Black Lives Matter – Now and Always

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As we grieve the murder of George Floyd, Daunte Wright and many Black lives lost before theirs, we stand with our Black youth, families, staff, and partners. No one should face the threat of violence and intimidation, ever. 

As a youth-serving, nature-based organization we believe that the outdoors should be open and safe spaces for communities to learn, explore, grow, and heal. But having that belief doesn’t make it true. 

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) know all too well that outdoor spaces remain unsafe and rooted in systemic racism.  

We again saw instances of this recently. It happened last month when Amy Cooper called the police on Christian Cooper (no relation), a Black man who was birdwatching in Central Park. We saw it when Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man was murdered in Georgia while jogging. Countless unrecorded incidents of harassment and violence in the outdoors like this happen to BIPOC every day. 

These injustices prove just how far we have left to go in the fight for racial equity in outdoor spaces, and beyond. 

As a mostly white-led organization, we at Camp Fire Minnesota recognize our responsibility to help create an anti-racist society and safety in nature. We also understand that we have work to do. And we have to keep doing better.  

Inclusion has long been a core value; we continue our journey to identify our own biases and better understand the systemic racism in our own field. It’s been humbling work and is ongoing. Our current strategic plan names Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as our first and most pressing goal. As part of our strategic plan, we are also developing a robust Inclusion Plan for the organization that includes listening, learning, and acting to break down systemic racism for youth in the outdoors.  

Additionally, we’re committed to using our platform to promote diversity and inclusion in the outdoors, share anti-racism resources for youth and families, and lift up BIPOC voices who are doing inspiring work in the outdoors and environmental justice field. 

We encourage parents and guardians who are navigating how to talk to their kids about racism to tune into: 

Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism, a Sesame Street Town Hall 

We also encourage those looking for continuous education and resources to take action to create an anti-racist world. Sign up to receive emails from the Anti-Racism Daily. This resource sends one email per day, pairing current events with historical context and personal reflection on how racism persists in the United States (and around the world). Its founder, Nicole Cardoza, reminds us that “Anti-racism work doesn’t start and end when the protests do. It’s a practice, which means we do it consistently, over time and with vigor.”

To our Black youth and community members – we see your pain and stand side-by-side with all those calling for a more just and equitable society. Above all else, we value your life. Black Lives Matter – now, and always.