Black Experiences in Parks Webinar

Co-hosted with Park People and BlackAFinSTEM

In the ‘Black Experiences in Parks in Canada’ webinar, the panelists explored the underrepresentation of the BIPOC community in Canadian parks and protected areas, including staffing. Frustrated with “business as usual” and the lack of government engagement and action, BIPOC grassroots organizations have taken matters into their own hands. As the Canadian population changes and minority groups become the new majority, parks agencies across the country will need to better accommodate and involve this growing demographic in order to survive. Attendees of the webinar had an opportunity to provide feedback and commit actions in order to make parks more inclusive for BIPOC individuals in their respective jurisdictions. Read their commitments and calls to action here.

Presenters

  • Jacqueline L. Scott, University of Toronto (OISE)
  • Demiesha Dennis, BrownGirlOutdoorWorld
  • Judith Kasiama, ColourTheTrails
  • Rhiannon Kirton, Western University

5 Key Takeaways

  1. The impacts of colonialism can still be felt today, as many BIPOC individuals feel unwelcome or are seen as out of place in outdoor spaces. Systemic racism continues to be an issue in Canada’s parks, where managers and people in power are too uncomfortable to partake in discussions concerning race.
  2. Opportunities for grants and parks-related education are often “hidden in plain sight” for BIPOC peoples. Access to funding and career opportunities still remains more readily available to a majority white beneficiary audience.
  3. Financial barriers are one of the primary obstacles that impede greater inclusivity of BIPOC individuals in Canadian parks and contributes to their underrepresentation.
  4. Many of those involved in the Canadian outdoor industry come from a predominately white background and operate from a high place of power and privilege, and the lack of diversity in recreational marketing further attests this issue.
  5. Significant actions are required to facilitate greater involvement and representation of the BIPOC community in parks participation and employment. This includes creating trust and rapport with BIPOC communities, collecting race-based data to determine BIPOC needs and cater programs to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity for involvement

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