We Need Nature Now More Than Ever
Call to Action
Join Outdoor Afros around the country on December 13th for a Healing Hike
Right now we are living in times that are hard to understand. Recent events in Ferguson and in New York have re-opened wounds of fear and doubt that have divided our country, revealing riveting currents of pain and distrust.
These events touch me personally and professionally. As a mother of three brown children (two of them boys), and the aunt of several young adults in Oakland, California, I find myself holding them all tighter with alternating rage and despair, knowing my hope and love alone cannot defend them from a shape-shifting and potentially lethal enemy.
As the leader of an organization that strives to lower barriers of historic fears between people and nature, especially for people who look like me – how can I now reassure members that it’s OK for our children to go outside to play or stroll, and that they will come home alive?
The weight of these concerns feels suffocating indeed.
Yet through it all, I still feel hopeful knowing we have at our disposal a variety of platforms to respond and press for change and justice. For instance at Outdoor Afro, we typically call out the ways nature teaches and heals us.
Throughout our history in the US, there are many examples of how our people have expressed our greatest societal needs in both the streets and in natural settings.
We recall how Harriet Tubman led our people with and through nature to help us find freedom. The March on Washington brought together thousands of all hues in a national park to demand civil rights. In recent years, #Occupy reclaimed and camped in city plazas around the country, calling on economic fairness. And today, we are protesting in nearly every major city in response to the grand jury decisions in Ferguson and New York City calling once again for justice because #BlackLivesMatter.
Photo: Debra Benton
Right now, our country is ailing, and I hold the belief that we can turn to nature to provide an important pathway toward our healing as we always have. So in keeping with tradition, and building off our own poignant Healing Hike in Oakland last week, Outdoor Afro leaders around the country call on friends, allies, and partners to join us December 13th for a day of healing in nature.
Locate your local Outdoor Afro network through Meetup.com; or simply get out with your friends, family, church, or local outdoor organization. Share how you are healing in nature to inspire others: Hashtag #HealingHike
We hope you will join us, but more importantly, we hope you find healing and hope during these challenging times for us all.