We’re excited to announce a new initiative that has been underway—Creating Safe Spaces. As many of you know or may have personally experienced yourselves, accessing and enjoying nature and the outdoors is not always a positive experience. For many Black, Indigenous, people of color and people with varying abilities, recreating outside may involve facing microaggressions, harassment, and in many cases, acts of violence. Whether these instances occur in national parks or local, outdoor greenspaces, people face unique challenges and barriers that vary by identity group. To address these concerns and champion potential solutions, we’ve partnered with several NWF Board Members to organize a multi-year Creating Safe Spaces initiative.
To kick-off our multi-year initiatives, we seek to shed light on the challenges that Black Americans face in safely accessing outdoor green spaces. Through a series of regional roundtables culminating in a national townhall and other initiatives, the National Wildlife Federation and its partners hope to provide Black individuals with the opportunity to share their experiences in navigating green spaces, and identify inhibitors for Black people navigating the outdoors safely. We hope to utilize the lessons learned from these roundtables to develop a short report highlighting the overarching issues that exist in this space, and ultimately leverage the voices of those who choose to share their experiences by hosting a briefing on Capitol Hill and creating state or federal policy that helps foster the creation of safe spaces for all. Our long-term goals include hosting annual roundtables focused on increasing access to the outdoors for different identity groups based on the framework that we have built through our current efforts, which may ultimately funnel into a long-term program in the Federation. As part of that program, we plan to implement ‘on-the-ground’ actions, working with our partners to help provide concrete results in improving the conditions for individuals engaging in outdoor activities.
Our first roundtable is scheduled to take place Tuesday, December 8, 6:30-8:00pmEST. Our very own Mamie Parker and David Mizejewski will be moderating the roundtable and we have a diverse set of individuals that will be joining us as roundtable participants. The event is open to the public and we’ll be circulating a social media toolkit in hopes of obtaining your support in advertising the event in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, save the date and see you there!