Brigid Bergin: I'm Brigid Bergin in for Tanzina Vega. We're back with The Takeaway. For many people of color, there's a long history of exclusion from places of outdoor recreation, big and small, whether it's the rapids winding through the Grand Canyon or a garden at your neighborhood park. All week, The Takeaway has been looking at past and present access to national parks in the US. We wanted to ask you, our listeners, about your experiences with the outdoors as people of color, and whether or not you camped, hiked, biked, or climbed in outdoor spaces near and far.
Denise: Hi, this is Denise in Brooklyn, New York. I grew up in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. I didn't have any experience going through the outdoors with my family because my parents were both working all the time. I don't think they even knew about national parks. I guess we didn't need to since we lived on the beach, but I still think my parents don't know about national parks. It just wasn't a thing people knew about in Brighton Beach.
Toni: My name is Toni Barnes from Detroit, Michigan. My father was a truck driver in Michigan. When they opened a new national park, our family was the first one there. In addition, he took us to Point Pelee in Canada. In 1968, my parents bought a cottage up north at Shay Lake in Tuscola County. We spent the summer up there; water ski, cookouts, and dances. My six siblings and I had a glorious childhood.
Hector: This is Hector in Spokane, Washington. We never camped as a kid. Our parents were always working, and never had time or extra money to take time off to take us camping or going outdoors. Our primary language was Spanish, and there isn't much outreach to the Spanish community to get people outdoors.
Melissa: This is Melissa Frayer from Mill Valley, California. For me, we were not outdoorsy at all. My parents were refugees, and it both wasn't part of their culture growing up, and they couldn't understand why we kids would want to sleep in the woods when we had a perfectly nice and safe bed at home. I didn't go on a real hike until after law school. Proud to say I've since gotten really comfortable in the outdoors, and even completed some ultra marathons. It's really nice to discover these places as an adult.
Kesha: Kesha from St. Pete, Florida. Being from the island, we went outside every day, and we would go to the country during the summer. Our grandparents would tell us, if you're hungry, it's your fault, because there's food everywhere. You have to go out and forward towards.
Louise: My name is Louise. I'm calling from Pasadena, California. I was born in 1955 as a Negro in the segregated South Side of Chicago to a two-parent household of poor people. I was seven of nine children. In the summer, our family let us out to play after practice. We had to be home for lunch, and then we ran freely until dinner time. We really enjoyed the great outdoors in that way.
Cree: Hi, my name is Cree. I'm calling from Charlotte, North Carolina. My father was in the military, and we moved every three years, but we were really lucky to have the station in Japan. As a Girl Scout there, we hiked at Mt. Fuji amongst other outings. We were also stationed in California twice. Yosemite National Park was really nearby. We visited there often, camping out, et cetera. I've come to find a lot of African American children could not get to have these wonderful experiences growing up. I am really grateful to have had these opportunities.
Brigid: What about you? What was your experience with the outdoors growing up as a person of color? Tell us about it by calling 877-869-8253. That's 877-8-MY-TAKE. It's The Takeaway.
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