By Mia Taylor and Tommy Hough
This week marks the inaugural #BlackBirdersWeek, an occasion borne from a racist incident that occurred over Memorial Day Weekend in New York's Central Park, involving New York City Audubon board member Christian Cooper.
Four days after that incident, which sparked national outrage and highlighted the inequities and potentially dangerous challenges persons of color face even when enjoying the outdoors, a coalition of scientists, birders, and outdoor advocates launched a campaign to encourage birding and related outdoor activities among persons and communities of color under the name and hashtag #BlackBirdersWeek.
Co-organizer Corina Newsome, a graduate student at Georgia Southern University studying the Seaside Sparrow, took to Twitter with a video to announce the event, and said African-American outdoor advocates shouldn't be deterred by those who have attempted to make public outdoor spaces hostile.
"This effort was borne out of a large friend group of black scientists and outdoor explorers who want to make sure the world knows black birders belong here," said Newsome. "We are thriving, and our community is growing. We want members of our community who might be interested in birding and outdoor exploration to know they are welcome here."
Newsome went on to add, "For far too long, black people in the United States have been shown that outdoor activities are not for us. Whether it's the way the media chooses to present who is the 'outdoorsy' type, or the racism black people experience when we do explore the outdoors, as we saw recently in Central Park. We've decided to change that narrative."
As reported in Audubon Magazine, the week-long event kicked off on Sunday and runs through Friday, with five days of virtual happenings each with a unique theme and hashtag.
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