Heather Hodson here. I’m the founder of United Women on the Fly (UWOTF). I have personally and professionally been working behind the scenes, on my anti-racism journey, for the past year. It’s apparent that this work and evolution needs to no longer be quiet. Almost a year ago UWOTF was “called out” for inappropriately honoring WOC (Women of Color). After processing my feelings, working with Confluence Collective and spending time learning to become an ally in creating a safe environment that centers WOC; I’m only beginning my journey personally and professionally.
Recently Kiki Contreras, Co-director, EWA Women on the Water, made a post in the Facebook closed group of EWA Women on the Water that touted me. Kiki started the conversation with her women’s group on how racial inequity plays out in our little corner of the world–the angling and larger outdoor recreation community? Right now anti-racism discussions are at the top of our feeds and it’s time for us to also begin this conversation.
United Women on the Fly is committed to inclusive and respectful practices as we strive to welcome more anglers (specifically women) from all backgrounds into the sport of fly fishing. Gender parity on the water is just not enough! Equitable access to the outdoors for everyone is what we are working towards.
Gender parity on the water is just not enough!
United Women on the Fly RECOGNIZES many of us in the fly fishing community have the privilege to safely go into the outdoors. We are taking the time to EDUCATE ourselves. There are so many resources available including google, iPods, articles, books and social media posts. We will LISTEN to the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). We UNDERSTAND we need to do the work ourselves and not rely on BIPOC to give us the answers. We will ENGAGE in conversations with our community, family and friends about anti-racism and how we can be an ally. We are an ally-in-progress, we are learning, will make mistakes, own our mistakes and continue to strive to do better.
We are an ally-in-progress, we are learning, will make mistakes, own our mistakes and continue to strive to do better.
We need to be better allies for BIPOC anglers. We need to amplify their voices and make sure that there is a safe and just space for them in the places and communities that we love. Waiting and hoping to one day see a more diverse scene on the river isn’t enough. So, what can we do?
- RECOGNIZE and confront our privilege. Recognizing the ways in which we benefit from a racially unjust society is a step to dismantling racial inequities, but it’s not enough.
- EDUCATE ourselves. Again, there are countless resources circulating right now for people who want to engage in anti-racist work and self-education. Do the work yourself, though, and don’t rely on BIPOC folks to educate you. Below is a list of links to get you started.
- ENGAGE each other in conversation and hold each other accountable. Make concrete and tangible commitments.
- Don’t wait till you’re an “expert” to speak out against injustice. Anti-racist work is a life long journey, and silence is complicity.
Anti-racist work is a life long journey, and silence is complicity.
List of Resources Below.
This list is just the beginning to help you begin the journey of becoming an ally. This is not a fad, this is a lifetime of work.
Follow BIPOC voices in the outdoor recreation world on social media.
Other Anti-Racist Voices on Social Media
Hashtags to Follow:
Donate to programs that advocate for diversity and inclusivity in outdoor recreation.
- Brown Folks Fishing: https://www.brownfolksfishing.com
- Climbers of Color: https://www.climbersofcolor.org/
- Diversify Outdoors: https://www.diversifyoutdoors.com/
- Latino Outdoors: https://latinooutdoors.org/
- Melanin Base Camp: https://www.melaninbasecamp.com
- Outdoor Afro: https://outdoorafro.com/
- Outdoor Asian: https://www.outdoorasian.com/
- Vive NW: https://www.vivenw.org/en/cP/