Last month Hike it Baby invited me to participate in a diversity, equity and inclusion training hosted by DEI advisor Mante Malepo and sponsored by our long-term partner Joules. The goal of the two-part online training was not only to educate HiB staff (we’ve done several DEI trainings as a staff over the last few years), but also invite in our partners at Joules as well as HiB ambassadors to better integrate our learnings into the heart of HiB, our community—you. We want to show up and better support YOU.
Photo Credit: Ali Chandra
Here are five takeaways from some of the participants that I encourage you to consider next time you head outside.
- “Mante’s training was super insightful. The information provided helped me build an understanding around terminology, impact and scale of racism within our culture. She helped me realize that, regardless of personal intent, that the impacts of our actions and culture affect those around us and that the work that we do as an ally is a constant journey of working against the grain.”
-Ashley Lo, Joules Marketing Manager
- “What stood out to me the most was how we think of inclusivity within our branches. I know our branch members feel we are inclusive and welcoming simply because we truly feel as though anyone is welcome to join our hikes, but we need to take steps beyond that. We need to partner with other local groups that represent families that may not be comfortable in the outdoors, and determine ways we can address barriers to joining our hikes. I’m looking at organizations in our area to determine how best to do that.”
-Jen Grenter, HiB Branch/Data Team Captain and Branch Ambassador Southeastern PA
- “The most important underlying theme was how this is ongoing work we each need to continue to do each day. We must actively reflect and practice, practice, practice toward making more progress every day. We have plenty of opportunities to improve, but in my opinion, none greater than how we’re raising our children, and what we’re modeling for all the other little explorers around us. We have a huge responsibility to them and I’m excited to keep learning and doing this work.”
-Laura Miller, Branch Ambassador La Crosse, WI
- “One of my biggest takeaways was learning about how staying silent when someone says or does something racist (even if it wasn’t intentional) is considered covert racism. Mante explained that standing by and letting racism happen without action is actually a racist act. I’m practicing with my family on how we can stand up and say something as an ally instead of staying silent.”
-Linzay Davis, HiB San Diego volunteer
- “It’s important we partner with other organisations that are different from us so we can be more diverse like schools as well as offer content in different languages, and acknowledge the land we hike on.”
–Christine Lamphear, Branch Ambassador Reno-Tahoe, NV
Before the HiB team asked me to write this blog post about the training I was already feeling inspired to share what had happened during those meetings and it wasn’t actually part of the presentation (though I do have many of those takeaways that I’ll share below). It was the simple fact that so many HiB supporters showed up to do the work while also taking care of their children. Throughout the four hours of training we all were muting and unmuting the joyful (and also not so joyful) screams of newborns, toddlers and kids in the background. My daughter ran into camera view more than a handful of times. At least three of us breastfed our babies. Yes, kids in the background can be distracting, but showing up is more important. And Hike it Baby being an incredibly inclusive organization, particularly for mothers, doesn’t just tolerate parents needing to parent but also celebrates it. I understand why that might not be the case in a few spaces (bringing your child to work isn’t ideal if you’re a firefighter or nurse) but it was so incredible to experience how HiB was not only digging deeper into DEI learnings, but also embodying a piece of inclusion in this work.
A big thank you to our partner Joules for sponsoring this event. To learn more about Hike it Baby’s thoughts on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, click here.
ABOUT HIKE IT BABY
Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to creating opportunities and removing barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside. With more than 300 communities across North America, they firmly believe all families have the right to connect with nature, benefit from spending time outdoors, and be inspired to a lifelong love of nature. To learn more, visit HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. To support their mission and further their programming aimed at supporting families, donate here.