In Episode 12, Melissa talks with fellow Brooklynites and hike leaders, Avalou Baptiste and Claydona Dennie, who have been nurturing a growing love of the outdoors within their Caribbean community through their group TriStateHikers. About five years ago, Ava founded TriState as a way to gather together with her fellow Vincentians, (natives of St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and others of the local Caribbean diaspora as a healthy way to escape from and bring to light to the mental health struggles that so many in her community deal with, but which often gone unspoken or become stigmatized.
In just a few short years, Ava’s hikes have gone from occasional gatherings in nearby Prospect Park in Brooklyn, to weekly hikes, exploring trails as far north as the Catskills and throughout the Tri State Region. Her enthusiasm, curiosity and joy around spending time in nature is infectious, and in the summer of 2020, Claydona, along with many others looking for some respite from the COVID pandemic, was inspired by her to hit the trails too.
Major thanks to Avalou and Claydona for being so willing and open to dig down deep about the importance of inclusion in our outdoor realms both on the internet and on trail. These conversations, while sometimes difficult to start, are so important to have and to continue to have, especially when we are really just at the beginning of (I hope) major systemic and social change as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement.
SHOW NOTES / USEFUL LINKS:
Gossamer Gear Discount — use code “GirlGottaHikeGossamer” for a 1-time 15% off discount on all core products at GossamerGear.com
TriState Hikers email
Nanni Health Food Store & Vegan Restaurant in Brooklyn, NY Instagram