Popular Gala Goes Virtual Celebrating Black Connection in Nature


( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Outdoor Afro Host 6th Annual “Glamp In” Gala

ENSPIRE Contributor: WaTeasa Freeman

Outdoor Afro is an organization committed to teaching African Americans about nature and indulging them in it. Their slogan is “Where Black People and Nature meet.” As we progress in the time of COVID many events have been canceled but, Outdoor Afro is changing the arena to fit the times. On Saturday, September 12th, 2020 at 8PM EST they hosted the 6th annual Glamp In gala. This will be the first time it is held virtually the past 5 years have been hosted with completely sold out in-person events

Founded in 2009 by Rue Mapp Outdoor Afro is a national not-for-profit organization with leadership networks around the country. The organization has become the nation’s leading network that celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature by helping people take better care of themselves, our communities, and our planet. With generous support from the community, Outdoor Afro has grown from a humble blog to the national organization it is today.

The Gala broadcasted September 12th, 2020 at 8PM EST/ 5PM PST. This year, the magical fundraising event brought people together from around the world FREE of charge and online from the comfort of their homes. Building upon the success of five consecutive years of sold-out in-person events, this glamorous evening featured Outdoor Afro Founder and CEO Rue Mapp, keynote speaker Boots Riley (rapper, producer, film director, and activist) interviewed by Davey D (hip hop journalist), and hosted by Yosemite Park Ranger and author Shelton Johnson, along with other inspiring leaders and diverse outdoor and cultural champions.

The event supports and raises funds for Outdoor Afro’s programs to inspire Black connections and leadership in nature. This year’s honorees included the Pisces Foundation for Partner of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Phil Henderson, and Outdoor Afro Leader of the Year Julius Hampton. Past speakers and guests include Ranger Betty Reid Soskin (oldest National Park Ranger serving the U.S. at 98 years old), Carolyn Finney (storyteller, author, and a cultural geographer), Sally Jewell (Former Secretary of the Interior of the U.S.), and Barbara Lee (Current California Congresswoman).

For more than a decade, the organization has inspired #BlackJoy within local communities and influenced policymakers to protect public lands from the local level all the way to Capitol Hill. With nearly 90 volunteer leaders in 30 states, Outdoor Afro connects thousands of people to outdoor experiences, effectively helping to change the face of conservation. You can find more information about Glamp in donations here. Follow them on social media Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.