Harvard Outing Club


Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion

HOC has long played a part in a broader outdoors community that has been historically exclusive and accessible only to the most privileged. In carrying out our mission, we aim to provide gear, knowledge and experiences to all who seek it. We also recognize that we must examine our own biases and blind spots in order to be a more inclusive community. To this end, we share here resources that we as a club have availed ourselves of in order to consider more thoughtfully what the outdoors means to different groups, and how to ensure that the outdoors community is one that becomes more accessible to people and more considerate of the land. If you have questions about HOC’s Diversity and Inclusion initiatives or work, please feel free to contact any member of our board. We have also created a feedback form for leaders (anonymity is optional) to report problems and suggest ideas for the the future of HOC.

In June 2020, HOC utilized a free resource compiled by Autumn Gupta and Bryanna Wallace titled Justice in June, which offered multiple pathways for engagement with racial justice, sensitivity and awareness. 

In that month, HOC held weekly meetings to discuss these readings, audio tools and videos, and provided and discussed additional resources that related to racial issues in the context of the outdoors and/or hiking community.

The larger justice in June document is linked above. The resources we discussed are below:

Week 1

Going It Alone, Rahawa Haile

How Black Books Lit My Way Along The Appalachian Trail, Rahawa Haile

Week 2

The Melanin Base Camp Guide to Outdoor Allyship, Danielle Williams

Birding While Black: A Candid Conversation, National Audubon Society

Week 3

Whose Land Are You Exploring?, Jaylyn Gough (TW: sexual assault)

Native Land website and interactive map

Week 4

My Body Is Not an Obstacle, Mirna Valerio

Walk the Earth…My 17-Year Vow of Silence, John Francis

This Is What Adventure Looks Like, James Edward Mills

If you are interested in accessing notes taken during this community-wide meetings, please reach out to a member of our board. 

In September of 2020, HOC began incorporating resources to into our weekly newsletters for leaders. The resources are meant to be read, watched, or listened to and they all relate to issues of racial justice, community and indigeneity in the outdoors. These resources are compiled by Diversity and Inclusion Chair Spencer Carter. For those interested or who wish to engage, below is a list that will be updated with these weekly materials during the 2020-2021 school year. If you have any recommendations for readings or materials you would like to discuss and consider with us, feel free to fill out this form at any time!

9/25       Watch: The urgency of intersectionality | Kimberlé Crenshaw (TED Talk, 19 minutes long)
Read: Why are adventure hubs so white? (Article from Outside Magazine that discusses the overwhelming whiteness of America’s most outdoorsy towns and the efforts that are being made to get more people of color outside)
Listen: Outside Voices Podcast Ep. 1 — Sharing the Stoke with Olivia VanDamme  (Olivia VanDamme, a proud latinx woman of Mexican descent, discusses her personal relationship with surfing and with the outdoors more broadly. The episode also features fascinating historical information about the indigenous roots of surfing in various places around the world)
Film of the Week: Athlete A – Netflix (Documentary about the rampant sexual abuse that occurred within USA gymnastics. Link to trailer)
10/2 Listen: The Edge Effect | Hidden Brain (This episode highlights one of the many reasons why we should promote diversity in the spaces we occupy: studies have shown that there is a link between diversity and creativity)
Watch: How we can make racism a solvable problem — and improve policing (Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff explains how racist police behavior can be measured and addressed. 12 minutes long) 
Read: 9 Rules for the Black Birdwatcher (A lighthearted article that discusses the unfortunate, yet all-too-real, things that black bird watchers are forced to consider in order to enjoy their hobby)
Film of the Week: LIFE LAKOTA | The Cheyenne River Reservation (This award-winning short documentary offers a touching depiction of life on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. 15 minutes long)
As we mentioned last week, if you watch/read/listen to any of these pieces of media and would like to submit a reflection about it, you can do so at this link (reflections can be anonymous).

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