Inclusivity Corner: Paddling with Outdoor Afro

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Outdoor Afro Black Paddle Expedition Paddles 100 Miles for Inclusion

Leading the way for inclusion in outdoor recreation, nature, and conservation for all, nonprofit Outdoor Afro, the nation’s leading network celebrating and inspiring Black connections and leadership in nature, is taking to the water with paddle in hand to further its cause.

With leadership networks around the country — including more than 100 leaders in 56 cities — the group connects thousands of people to nature experiences, who are changing the face of conservation. Most recently, with filmmaker John Grace in town, it took a crew out a 100-mile, four-day self-support expedition on the Missouri River.

Paddlers enjoying the Missouri…

“The trip was really fun, and it was a cool group for sure,” says Grace, who participated in the trip to take video footage in conjunction with both Outdoor Afro and Nissan. “They were busting out 40+ mile days, camping on remote islands, dealing with rain, wind you name it and never stopped smiling every stroke of the way.  You could feel how excited everyone was being amongst their peers. The passion for the river was as real as I have ever seen it.”

For expedition leader Anthony Beasley, it was special to get his peers out in nature. “I wish people knew how peaceful and healing it is out here,” he says in the video. “And knowing there was a black person on the Lewis & Clark expedition gives me a sense of ownership of the river.”

The Missouri River trip was just one of many outdoor outings organized by Outdoor Afro.

In all, the group paddled over a hundred miles down the Missouri as one of countless such trips it makes annually, exposing people to the Great Outdoors, be it hiking, biking, camping or, in this case, paddling.

And if anyone could appreciate the group’s thankfulness for being outside, it was Grace. “It was great making some new friends and seeing so much stoke for the river,” says Grace. “If any of my outdoor industry friends are looking to partner with a great nonprofit doing solid work give the team at Outdoor Afro a shout.”

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