I grew up with a narrative of the latino family doing outdoor labor and not outdoor recreation. My grandfather was a farm worker, my father and mother were farm workers, and the homes I grew up in as a child were, more often than not, right across an agricultural field.
This month in honor of Cesar Chavez day the Lideres del Sendero hiking club which, I am a part of, participated in the Tucson, Arizona Cesar Chavez March and Rally on Saturday, April 19th in an effort to address the ethnic disparity among Saguaro National Park visitors. The disparity arises from Latinos making up about 41% of the Tucson population but only representing 3% of park visitors.
Lideres del Sendero has many goals, one of them being combining the experience of the outdoors with cultura. As I walked down 6th ave toward Rudy Garcia Park I was surrounded by it. Chants describing issues facing the latino community such as education, immigration, workers right and even Black Lives Matter emerged from the crowds at different times. Children as young as five carried signs that were at least half their size. The elders who were able to march did and those who could not waited for our arrival at the park. It is this aspect of Latino culture that one must keep in mind when planning outdoor events or outreach to the latino community, the familia. Lideres del Sendero seeks to train community trail leaders so that they can lead their familia through hikes in and around tucson. Cesar Chavez kept familia in mind while doing his work and now his children continue to work for migrants rights.
Once we arrived at the park the event became more of a party with storytelling and music. Giant puppets reenacted Cesar and Dolores fight for workers rights followed by a sombering reminder that rights are still being fought for here in Tucson. Workers from El Super grocery store are fighting for fair working contracts and are asking the community to support them by boycotting the chain store. After different calls to actions were made such as asking people to join in on the Cesar Chavez Day of Service and a Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta campout at Saguaro National Park I had the opportunity to get the word out for the Lideres del Sendero hiking club.
Even though I grew up with the narrative that latinos work outside and don’t really play outside I have decide to work towards creating a counter narrative where Latinos go hiking, rock climbing, and camping in the desert. By committing to go on at least one hike every week and inviting others to join me I am making a difference in my narrative.