For those who seek solace and chase our passions in nature, access to the outdoors is crucial to our everyday lives. Our love and reliability for outdoor recreation have been especially magnified through the challenges of 2020, providing many with the ability to exercise, explore, and spend time with others in a safe environment. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that not everyone has the ability to enjoy the endless benefits nature has to offer, particularly communities of color. That is why The North Face, the renowned American outdoor recreation company, is taking a stand against discrimination in the outdoors.
Launching a global initiative with its new campaign, “Reset Normal”, The North Face plans to donate $7 million to organizations that focus on promoting outdoor adventure diversity. Together with Explore Fund Council, the brand will be partnering with a committee of notable experts and leading thinkers from entertainment, culture, science, and nature to cultivate joint decisions from all areas. The primary experts leading the initiative, among many others, are Emmy award-winning screenwriter, producer, and actress Lena Waithe and North Face athlete, mountaineer, and Oscar-winning director Jimmy Chin.
Nature, above all else, should be a place of equality for all human beings. Waithe, who is dedicated to promoting underrepresented artists and communities, commented, “I want to help give people access and amplify those that do occupy the space. We want to make sure they don’t feel invisible. We also want others to join them, but first, they must feel welcome. This world belongs to all of us — and the sooner the powers that be realize that, the better. My industry can easily change this narrative by showing more than one type of character, enjoying the great outdoors. If certain groups of people aren’t seen in those environments, it sends a message that they don’t belong there. And that’s not true.”
Capitalizing on 2020 as a pivotal turning point, the overarching goal is to collectively guide the funds towards diversifying the outdoors and, above all, ensure it is an equal place for all human beings. This past year has shed tremendous light on the reality that people of color face on a day to day basis. Proven by recent acts of violence and discrimination, systemic racism has taken the lives of many simply seeking outdoor recreation. Additionally, easy access to nature is not available for many people due to race, income, and age.
What better time than now to address this ongoing issue, and who better than one of the world’s top outdoor industry brands. This initiative will not only bridge the gap in outdoor recreation equality, but it will hopefully set the tone for many other companies looking to support such a crucial cause.