When explaining ATF's purpose and method we have to be quick to explain the connection between mountain climbing and racial unity. While it may not be obvious on the surface it's an important metaphor.
There is no higher point in the world than a mountain. Specifically, Mt Everest in the Himalayan mountains is the tallest point on earth and summiting Mt Everest is metaphorically the most difficult physical task that exists. Is it the most difficult task on earth? That's debatable, but for all intensive purposes it is the pinnacle of all physcial challenges.
You know what else is a challenge? Talking about race, racial division and race relations. It's a sticky, difficult conversation to have no matter what your background. Whether you are afraid to say the wrong thing or you are extremely passionate and get emotional, it is difficult to express to others what you have been through (or haven't) and how to move forward in this country to leave it better for our children.
What could be better than uniting the two very difficult challenges to promote racial unity? We don't have to be 'we' and 'them' or 'you' and 'us'. As long as we continue to divide ourselves into groups the challenge of racial division will remain. Viewing ourselves as human first with different skin tones, some lighter and some darker, some people burn in the sun easier and some don't, is the only way to end racism. Understanding that we are all the same and we live in this human condition with the same hopes, dreams and fears for ourselves and our children.
We are better together
"Let freedom ring from every hill and ...every mountain side. Let freedom ring..." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The product of an interracial marriage, Ascend Together Foundation takes Dr. King's I Have a Dream Speech to heart. Working together to overcome the difficult physcial and mental challenges of moutaineering, we will let freedom ring on mountain sides around the globe raising awareness and promoting racial unity as a not-so-little black man and a not-so-little white woman. Together, we will overcome.
Divided we fall
“[Our supportive white brothers] have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
No other time in modern history than now should we realize that we all depend on each other. 2020 has been quite a year and we have seen the importance of a global community. It takes more than a village to stop a pandemic and it takes every one of us to speak out peacefully about racial injustice. We must stand together as the human race to cause positive change.
The icing on the mountaineering cake is that being active and getting outside is beneficial to our mental and physical health. It's a win-win. You don't have to climb mountains, though a big focus of ATF will be climbing and the challenges of training, but we hope that you will go outside and go for a hike or a walk, bike ride or play tennis. We implore you to have an open mind and don't self-limit. Try something new and do NOT put yourself in a box (you know who you are).
Meet new people and seek to understand that we are more alike than different. You may not like my favorite food and I may not like your music, but those are personal preferences and are not defining of a race -- often they are simply based on what we grew up around. Speaking of growing up, re-introduce the outdoors to your children like you haven't done before. Take pics and show us #ascendtogether because we are better together.
Reference: King, Martin Luther Jr., I Have a Dream taken from: https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf