British Columbia

Black Like Me film festival showcases BIPOC excellence in outdoor recreation

Colour the Trails, an organization founded in B.C. that encourages Black, Indigenous and people of colour to enjoy activities outside and connect with nature.

'There is no criteria about who can go for a hike,' says B.C. advocate and festival organizer

Judith Kasiama, from Vancouver, B.C., founded the organization Colour the Trails in 2017 to inspire Black, Indigenous and people of colour to get out and enjoy the outdoors. (Submitted/Judith Kasiama)

A B.C. group committed to crushing stereotypes about race and outdoor recreation has now launched a film festival coinciding with Black History Month that aims to do just that.

Colour the Trail, founded by Vancouver resident Judith Kasiama in 2017, is an organization with a mission to inspire Black, Indigenous and people of colour to get out and enjoy nature.

Starting Feb. 8, the group is hosting Black Like Me — Outdoor Edition on its website. The festival lineup is a series of eight full-length films that showcase Black people excelling at outdoor activities.

"There is no criteria about who can go for a hike," said Kasiama, speaking Wednesday on CBC's The Early Edition.

Kasiam said the media has often portrayed Black people as inactive and that this misperception contributes to "constant weird stares at ski resorts."

In extreme cases, she said, Black people may fear for their safety in remote outdoor places where help would be hard to come by if a hostile interaction occurred.

"We have to begin to have conversations about diversity and equity when it comes to the outdoors," said Kasiama.

She said she thinks marketing decisions over the years neglected to include Black people in the narrative about who adventures outside, but now, social media is giving the BIPOC community an opportunity to tell their stories.

And starting Monday, films that tell those stories will be available all month online.

A virtual panel discussion will also be held on Colour the Trail's website on Feb. 26.

  • Tap here to listen to the complete interview with Judith Kasiama on The Early Edition.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.


With files from The Early Edition