Local Organization Spotlight: Black People Outside

Local Organization Spotlight: Black People Outside

Tell us who you are? How did you meet?
Our names are Chevon Linear & Kameron Stanton. We both were born and raised in Chicago and ironically we grew up on the same block but never met in person until years later at a mutual friend's baby shower. Crazy right lol. 

What inspired you to start Black People Outside?
A trip we took to the Grand Tetons National Park sparked the idea of filming our adventures outdoors, which later led to us wanting to inspire our community to get involved outside as well.

Can you tell us about some of the unique challenges black people face when it comes to connecting with nature?
There is a stigma in our community that wilderness and the Great Outdoors are for "White People". This social stigma along with restrictions in access and knowledge also lead us to believe that we do not belong amongst nature. 

What specific activities or programs does your organization offer to encourage black people to engage with the outdoors?
Our organization BPO offers hikes to our community which take place throughout Chicagoland. In this we aim to introduce people to the idea of hiking, exploring, and just embracing the outdoors as a person of color amongst like minded people. 

How do you ensure that your initiatives are inclusive and accessible to individuals from various backgrounds within the black community?
We do not particularly aim to target other communities besides the ones we resonate with. Our message just happens to resonate with disenfranchised individuals who actually want to learn how to explore the world. 

Can you share any success stories or memorable experiences from participants who have been impacted by your organization?
From the first day we began hosting our group hikes, people have said that they only started their journeys outside because of how we inspired them with our story. This is what really inspires us to want to grow larger in order to affect more like minded folks. We want to make the outdoors just as popping as the club!

We noticed you two have been going on tons of trips for BPO...which destination was the most fun?
We have recently been to Puerto Rico which was gorgeous and we have also been hiking in the Upper Peninsula in Pictured Rock National Lakeshore (Michigan). Highly recommend both. 

What outdoor activity have you tried over the last couple years that you absolutely loved?
Chevy: Skiing for sure, I'm a natural lol 
Kam: Learning to wall climb has been crazy

We love that you get to try on new gear from a plethora of different brands, what's your go-to jacket?
Chevy: North face Hyvent jacket
Kam: Arc'teryx Atom jacket

What has been the most eye-opening experience you've had while doing BPO hikes/excursions (good or bad)?
Chevy: Stumbling upon a real life tarantula while hiking in Zion national park.
Kam: Visiting Sedona during a winter storm was quite a visual overload. The colors were spectacular. 

What are some of the long-term goals for Black People Outside, and how do you plan to achieve them?
We want to become a sort of guide to the world of adventure for people like us. Those who never grew up watching Black People travel the world and interact with different cultures. We want to be that model for our people and lead them on those same adventures. 

What advice would you give to other individuals or organizations looking to promote diversity and inclusion in outdoor spaces?
Hire diversity and allow them a voice to help and learn from other groups. Learn how to be an ally in diversity by asking the groups you wish to assist. 

How can individuals support or get involved with Black People Outside and its initiatives?
Follow and support our NonProfit BPO Hikes (NFP). We are looking for funding to keep all of our events free for our community. Otherwise if you just want some entertainment check out our social pages: 

IG: @blk.people.outside // TikTok: @black.people.outside 

Back to blog