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"We connected our ideas and dreams of better serving our beings..." Story by Afros In Nature

Bethlehem, PA

Afros In Nature

Tell us about Afros In Nature?

Afros in Nature is a non-profit collective whose mission is to plant seeds of safety in natural environments so that individuals of color - regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, creed or economic status - can create self- sustaining lifestyles with love, support and community.

What inspired Afros in Nature to be organized?

I (Melanie) had a thought/idea in the summer of 2020 when I recognized a need in our community for accessible, and safe, outdoor recreation for people of color; I was looking for that type of support group in our community for myself. Not finding the spaces that felt for me, I decided to reach out to friends Louis, Amanda and Nia. We connected our ideas and dreams of better serving our beings, and with that strength, providing the necessary resources to others so they can thrive as well. We are beings of the Earth and we find a sense of healing and clarity when connecting with it.

What challenges does Afros in Nature face and how does (AIN) become better?

We are pushing through a couple of challenges. One of them is getting people to commit to pull up for meetups. It's like the interest is there but the worry takes over then the fear kicks in and people change their minds. It's understandable, we're all there when it comes to new things and different environments But we are working to create the necessary flow to meet others where they are. Another challenge is the finances to work on our community homestead & cafe space in Allentown. Afros in Nature is fairly new but, some beautiful opportunities keep presenting themselves, and they're bound to create impactful change. We want to be able to afford that but it's hard out here. We want to sprinkle funding into the community of people that look like us, who are way too often overlooked and provided with not very many resources to find success in our journey. There is a lot of generational healing we all have to do. How do we become better? We continue to give ourselves the best we can for our beings and, in return, provide our community with what we have learned so we can all uplift, thrive, and learn.

How can Afros in Nature make an impact in the community and why is this important to (AIN)?

We are people who understand the temporary experience that is the human experience. We understand that what we leave behind is what will best serve generations to come, hopefully shifting human life in a direction where people are living to their fullest potential and really enjoying their quality of life. We can only do so much .. we're only four people. But we'll do our best here in our little community. It is important to us because, well, YOLO (you only live once!),. Drake was lyin' ... because we live once, we should be uplifting ourselves and then uplifting others... It's a ripple effect. We should enjoy the moments we are in, keep learning, wandering, and growing.

"Keep learning, wandering, and growing..."

Where do you see Afro's In Nature in the future?

Hoping Afros in Nature can explore other countries groups, somehow making travel accessible (big dreams) and building unity amongst all different types of people, building more connections with other Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in our community. More green spaces in inner city neighborhoods, more resources for underserved neighborhoods. A Community Cafe(s) that serves as a safe educational space for people in the neighborhood, culinary programs, farming programs, entrepreneurship programs in the food world, food sovereignty, a solid leadership development program - creating more environments like this.

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