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Outdoor Industry: We Don’t Want Your Hashtags, We Want Action!

Woman rock climbing sun at backPhoto credit: Irene Yee
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A global uprising against anti-Black racism and white supremacy is happening, and yet the outdoor industry is mostly silent.

Perhaps it’s because you can’t send a free jacket or a hashtag to this movement and call it done. Or, maybe your organization’s DEI efforts left with the Black folks whose jobs were cut first?

Maybe now you are starting to realize that moving towards equity and justice is a long-term commitment to anti-racism and dismantling white supremacy in your organization.

Maybe you’ve realized that your organization’s all-white leadership and boards are problematic and have been overtly complicit for years.

Maybe this time you are watching the pain of our struggle as Black people play out on a national stage and you won’t dismiss it as us being “too sensitive.”

Whatever the case may be, we are watching and holding you accountable now. And we want more than a social media post. The influence of Black content creators goes both ways. You wanted our faces and bodies for your campaigns — now show up for our lives.

We don’t need saviors. We don’t want your gear. We want action. Here are the starting points:

  1. Say something!
  2. Put money behind your social media posts. Give publicly to these and other organizations that resist against police brutality, racism, and white supremacy.
  3. Ask your Black employees what they need right now.
  4. Hire us. Black folks have given you a lot of free labor and advice. Just as you were able to find capital to make that jacket lighter, I’m sure you can find funding to hire Black folks to positions of real leadership and power.
  5. Pay Black environmentalists, equity/justice advocates, and athletes in real dollars and not in “exposure” for what they have created for you and your brand.
  6. Divest from athletes/organizations/companies/donors who continue to be racist and create harmful/unsafe environments for Black folks.
  7. Support affinity Black spaces with financial capital and not in-kind granola bars.

This is in no way an exhaustive list. We are just getting started. Join us or get left behind.

Grace Anderson is co-director at PGM ONE. She originally posted this article on Medium on June 1, 2020.

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