Communities of Color Seek Healing in Nature

Fall foliage at Dallabach Lakes in East Brunswick, New Jersey.

Over the last year and a half more Black, Indigenous, and people of color are finding community and healing in Twin Cities parks. 

Feven Gerezgiher reports:

 

Over the last year and a half more Black, Indigenous, and people of color are finding community and healing in Twin Cities parks.

 

Maria Fernandez moved from Venezuela with her family five months ago. She now goes on weekly hikes with Huellas Latinas Hiking Club.

 

“I feel great! I feel this group is an amazing group,” she said, adding that she appreciates the space to meet new people.

 

Luisana Mendez says she started the hiking club during the pandemic to share the peace and inspiration she finds being outdoors. 

 

“I want more of my Latino community to come and enjoy each park in Minnesota and not just hiking,” she said. “You can enjoy biking, or running, or paddle boating or kayaking or whatever you like. But go enjoy the park because every space is for us – it’s for everybody who lives in this beautiful state.”

 

Mendez says she thinks it’s a barrier for many Latinos that most of the information about outdoor activities is in English.

 

In June 2020, an outdoors educator formed a Facebook group to get BIPOC outdoors; it now has over 1,200 members.

 

Chaya Harris is program director for Outdoor Afro, which has chapters across the country, including in Minnesota. She says in the aftermath of several high profile police killings, the organization has seen more people seeking nature to process traumatic experiences.

 

“We turn to nature as a source of healing, as a source where we can just get outside, unwind, decompress,” she said. “We like to say that we can lay our burdens down by the water side.” 

 

Harris says Outdoor Afro leaders are trained in creating accessible programming to help people feel safe and supported as they explore Minnesota’s green spaces.

 

 

Subscribe to hear Daily Updates in your podcast feed

SpotifyApple PodcastsRadio PublicGoogle Podcasts


  • Jury Selection Proceeds Quickly in Kim Potter Trial
    Thursday, the Hennepin County court seated the last three jurors for the trial of the former Brooklyn Center police officer charged in the death of Daunte Wright. The court still needs to seat two alternate jurors before it can begin testimony. Feven Gere
  • Jury Selection Continues in Potter Trial; Motorist Drives Through Protest
    The court now has 9 of the 12 jurors needed. Meanwhile a motorist drove through a crowd gathered in solidarity with Daunte Wright’s family. Feven Gerezgiher reports
  • Jury Selection Begins in Kim Potter Trial
    Four jurors were confirmed: two white males (one in his 20s and another in his 50s), an Asian woman in her 40s and one white woman in her 60s. Chioma Uwagwu reports.
  • Trial of Kim Potter Begins With Jury Selection
    Potter is charged with first and second-degree manslaughter after she shot Daunte Wright on April 11 during a traffic stop. Wright’s family and community leaders held a press conference Monday afternoon to demand Potter be held accountable. Georgia Fort r