Cultivating Community at Justice Outside’s Inaugural Conference

On April 27 and 28, Justice Outside held our first conference titled “Cultivating Community Outdoors” with nearly 200 members of our community. The conference, held on Ohlone land at Oakland, California, focused on creating a space to discuss equity and justice in the outdoors and celebrate the joy that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color create in the outdoors.

“At Justice Outside, love for and connection with our communities is at the heart of our work and this conference celebrates that connection so joyously.”

-Kim Moore Bailey, Justice Outside President and CEO

Emceed by Justice Outside Board Member, advocate, and birder Tykee James, the conference agenda included sessions and presenters from many disciplines and backgrounds. Participants learned from keynote speakers Nuestra Tierra’s Ángel Peña about advocacy on Capitol Hill and beyond for a more inclusive outdoors and environmental sector and Jarre Hamilton from Intersectional Environmental about their approach to bringing a racial justice lens to environmental work. The conference also featured a video from Senator Alex Padilla who not only discussed some of the disparities in access to the outdoors but also highlighted the importance of advocacy to change that.

“I want to encourage you not to forgot the joy in environmental justice work. Don’t center trauma and struggle for this work is about joy, community, and resilience.”

-Jarre Hamilton, Research Lead at Intersectional Environmentalist

Sessions at the conference varied in issues discussed, from how the North American model of conservation fails communities, to how grassroots advocacy can lead to policy change, how non-profit organizations can be radically equitable, and how storytelling can lead to healing and community. Cultivating Community Outdoors also featured Roving Ranger, a mobile museum from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which has been engaging our local Bay Area communities in nature exploration, arts and crafts, and health and wellness activities by traveling to a wide range of communities that often do not have easy access to these experiences. The Roving Ranger, lovingly called “Rovie” by many, was open to visitors of our conference and highlighted the local flora and fauna and biodiversity of the region. Click here to access the conference agenda.

Justice Outside’s inaugural, and sold out, conference was sponsored by over a dozen organizations. We’re so thankful to The Wilderness SocietyOcean ConservancyWilliam and Flora Hewlett FoundationPisces FoundationTrust for Public Land11th Hour Project of the Schmidt Family FoundationOARS RaftingOceankind FoundationFirst Republic BankOutdoor AfroResources Legacy FundGolden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and Ten Strands for making our conference possible.

We’re also thankful to our conference speakers and session facilitators who shared their knowledge and facilitated community building and to the Justice Outside Alumnx Advisory Committee for their invaluable insights: Thank you, Wynn Kwan, Cristina Navarro, Miguel Dimas, and Chucho Pineda. Here’s to more opportunities to gather in joy and community and learn from and uplift one another!

Photos by Marcella Sanchez.