At first glance, the question may seem innocent enough. But most women of color have experienced these innocuous inquiries, questioning whether or not we belong. In my case, this came from an elderly gentlemen my family met while exploring the mountains near out new home in Salt Lake City, Utah. He couldn't quite wrap his head around the fact that we might be a family of Utahns who loved hiking, much like himself. He peppered us with questions until he got to an answer that made sense -- that placed us in the right box.
Hello! I'm Nailah Blades Wylie and I believe that women and girls of color deserve to be seen, to be carefree, and to feel joy. I started Color Outside as a safe place for women of color to come together and explore the outdoors. After experiencing a number of big life transitions and on the heels of a move from San Diego, CA to Salt Lake City, UT, I felt unmoored. Getting out into the wild and exploring my new home gave me clarity when I was feeling fuzzy and started giving me glimpses of my old self. Standing in wide open fields has been essential in helping me stay connected with who I am at my core and to reaffirm that I can do hard things. Building a community of other women of color looking to do the same thing, while also showing up in a space that is not traditionally "for us" has been powerful and I cannot wait to continue spreading the mission of Color Outside.
Color Outside is here to help normalize the idea that women of all shades, shapes, sizes, and backgrounds are out there, enjoying all that nature has to offer us. Can I get an Amen?
We're women of color challenging ourselves to new adventures, all while changing the face of the outdoor industry. Together, through local meet-ups, in person retreats, and online communities, we push our bodies to new heights, reconnect with who we are at our core, and strengthen our ties as a community. We don't let anyone question our right to take up space.
Capital 'R' Respect. We have the utmost respect for ourselves, for one another and for the natural world around us.
No apologies. We accept everyone exactly where they are. There's no need to apologize for being too slow or too fast or too "out of shape." Just be you.
Support. We're here for each other -- both on the trails and off. No one gets left behind. No one feels excluded.
A sense of adventure. Adventure means different things to different people. For us it means approaching life with an open mind, curiosity and a willingness to try.
WOC Centered. We're welcoming to all women from all backgrounds but the experiences, thoughts, concerns, and voices of women of color will always be at the forefront and will absolutely be centered.