Fighting Racial Injustice in America Is an Endurance Sport

"Voting will not save us from harm, but silence will surely damn us all."

To my readers and subscribers,

I’m using this time to talk less and listen more. Below are social posts and quotes from articles I urge you to read.

Fighting racial injustice in America is an endurance sport. It is going to take time, and sustained focus, to galvanize our communities. Being tired is not enough. The race can be won, but it requires dutiful action from all of us.” —Marielle Hall


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.
June 1, 2020

“The outdoors community, being mostly white, has had the privilege of being able to avoid openly discussing social issues for a long time. The work of fighting racism in the world and within ourselves is deeply uncomfortable, but if there’s one other universal characteristic of people who love the outdoors, it’s that we voluntarily wade into discomfort with enthusiasm and resolve. It’s time for us to channel that energy into something far more important.” —Gloria Lui


Last night I saw a bike shop valiantly post “All Lives Matter”. They were called on it, and within minutes replaced it with “Black Lives Matter”, and a few multicultural fist emojis… ⁣⁣
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This. Aint. It. ⁣⁣
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Consistency Builds Trust. ⁣
Full post at aquickbrownfox.com⁣⁣
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#AQuickBrownFox ⁣⁣
#RepresentationMatters ⁣⁣
#BlackLivesMatter ⁣⁣
#DefundThePolice ⁣⁣
June 3, 2020

“Every night for more than a week, we have witnessed the anguish and anger of demonstrators, their cries punctured by politicians urging them to vote their power. Both are right. Protest to demand attention to the wrenching pain of systemic injustice. Vote because we deserve leaders who see us, who hear us and who are willing to act on our demands.

Voting will not save us from harm, but silence will surely damn us all.” —Stacey Abrams


What a weird time to be celebrating Global Running Day. Or is it? Running has brought me this platform, and the ability to to live my [running] life out loud, in my big black female body. I celebrate the opportunity to leave a mark, a legacy, or even to make a small ripple—but of what? Of acknowledgment, acceptance, of how when you extend yourself to others, you create that space in them to do the same, of how when you make the effort to set aside any preconceived notions about a person’s identity, and make no mistake, I’m talking about race, you might learn a bit more about yourself, them, and well, the world around you. So happy Global Running Day to you! I hope that you see the running community as yet another way to extend yourself, to be loved on and to give love back.
(A note about this picture: This is day three @transrockiesrun_official]. @houda44 asked me to get up MAD EARLY and lead an early start for those runners who needed it so they would be able to finish the long and grueling 23 miles of this stage within the cutoff. I had pulled out of Stage 1 because of bum achilles and severe fatigue, and so I got to volunteer, do some of the course, and help my fellow TRR family to their own personal finishes in a small way. Begs the question, what small action can you take to make the world a little bit more equitable? #transrockiesrun #trailrunning #globalrunningday #running #blacklivesmatter #runnersofinstagram
June 3, 2020

“Condemn neutrality. Being neutral is exclusionary. It signals to the oppressed people that this is a place where they aren’t welcome. Most people in these spaces are white—hold them accountable if they’re neutral or censoring the experiences of black people.

“I’ve had wonderful experiences with people who have held others accountable. You can tell them, ‘You’ve chosen wrong.’ You can make new groups that encourage others to share their experiences of injustice as a direct protest. One of the best ways to be an ally is to recognize, and address, the white supremacy that exists in this space. Until others are willing to acknowledge or believe that, black people will be stuck doing it over and over again.” —Corina Newsome

In 1958, Warren Harding and his partners were the the first to ascend El Capitan.
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When I hear of legendary ascents, I'm often in awe of the incredible feats but immediately distracted by historical context. I'm left wondering who has the ability to do these feats, what enables people to do them & what is happening in the country at large.
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Here is what else was happening in the United States at that time. .
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1953: Executive Order 10450 is signed, allowing homosexuality to be a legal basis of firing and investigating federal employees.
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1955: three years prior to the ascent, a woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus. .
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1956: "Indian Relocation Act" or Public Law 959 has devastating impacts on tribes and tribe members. .
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1957: The Little Rock Nine--nine young, black students try to integrate a formerly segregated school and experience death threats, abuse and racism from mobs. .
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1963: March on Washington in which Martin Luther King Jr delivers his famous "I have a dream..." speech. A year later, the Civil Rights act of 1964 is signed which "guarantees" equal employment and "limits voter denial" for African Americans. .
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1965: Bloody Sunday. Malcom X is assassinated. .
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1968: MLK Jr assassinated. .
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1969: Stonewall riots. .
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1973: the Rehabilitation Act was passed, and for the first time in history, civil rights of people with disabilities were protected by law
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It is challenging for me to fully appreciate significant moments in climbing's history knowing that these opportunities were not available to all, and that some were fighting for their lives--for basic human rights--at the time that others had the privilege to be blissfully selfish and invest in a sport. I can be in awe of the exceptional feats, but these climbers themselves are not exceptional, rather had access to exceptional privilege that enabled them to do these ascents. To me, there is also no mystery why climbing was and is largely most accessible for privileged, able white men and women. I think it is important to acknowledge and demystify this. What do you think? .
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📍 Central Sierra Miwok territory
April 2, 2019

“It has been argued that this unequal access is the product of unequal interest, but there is a long history of public lands spaces intentionally excluding black people, including through very concrete rules which prevented black people from accessing public lands.

“Lanham goes back to his nine rules to exemplify this. When he considers going on a specific trip, alongside weighing up the many universally good factors (nature’s beauty) as well as the bad (the possibility that he will get stung by a wasp or step on an ants’ nest), he also has to make other decisions, mostly based on his safety. ‘I have to make decisions about where I go, when I go, who I go with, what people will be thinking of me when I am there. I need to make sure I am wearing the right thing, that my car registration is in the right place so when I am stopped, I am not suspected of harboring something,’ he says. ‘I have some complex equation that I have to figure out several times a fucking day.’” —Poppy Noor and Drew Lanham

If you are wondering how you can be an ally or wondering what it's like as an exhausted black activist, here's 50 minutes of my personal thoughts and reflections.
May 30, 2020