Silver Spring, MD (May 11, 2020) — Statement from American Hiking Society Executive Director, Kate Van Waes:

“America’s outdoor spaces are for all to share, peacefully and without fear of human violence. Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down on a quiet neighborhood street in broad daylight simply for jogging while black. It is an outrage, and, let’s be clear, there is no justification for this horrific act of racism.

People of color should not have to fear for their lives when going outdoors. No one should.

So often, we hear that we shouldn’t make hiking political, that the outdoors doesn’t care what color your skin is.  But this murder, only one of many, shows in stark reality that recreating outside in broad daylight without fear of human violence is a privilege not afforded to people of color, especially Black folks.  We at American Hiking Society are committed to doing everything we can within our sphere of influence and capabilities to help dismantle systemic racism in the outdoors, particularly with respect to the hiking community.” 

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Founded in 1976, American Hiking Society is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering all to enjoy, share, and preserve the hiking experience.