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Our Work

Mission

Mission: to change the outdoor narrative to celebrate people of color.

Vision

Vision: a future where people of color feel welcomed and empowered in the outdoors.

Knowledge is Power
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Photo Courtesy of National Park Service website

Why the Work is so Important

The narrative of the outdoors begins with a racist foundation that forcibly removed People of Color from their rightful land, gave white people namesake rights and a false sense of ownership of “public” lands, declared those public lands off-limits to People of Color, and continues to make the outdoors a threatening place for non-whites. The combination of land acquisition, legalized segregation, economic inequality, and historical and present-day racial violence have perpetuated the diversity gap in the outdoors.

Where We Work

Color My Outdoors' work is based solely in the U.S., with a focus on the southeast—those states in the Jim Crow South that were opposed to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibited segregation in public places.

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How We Work

Narratives are common frameworks that help us build an understanding to navigate through society. They influence and shape our values and decisions as we navigate through life. However, our nation’s commonplace narratives justify racial inequities and perpetuate harm on communities of color. Racial equity and equality will not happen by sheer goodwill, changing the narrative will take intention and multi-sectional work.

 

The role Color My Outdoors plays in this movement is both complimentary and collaborative to the work of other influencers, organizations, and companies with aligned missions. Together, our work will shape a new narrative that speaks to the integral role People of Color have always had and will continue with the wonderful outdoors.

Our Programs
To create a more racially inclusive narrative, Color My Outdoors’ plan of action includes the following programs:

CHANGE

Changing Perception

Color My Outdoors’ storytelling initiative aims to dismantle the pervasive stereotype through print, digital, video, and in-person stories.

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Color My Outdoors aims to dismantle the stereotype that "people of color don't like the outdoors," by providing the historical context (e.g. until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 many state and local parks were segregated) and working with the gatekeepers of the narrative to understand their role in inviting people of color outside and creating a safe space. By changing the narrative, we change the future. We will no longer tell our children that Black and Brown people inherently don’t enjoy the outdoors. People of color will have a voice in how they are represented when future generations tell the story of the great outdoors.

Changing Perception

COLLABORATE

Collaborating Toward Change

Color My Outdoors facilitates collaborative opportunities for diverse-led outdoor organizations to engage with each other.

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There are few for-us-by-us opportunities for outdoor organizations led by people of color to convene and work together on the issue of racial equity in the outdoors. Color My Outdoors facilitates collaborative opportunities for diverse-led outdoor organizations to learn from and work with one another. And we help the gatekeepers of the narrative find meaningful ways to invest in relationships with these organizations and their leaders,

Collaborating Toward Change

BUILD

Building Up Leaders

Color My Outdoors’ provides opportunities for people of color to move into leadership positions in the outdoor industry.

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Over 83% of the National Park Service’s more than 21,000 permanent and temporary employees are white, about 20 percentage points higher than the rest of the federal government. Likewise, employees and contractors for outdoor retailers and adventure centers are disproportionately white. Color My Outdoors’ primary fundraising goal is to provide scholarships and grants to mission-aligned individuals and organizations to pursue certifications and education, host community programs, or engage in other activities that promote more people of color to outdoor leadership positions.

Building Up Leaders

EMPOWER

Skill Building & Empowerment

Color My Outdoors creates experiences to introduce adults to the outdoors in a way that builds their skill and confidence.

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There are numerous programs to introduce children living in marginalized communities to the outdoors. We believe that adults must also be introduced to the outdoors in a way that builds up skills and confidence so they can continue these outdoor activities with their children and their peers—this is how we create generational change. Color My Outdoors creates immersive workshops and experiential learning opportunities that will allow a participant to gain a new outdoor skill so they may enjoy the activity on their own and introduce their family and friends to the activity.

Skill Building & Empowerment

Impact

By providing access to training and education for people of color to pursue a career in the outdoor industry or engage in outdoor activities, we are inviting more people of color to feel welcomed and empowered in the outdoors. By changing the narrative, we change the future.

We Need Your Support!

To do this work, we need change-makers, like you, who are ready to take action to confront the racism that continues to exclude People of Color. Your donation today will support one of the programs above and create the means for racial equity in the outdoors.