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…”
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.
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.”
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.