This guest post is written by Rue Mapp, founder of Outdoor Afro, a social community that Klean Kanteen is proud to partner with. We wanted to spread the word about this upcoming Saturday's Healing Hike, and we couldn't think of a better person to do so than Rue herself. In her words:
Right now, we're 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 boys, and the aunt of several young adults in Oakland, California, I find myself holding them all a little tighter these days. And every day in my work, my team and partners, such as Klean Kanteen, strive to lower perceived barriers between people and nature, especially for people who look like me.
Through it all, I feel hopeful knowing we have at our disposal a variety of platforms to respond and press for change.
For instance: at Outdoor Afro, we typically call out the ways nature teaches and heals us.
Throughout our history in the U.S., there are many examples of how our people have expressed their greatest societal needs in both the streets and in natural settings. We recall how Harriet Tubman led 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 claim civil rights. And today, people are protesting in nearly every major city in response to the grand jury decisions in Ferguson and New York City calling for justice, all the while digitally chanting: #BlackLivesMatter.
Indeed our country is ailing, yet I strongly believe that we can turn to nature to provide an important pathway toward our healing as we always have. So in keeping with our history of turning to nature, Outdoor Afro leaders around the country call on friends, allies and partners to join us December 13, 2014 for a day of healing in nature.
Locate your local Outdoor Afro network through Meetup.com or simply get out with your friends, family, congregation 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 to find healing and hope during these challenging times for all.