2017 Outdoor Afro Policy AgendaOutdoor Afro is at the forefront of helping more people, particularly African Americans, equitably reconnect with the natural world through Outdoor Recreation. We activate networks in nearly 30 states, led by trained volunteer leaders who facilitate activities such as hiking, biking, camping, environmental education, conservation stewardship, and more. Through planned activities, we reach 20,000 people and amplify those experiences through coordinated social and traditional media efforts that reach millions. We are changing the visual narrative, and inspiring access to the most pristine nature as well as urban nature, including local parks, trails, and open spaces. These activities promote not only a healthy lifestyle, they also help communities find healing, connect to black history found in many natural areas, and inspire an increased desire to protect vulnerable public lands for all to enjoy. Our growing network is mostly comprised of college-educated, civically engaged men and women, many who plan and act on behalf of children and senior community members. And more than any other group, African Americans turn to Outdoor Afro for advice on where to recreate, what outdoor gear to invest in, and what causes need our greatest attention. Through our experience working with government agencies at all levels, national conservation groups, outdoor companies, and philanthropists as a key advisor over the last decade, Outdoor Afro affirms that more people need to be involved in supporting policy decisions that affect access, sustainable infrastructure, and funding for our public lands near and far. Outdoor Afro is also committed to helping voice African American influence on these public lands by encouraging African Americans to use their spending power to work alongside outdoor companies that share our vision for equity in access and enjoyment of our park and open space heritage. The outdoor industry represents a $646 billion outdoor economy, and the African American spending power in the country represents over 1 trillion dollars since 2015, with black consumers continuing to set trends and inspire popular culture, particularly online. Right now, we have an opportunity to better leverage the financial influence and benefits between these two economies, while helping to position members of our constituency to move from consumers to leaders and influencers in the recreation industry. In 2017, partnerships will continue to be our key mechanism to affect change; and we will embrace the chance to work with regional and national organizations, companies, and leaders who support and embody diverse participation in the outdoors to achieve our policy goals.
- Encourage national, regional and local leaders to protect America’s public lands and waters, including recreational opportunities and the American jobs they support.
- Empower more African Americans to become informed and empowered advocates to protect public lands with policymakers in Washington D.C., as well as in their states, counties, cities, and towns.
- Support increased and diverse participation and executive leadership in the Outdoor Recreation Economy.
- Champion outdoor industry brands that share Outdoor Afro’s commitment to equity, access to parks for all Americans, and value sustainable global supply chains that respect human rights and the environment.
- Engage with companies, not-for-profits, and leadership who advocate for reducing greenhouse gases and ensuring that the no communities disproportionately carry the costs of climate change.
- Advocate for increased transportation funding to lower barriers to nature, so that more people, especially youth and their families, can have efficient, affordable means to get outdoors - especially to those places close to home.
- Defend the protection of sacred public lands and the communities that depend on them.
- Promote culturally competent programing and staffing in parks to help more people feel welcome and understood in those spaces through outreach, on-site participation, and ongoing, lifelong engagement.
- Create more synergies with non-traditional conservation allies such as clergy, artists, social justice, human and public health professionals.
- Recognize the need to protect wildlife and their habitats as part of a healthy human ecosystem, while also supporting lawful and sustainable hunting and fishing practices.
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