This Black History Month, we honor the GAME CHANGERS: Everyday heroes whose actions make life better for the people around them. SEE ALL OUR GAME CHANGERS HERE.
Place of Residence: Oakland
Why She’s a Game Changer: We’ve all heard the myths that surround Black folks and the Great Outdoors: “That stuff is for White people” or “I’ve never met anyone Black who is into hiking, camping, or nature.”
Rue Mapp is out to destroy those lies with her group, Outdoor Afro. She deserves to be a Game Changer for the name of the group alone, but wait, there’s more. Mapp uses social media to connect African Americans with outdoor activities and to family and new friends. Health, both physical and mental, is also part of the equation. Mapp tells Bay Nature why she founded the organization:
I founded it in 2009 after some soul-searching about what I really cared about. There have been a few constants in my life: love of nature, the desire to connect in nature with people who look like me, and technology – when I was younger I was always on my Commodore 64! Later, I studied art history at UC Berkeley, which helped me to understand the power of visual representation to tell stories, to dispel the myth that African Americans don’t engage with the outdoors. And recently, social media has allowed me to connect with people in a more strategic way.
Mapp gained a love for the outdoors as a child when she would split time in Oakland and at her family’s working ranch. It was there that she connected to the outdoors and learned to fish and hunt.