What’s It Like Being A Person of Colour in The Outdoor Industry? It’s Time To Listen.

If we’re being frank, here at Mountain Life we don’t know what it’s like. So, we’re taking this opportunity to listen up those whose voices are not heard often enough—people of colour. A rarity in our industry, these are the people who face a real struggle that most of us can’t begin to understand. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Here are their stories, suggestions, and thoughts.  We’ll keep updating this page as more comes to light, and in the meantime we’ll be unpacking ways we can help, listening to the voices who deserve to be heard,  and digesting the tragic events of the past few days, months, years, and decades. —ML

Zahan Billamoria

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I have always lived as a brown man in a white world. Life has been good to me, but I’m still brown. I’ve been strangled by a white supremacist while I was sleeping, I have been pulled from my car, harassed and accused of nonsense by white cops. My kids have been told to ‘fuck off nigger’. Still, if you know me, you know I have as good as it gets. That’s all normal shit, no matter how good you have it as person of color. You can’t tell me ‘there’s no racism, we are all just the same’ – it’s not the same. Since the days of slavery when we stole human beings from their African homeland – and chained them together in the hulls of ships – there have been 2 Americas. There are good schools or slum schools, there is police protection or there is terrorism – and if you’re black your much more likely to get the one none of us want. Your wealth, my wealth – it’s built on the broken back of slavery. Wall Street, the White House – American wealth was built by the slaves who laid the bricks, before they were beaten to death. There’s a debt to pay, my friends. The end of racism is the repayment of the debt that is owed, that’s how we start the journey. When a black girl wants to chase a dream – she first has to climb the mountain of her own blackness – just to get to start line of opportunity. Some will be born poor, some will be born rich – but that can’t be dictated by race. That’s what I mean when I talk about racism. It’s not an attack on you. Ya, I know you had a black friend in college, you work with a black colleague – but racism is structural thing – you’re not out there hating on black people, I know that. But are you ready to hear all the ways black people are stopped in their tracks, on the road to freedom? About how racism isn’t an incident – its just life while being black? About how Trumps election tells us everything we need to know about just how “over racism” this country is? If slavery was really over, why are people of color still fighting to be free? Today more than I have ever seen it – America is ready for change. First we have to see the world for what it is. Then we will start writing a new chapter for America. #BLM

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Brooklyn Bell


Sal Masekela

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Shelma Jun

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AHMAUD ARBERY. 💔 I ran four miles for Ahmaud. Each time my watch told me a mile had lapsed, I stopped and honored him by saying his name out loud. I cried, yelled and closed my eyes tight in hope to unsee the video that shows humans at their worst. I thought about the relentless attack that Black bodies in America face. I thought about young Ezra and all the injustices he will face as he grows up and how hard it must be for his parents, two dear friends of mine, to try to prepare him for the injustices of the world. I cried some more. I thought about how scared Ahmaud must have been in those last moments of his life and it was hard to breathe. . We cannot normalize the murder of Black bodies. . We cannot normalize the murder of Black bodies. . We cannot normalize the murder of Black bodies. . Allies: Stay angry. Stay outraged. Stay loud. Keep calling out racism and violence on Black bodies. Don’t just love the parts of being Black that you think are cool. Fight against all the violence and deep seated discriminations that Black folks face every day. Defend them. Protect them. Mourn their murders. Say their names but don’t stop there. #blacklivesmatter #ahmaudarbery #irunwithmaud #sayhisname

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