Last year, hate crimes in the U.S. rose to the highest level in more than a decade, according to the FBI. In Oregon, hate crimes and bias incidents spiked 366% with several high-profile reports from Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQ+ community members being harassed in public parks and other public recreation areas. We can and must do better.
No one visiting the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon Coast, or any lands held for the benefit of the public should have to fear that they and their loved ones might be harassed or attacked due to their skin color, gender identity, or ethnic background. But we still have a long way to go to ensure safe and equitable access on public lands.
Join us on Wednesday, May 26 at 6 p.m. (Pacific) for a virtual discussionâ€” hosted by Friends of the Columbia Gorge and organized in collaboration with Comunidades, Love is King, and People of Colors Outdoorsâ€”to explore the opportunities and challenges in ensuring equitable access for all to state parks and lands in the Columbia Gorge and beyond across both Oregon and Washington.
Moderated by OPB Science & Environment Reporter Monica Samayoa, featured speakers will include:
â€¢ Chad Brown, Founder & President, Love is King and Founder & President, Soul River, Inc.
â€¢ Ubaldo HernÃ¡ndez, Senior Organizer, Columbia Riverkeeper and Co-Founder, Comunidades
â€¢ Caroline Park Lipps, Co-Owner, Thunder Island Brewing
â€¢ Gregory Wolley, Board Member, People of Colors Outdoors and Principal Consultant, Creating Tomorrow's Workforce
â€¢ Monica Samayoa, Science & Environment Reporter, Oregon Public Broadcasting (Moderator)
The panel discussion will be followed by a moderated Q&A session, with facilitation assistance and welcome by Natasha Stone (Friends community engagement specialist) and Melissa Gonzalez (Friends outdoor programs and communications specialist).
Registration is free; click the "Register" button below. The webinar will be recorded and uploaded to Friends' YouTube page within a few days of the recording.
"Outdoor Access for All" is being organized in conjunction with the Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance's May 25 Gorge Outdoor Recreation & Tourism Summit, an exploration of collective solutions to care for the Columbia River Gorge in the face of unprecedented recreation usage.
Photo by Nick Wiltgen