Backcountry Squatters’ Response to the Killing of George Floyd

Part of Backcountry Squatters’ mission is to increase women’s participation in spaces that have historically lacked a female presence. Often, this is done by getting more women at ski slopes or climbing crags; by increasing women’s participation in the outdoor community.

However, we are aware that women’s groups that look like Backcountry Squatters (predominantly white women) have not been present in racial justice movements like the one occurring today. 

Backcountry Squatters aims to increase women’s participation in racial justice, too. 

Anti-racism work is a part of our work. Part of our mission is to increase women’s representation in the outdoors. This includes black, indigenous and other women of color. Part of our mission is to increase women’s leadership. In 2020, good leaders must also be anti-racist. 

We won’t get anti-racism work perfectly every time. But we have never expected ourselves to land a trick on the first attempt. We don’t redpoint every climb we start. We don’t think that our first run of the season will be easy. 

At Backcountry Squatters, we encourage ourselves and our members to try. We know that when trying something new, we will fall. However, after falling we know how to brush ourselves off, learn from our mistakes, and try again. 

To be a good skier, climber, runner, biker: we try. We train. We read books, we watch movies. We talk to our friends about it, we tell our family about it. 

Being a good ally is no different. Allyship — like so many of the outdoor activities we love — is a verb, not a noun. We need to practice. We need to watch movies about people who have had a different experience than us. We need to start book clubs. We need to talk to our friends. We need to tell our family about it. 

Backcountry Squatters has always encouraged our members to pursue activities that make us uncomfortable. Now, we are asking our members to begin learning how to be anti-racist. If it makes you uncomfortable, good. No one should be comfortable with the state of racial justice in America. 

However, we have never asked our members to go through an uncomfortable experience without providing resources. That is why we have added a page to our website labeled ‘anti-racism’. There, our members are able to find resources to inform themselves on how to become an active ally. 

This is the first step of many. This is our first try. However, just as we want to be lifelong outdoors-women, we also want to be lifelong allies. So we will keep showing up. 

In Solidarity, 

Backcountry Squatters