes things up and get into other sectors where they maybe a little further along in some of these areas that we we care about, but also it gives us some exposure to different ideas and and and really helps us to do, a better job of network we weaving and be able to have access to other resources that we wouldn't otherwise be able to act like I feel times. You know that insularity makes its feels like a pond. That's overfished right, it's just leg is, if it people
back to the same people. The same conversations is the same people on the same panel discussions. You know I'm dislike, I'm done, I want new friends. I wanna go to different places and well learn how other people, sectors are doing things and and take those new ideas back home and create you know a sense of real innovation. Do you feel like you get you whatever the power being overfished stipulate, you get a lot of calls that come from superficial internet searches, yeah, definitely I mean you know, I'm sure that we probably pop up on the first page of you know putting in just a few select key words and I think takes people a while to get to know who we are and the new wants way that we show up that. You know, informs the best partnerships you know and in it and good partnership they they just have for us. They ve taken
time, we have a lot of people right now who were coming on board. You know I'm not deducting points for timing. You know by any means, because I think you know we gotta start someplace but I do want people to know that were not interested in just getting a check. You know we're not interested in you know a social media mention or putting them on our social media. There were really looking for people who we can go out for beer with and talk about, stuff and really get to know and then really, innovate and think about you know new ways of of addressing all problems. And again it really comes down to relationship I always say that change only happens at the speed of relationships. You know. So all of all the eggs or out here china, you don't rush kids and communities to the altar of conservation. You now in
in a single grant year or a single program are just not not going to get it right, and I think we've got to really really respect that we're. You know where people connecting to people, people connecting with places and the more we understand about people and places and take the time to really get to know those places the will land in a really solid place where we can build from their rooms, How can people find you outdoor afro across all the platforms, love to hear from people love to hear how we can be in relationship with each other pretty confident loudly will be real. Annoyed that they had listened to us have a differ. Conversation they'll want that but then a lot of people will hopefully lobby or reach out you. Why,
if you are going to go to want to know what they can do more than just reaching out and what If I cannot be really interested in doing other without door, afro yeah, I think were in a really interesting time in our country. Right now where people are by their wanting to fine like where the path is the lanes that feel relevant to them. No. So obviously, people in the outdoor spaces, you know, are coming to us verses from other industries, but I just would invite people to start with check in the south. And really getting to know outdoor afro online before coming to us with this thing that they are we have baked in that they want us to do with them. I think the people who take the time to get No, because we're not going anywhere There's no, like you know, deadline here, first be put connect with
as so take the time where this all goes well, I gotta get in before it goes away. I mean we're we're not going anywhere we're we're solid. We've been around for ten years. As interesting point, you know and- and you know for me- it's been really important to build a professional organization that is responsive to people who want to connect with us. We've got a great team of folks who we can connect them with. So if it's a program, you know I've got a great program director who could you know, get into conversation with people and find out if there's something of she will benefit their people can always donate to us and we were not for profit organization and we need resources too to maintain that the level of professional delivery that we do for everyone, and then we also invite people to get outside with us. You know always like to say that you don't have to have an afro to be a part of
outdoor afro, so if you felt like it was going to be a stupid question, I've made that a goal my life to you know not think that just go ahead and ask, but that was I was going to ask like to have an afro to join. Now now I mean we, we really welcome everybody who leave and what we're doing right? you believe in what we're doing, and you want to be a part of that. You know we welcome and of your an event like me, Indiana showed up huge If you have you know, you'd have a ball and you will get kicked out. Oh god! No! No! No! No! I mean you know, here's the thing about outdoor afro, that's been great, you know, and that is specificity has been universal. We could have called people of color and the outdoors, and that's like everybody in no,
he and the sometimes sometimes in our reach, to try and include every body in every thing we we can get lost in that, and I think, because we have been so focused in our network, outreach and engagement that people can see exactly where we are on a map in their relationship. You know either close or further away from it, but they know you know there is a definite dot on the map and that kind of specificity I have found has made our message: fuel, more accessible and universal to more people, and because people get there people, sometimes choose to come out with us, and sometimes they say you know what you guys need to have some space to work some stuff out, and I don't have to centre myself in those spaces. But as far as like the welcoming
peace, you know when we have our our annual training. You know that obviously comes up. You people want to know you know if, if the ito they, to be a certain way or in, and we always say that everyone is welcome and Here we have multiracial families and all kinds of folks. You know who bring. You know all kinds of identities and add geographies. An economic class is so where were really happy to be an open door for people who are behind what we're doing less for joining us. Thank you for having me helps. People can find you sure- and I hope some people come find- you you're going to do you're going to fish tomorrow, I'm looking forward to that. Okay, we're going to eat fish tonight, I'm loving that idea
well what kind of fish I want to know. What am I miss? Well from from from my trip for DAS boat season to dos boat, I brought home a bunch lake trout, filets faith. Holy shit feels good man. mostly smoker grill, and I was I was going to smoke. But then we fell in love with eating them. Grilled I got one left and then I then I put some turkey while turkey breasts in a brine and then when I have people over hours, cook yams cause. I don't have to just put them in the oven at the bottom. Nice yeah. I think it's nice, but it's just lazy. Now I work and I brought you guys something to really yeah. I brought you some cherry jam that I made last month. So so, if you have maybe some ice cream or something my kids would be guy? I will see later. Brodie will see you tomorrow. They re writing it. Thank you
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Transcript generated on 2022-11-12.