Our hearts are heavy with the news of the past weeks. We view the senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbrey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd as painful reminders of our country’s long history of racism. Our painful and problematic past is still evident today, not just in physical violence, but in systemic discrimination: disproportionate incarceration rates, access to community services and health care, and toll of diseases like COVID19 that communities of color face. Our legal system has evolved in the past decades, but its protections are not universally applied. Communities of color experience trauma, endure discrimination, and face barriers that are not similarly experienced by white Americans.

The mission of Trail Mix, Inc. has always been to bring our community together for the improvement of a treasured community resource – our trail system. We have always recognized diversity as a source of strength. We have always welcomed people of all identities into our community. We have always strived to make the spaces we occupy accessible for everyone.

We also recognize that we must do more. We commit to looking inward and pushing internal progress on meaningful diversity and inclusion. We commit to continue to speak out against forces driving climate change which, especially in Alaska, disproportionately impact communities of color. We commit to using our platform to amplify Black voices in the outdoor community. We commit to continued acknowledgment and respect of the Lingít Aaní on which we live and work.

We recognize that to create real change, we need to examine the lens through which we view the world. We realize that we cannot fulfill our mission of bringing together community resources if we have not first thought critically about our community and acted to ensure racial equity in the spaces we occupy. We believe that all people should be able to enjoy the outdoors safely and with dignity. Moreover, we believe that all people should be able to live with safety and dignity. and that human dignity requires collective action. As a community, we need to hold one another and ourselves accountable to our commitments. 

Today is National Trails Day. We will not be holding a community event, asking for donations to Trail Mix, or using the National Trails Day hashtag. Instead, we will be using our social media platform to share resources for anti-racist learning and showcase people of color in the outdoor community. To the Black community at large – we see you. Your lives matter. To white people – please join us in pledging to not only denounce racism, but to become actively anti-racist. We can do better. We must do better.

Ryan O’Shaughnessy
Executive Director
Trail Mix, Inc.
June 6th, 2020