I went on a bike ride this weekend. The movement felt good in a week so intense. I’ve had a post about how cycling can feel good in these stressful times and the local bike rides that I’ve gone on to aid in my own mental health ready to go for awhile now. But it’s going to have to wait. There’s a movement going on right now. Black lives matter and black voices also matter. So I’m not going to lend too much of my own commentary to this post but rather highlight a couple black LGBTQ folks, outdoors folks and acknowledge that we all need to be actively working to dismantle racism in America, whether that is participating in the current protests, or in any of the myriad of other ways we can show up.
This post from my friend and author Rahawa Haile sums up nicely what she wants to see coming from outdoor companies. “…where and how much they have contributed to various bail relief and community organizing efforts…Show us the receipts. Tell us what material goods, if any — headlamps, bandannas, wanted bottles, snacks, gloves — are being donated to help those protesting…”
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It has sickened me to see massive outdoor companies throw up an Instagram post filled with platitudes and call it a day. I don’t have the words for this past week in police brutality, for the toll it has taken on me and my Black friends, but seeing these posts is beyond infuriating. It’s insulting, and we won’t forget them anytime soon. That The North Face and Columbia are unable to say the word Black—to specify Black lives—speaks volumes. And it is easier for REI to ask people to look within than to plainly state systemic racism is the reason Black people keep being murdered in this country.
While Cyclista Zine calls on bike companies to divest themselves of contracts with police forces across the nation. Juxtaposed to a video of a police officer using a bike as a weapon it is a powerful sight for those of us to like to think of the bicycle as a tool of movement and freedom.
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Dear Cycling Industry… this is the Brand Awareness you deserve for supporting police departments and your exclusive racist practices. . We are calling on those who believe that bikes are tools of freedom to repost and make this viral. We need to be holding the bike industry to be transparent, accountable, and pledge against police contracts, racist practices, and require anti-racism training in their companies. • “One of the many horrifying facets of this is watching the police use bicycles as weapons on protestors.” @schwinnatallcosts . “My friend Kenya, take it away: —————– . From @weaponsnfros : Bicycles have always been a tool for freedom. The autonomy of going where we want, at the pace we want, and when we want. A revolutionary tool that not only brings unlikely communities together, but reduces our carbon footprint. Yet as the country has exploded in what is a fight for Black people to not be murdered by the police, the bicycle has transformed into a tool for fascism. Across the country, cops are using their bikes to block the movement and to inflict harm on protestors who are exercising their right to civil disobedience. Companies like @trekbikes, @ridecannondale, @fujibikes, @raceharo, @bellbikehelmets, @enduracycling, @girocycling, and @kali_motorsports all manufacture bikes and bike-related gear for police units across the United States. We’re asking for the immediate halt of this production as well as to debadge and donate the bikes. @Iamspecialized made their declaration as to where they stand. As things continue to grow and evolve, our question is what side of history will YOU be on? @trekbikes @ridecannondale @fujibikes @raceharo @bellbikehelmets @girocycling @kali_motorsports @rideshimano @enduracycling @ridebontrager @parktoolblue @pactimo_official . @feltbicycles What we are looking for: 1. A public statement. 2. A divestment of police contracts 3. Investment in athletes of color and black athletes 4. Support of local bike programs in BIPOC communities #gobybike #bikesnotbombs #blacklivesmatter #blackcyclistsnetwork #blackcyclistsunite
And lastly, influencer and LGBTQ Advocate Ashlee Marie Preston checks back in about her #PridePledge campaign. Part of her #YouAreEssential initiative the campaign was “…launched as an ask to corporate Pride sponsors to reallocate some of the funds they’d already set aside for festivals all across the country (that have now been cancelled) toward vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community who’ve been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” And the sad sad truth? “Weeks later, zero companies have signed on for a total of 0.0 dollars.”
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Happy first day of #PrideMonth 🌈 A few weeks ago I launched #PridePledge as a sub-initiative under the #YouAreEssential campaign that’s been funding COVID-19 related efforts nationwide. The PridePledge campaign was launched as an ask to corporate Pride sponsors to reallocate some of the funds they’d already set aside for festivals all across the country (that have now been cancelled) toward vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community who’ve been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.🤲🏾 I started a petition on Change.org and am nearly at 10,000 signatures in support of the initiative. Weeks later, zero companies have signed on for a total of 0.0 dollars—despite media coverage and personal phone calls made, emails sent, and contact with many of their PR firms. This year we’re doing Pride differently. We’re focusing on taking care of our own and fighting for LGBTQ folx on the margins just like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera intended.✊🏾✊🏼 Any company who isn’t about that isn’t helping us fulfill that mission shouldn’t be allowed to take up (or buy up) space at our future festivals. When they post their rainbow ramblings, please write #PridePledge in the comment section and if you’d like—mention why it’s important to you that they show up for us.❤️ For now, I’m going to start mentioning who many of these sponsors are; not to “shame” anyone but to let them know that we see them and we hope they do the right thing.🕊 This video features way too many of them to tag but we’ll be circling back with more press to get things rolling. Please share, and sign the petition by visiting my insta stories and swiping UP!🙌🏾 . . . . . . . . #Adweek #diversityandinclusion #Pride #LGBTQ #Trans #Transgender #Queer #Bi #Gay #Lesbian #NonBinary #newyork #LA #LosAngeles #Miami #LasVegas #SanFrancisco #Orlando #corporategifts #gaypride #covid19 #coronavirus #activism #petition #news #media #youareessential
So while the beginning of Pride season, biking season, outdoors season is usually a joyous time, even as conflicted as it always is, right now is even more complex than usual. I don’t have many answers but I do know that we all need to step up. Outdoor companies with money, influence, and the trust of its POC, LGBTQ and otherwise diverse customers, need to step up even more. And those that do, will continue to get our business.