On Saturday, July 4, 2020, I began my 300-mile thru-hike along the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT).
The intention of this hike is to raise money and awareness for PGM ONE, the People of the Global Majority in the Outdoors, Nature, and Environment.
As a tribute to George Floyd, the hike began at 8:46 a.m. and ended at the first 8.46 miles. I was joined by several white women who expressed they wanted to hike in solidarity with me, both as a statement against racial injustices in the US and to show their respect for George Floyd.
While on the trail, we were fortunate to see Minnesota’s state flower, the Lady Slipper. Perhaps due to a lot of recent rain, it was in bloom and in plenty. These flowers grow slowly, taking 4-16 years to produce their first flower. To see so many in bloom was symbolic.
Like flowers such as the Lady Slipper, social justice movements sometimes need time to bloom. And like the beauty of the flowers, these movements can bring about deep and lasting change.
Generations of historical trauma have kept the outdoors from being a safe space for Blacks. The work PGM ONE is accomplishing is critical to correcting injustice. But my hike, and anyone who joins me along the way, are part of it as well.
The Lady Slippers couldn’t have grown without each of the raindrops they received. And we need not just PGM ONE, not just me, but as many people as possible showing up to make the outdoors inclusive of everyone.
We ended the 8.46 miles with a reflection circle. All and all, it was an amazing thru-hike kick off.
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