Only Footprints offers a summer-long wilderness exploration program that assists BIPOC youth of incarcerated mothers in cultivating and maintaining healthy environments for living and learning in the outdoors while becoming innovative and integrative leaders in both their local and global communities.
Youth of Incarcerated Mothers
Structural racism is a system of public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms that reinforce racial inequality.
The criminal justice system is perhaps the clearest example of structural racism in the United States. We often hear about the disproportionate number of Black men in prison, but Black women are also incarcerated at higher rates than white women. Children of incarcerated mothers face unique difficulties. Only Footprints recognizes that every child deserves a regenerative relationship with nature, for which many BIPOC youth of incarcerated mothers lack access. Therefore, our target demographic will directly benefit BIPOC youth with incarcerated mothers.
Footprints for Change, Hike For Justice
In the summer of 2021, Only Footprints Founder, Crystal Gail Welcome will begin hiking the John Muir section of the Pacific Crest Trail as part of the program’s, Footprints for Change, Hike for Justice. Crystal says, “BIPOC communities have had to endure the traumatic burden of fighting for their right to healthy environments while simultaneously fighting for freedom from discrimination and police violence. The current COVID-19 pandemic has amplified these struggles. However, only people who are insulated from systematic racism can opt to enjoy outdoor spaces.” She wants that to change. Her hike’s primary goal is for visibility and to inspire BIPOC people, especially BIPOC youth, to foster a positive relationship with the natural world — free from barriers.