Starting in 2012, a group of Bay Area Wilderness Training community members formed the Community Empowerment Subcommitee with the mission of increasing diversity within the BAWT network of faculty, participants, and staff so that programming more closely reflects the backgrounds and experiences of our course participants and the communities they serve. While the Subcommittee no longer exists, the work to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion continues through internal conversations and initiatives, board recruitment, new programs, community events, committee meetings, and more.
A Community Conversation on Race
Date: Saturday April 30, 2016 & Sunday May 1, 2016
Time: 9:00am to 12:00pm each day
Location: Zaytuna College, Berkeley
Do you love the outdoors? Are you committed to dismantling racism in your community? Do you want to strengthen BAWT’s outdoor community by exploring our connections across difference?
Join us in a conversation to share your personal experience and discuss the destructive role that racism plays in experiencing the outdoors. This community conversation is for outdoor education folks who are already engaged in anti-racist work, activism, or practices and are committed to sharing insights with the broader community.
BAWT will be hosting a two day gathering on April 30th and May 1st. On April 30th participants will be divided into two groups. One group will be designated for folks who have been targeted by racism (commonly described as people of color). A second group will be designated for people benefiting from white privilege (sometimes referred to as white people). On May 1st, participants from both groups will meet together to explore connections across difference and to start healing from the collective trauma of racism.
Diversity and the Outdoors Panel
Date: Sunday, June 1, 2014
Time: 1pm to 4pm
Location: Bay Area Wilderness Training office, 1050 E. 8th St. Oakland (Street parking is usually available within one or two blocks of the office and the Lake Merritt BART station is a 20 minute walk)
The Community Empowerment Subcommittee will be inviting 4-6 panelists to speak about their experiences in the outdoors and their experiences bringing youth of color into the outdoors. The goal of this panel is to bring many backgrounds and perspectives together where we can examine the intersection of ethnic and cultural diversity and the outdoors. This panel will be an open door to create a learning space where we honor all of our ways of being in nature. We will share stories, start conversations, develop our collective consciousness, and respect each unique expression of our experiences. After this first gathering we hope to organize future workshops, events, and gatherings addressing the needs of the communities which have been typically underrepresented in the mainstream outdoor community. To do this we will look to the BAWT community for suggestions, support, and resources.
Sample Clip from Diversity Panel
Elizabeth Sy responds to the question : “How have you addressed the challenges you’ve experienced while taking people of color into the outdoors?”
Edited by Judd Volino
For more video clips of the Diversity Panel, please visit BAWT’s YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/Bawtmovies/featured
Other Diversity Panel video clips include:
Kim Moore Bailey, Foundation for Youth Investment
Kim oversees the Foundation’s strategic direction, grant making programs, and operations. She brings over 20 years of experience as a management executive to this position, with an expertise in strategic planning, community engagement, and developing programs that connect young people to the outdoors.
Prior to joining the Foundation for Youth Investment, Kim served as the Chief Operating Officer of College Possible, a national non-profit focused on making college attainable for low-income students. Kim continues to serve as a Board Member for GP RED (Research, Education, & Development for Health, Recreation & Land Agencies) and for the Voyageur Outward Bound School.
Zoë Polk, Outdoor Afro
Zoë Polk has been a trip leader with Outdoor Afro since 2012. Outdoor Afro is a social community that reconnects African-Americans with natural spaces and one another through recreational activities such as camping, hiking, biking, birding, fishing, gardening, skiing and more! Outdoor Afro disrupts the false perception that black people do not have a relationship with nature, and works to shift the visual representation of who can connect with the outdoors.
Her earliest and favorite memories of being outdoors include going fishing in the Chesapeake Bay with her parents and her sisters. Now she makes it home to Virginia at least twice a year, in the winter (striped bass season) and the summer (flounder season), and every homecoming entails a trip out on the bay with her Dad. Since moving to the Bay Area 5 years ago, she’s come to develop a deep love for California’s natural history and landscape. She enjoys swimming and cross country skiing at Lake Tahoe, hiking among coastal redwoods, and exploring local farmers markets.
When not outdoors, Zoe spends her time as San Francisco based civil rights attorney.
Jose Gonzalez, Latino Outdoors
He is the founder of Latino Outdoors, working to develop a leadership infrastructure and increase Latino community engagement with the Outdoors. In addition, he continues to advocate for Latino engagement in STEM fields and education.
He received his B.A at the University of California, Davis, and his M.S at the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Raynelle Rino-Southon, Urban Spouts San Francisco
Raynelle is an Environmental Educator and Ecologist, a first generation Filipina American, and Bay Area native. She studied Biology at Humboldt State University and received an MS in Ecology at San Francisco State University. Her work in environmental education began at Stanford University when she designed and implemented the pilot year of the REAL Program (Redwood Environmental Academy of Leadership), a multifaceted interdisciplinary, outdoor ecology, place-based learning program for students in a continuation high school in Redwood City, CA. In 2010 she brought her talents to the community-based organization, Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ), which was nationally recognized for its education and environmental justice accomplishments in San Francisco’s Bayview and Hunters Point neighborhoods.
Raynelle is currently a Garden Educator with Urban Sprouts in San Francisco working at the Juvenile Probation sites, Juvenile Hall, and Log Cabin Boys Ranch. She also an independent contractor and author of the blog called, The D Word, Creating a Niche for Diversity. This blog showcases the diversity of successful individuals, mostly people of color, working in the environmental field while having a more intimate conversation about diversity.
Ashanti Branch, Ever Forward Club
Founder, Executive Director
Ashanti Branch, born and raised by a single mother on welfare in Oakland, California, took the road less traveled to get out of the ghetto and attend California Polytechnic – San Luis Obispo, to study Civil Engineering. A construction project manager in his first career, Branch changed careers after tutoring struggling students and realizing his true passion was teaching.
In 2004, as a first year teacher, Branch started The Ever Forward Club to provide a support group for African American and Latino males, who were not achieving to the level of their potential. Since then, The Ever Forward Club has grown to serve both young men and young women. The Ever Forward Club has helped 100% of its member’s graduate high school and 93% them have gone on to attend college.
Branch, who has 22 years of mentoring experience, received Fulbright and Rotary Fellowships, and was a 2010 Teacher of the Year recipient for Math education in Alameda-Contra Costa County, is on a mission to serve one thousand students by 2015. His vision is to change the way that students interact with their education and the way schools interact with students.
Elizabeth Sy, Banteay Srei
Co-founder, Board Member
Elizabeth is a co-founder and currently co-Board President for Banteay Srei. From 2004-2010, Elizabeth worked as the program coordinator and training coordinator for Banteay Srei. She has developed innovative peer-based programming, culturally relevant direct services, and intensive case management services for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic sex trafficking. Elizabeth has led local and national trainings to health care providers, law enforcement, youth development workers, educators and young people about the commercial sexual exploitation of youth, the need to deliver culturally relevant services to these youth, and the power of centering self determination in services for survivors of exploitation. Additionally, in collaboration with Asian Health Services, Elizabeth created a clinical screening tool to screen for sexual exploitation in patients. The clinical screening tool developed by Asian Health Services and Banteay Srei is the first of its kind created in the United States.
Elizabeth is a member of the Bay Area Wilderness Training faculty and has been a co-leader for Balanced Rock’s Women of Color Backpacking Trip.