TORONTO (October 25, 2018) – Canadian Explorer Mario Rigby, who earlier this year completed his historic expedition Crossing Africa, today responded to Mountain Equipment Co-op CEO’s open letter about “recognizing the role we’ve played in under representing people of colour in the outdoors”, particularly in advertising.
“I started to hear a lot about the lack of diversity in the outdoor industry a few years ago when I began planning my expedition to walk across Africa (Crossing Africa). A simple search on Google of “modern day explorers” showed image-after-image of mostly white men. I certainly don’t mean to take away from their accomplishments – they did fantastic things and I admired and learned so much from them – however, I quickly realized that I would stick out like a sore thumb, seeing as there were less than a handful of black professional Explorers who appeared in search. There was barely any coverage of their work. This needed to change.
I started to hear a lot about the lack of diversity in the outdoor industry a few years ago when I began planning my expedition to walk across Africa. A simple search on Google of modern day explorers showed image after image of only white men. I don’t mean to take away from their credit as they did fantastic things and I looked up to and learned a lot from them, however, I quickly realized that I will stick out like a sore thumb, seeing as there were less than a handful of black professional Explorers—and there was barely any coverage of their work. This needed to change!
So with my global expeditions, and the Bruce Trail Camping trip last weekend, which included a diverse group of people, I hope to help change this narrative.
ATTN residents of the GTA and beyond:
Are you looking to break the stereotypes of what being an outdoorsy type is? Are you tired of doing the same thing every weekend without fulfilment? Are you ready for a world-class outdoor experience right here in your own backyard? Pay attention, because the following message is just for you!
From October 19 to 21, Mario Rigby, the Canadian-Turks and Caicos Islander explorer who walked and kayaked across Africa, is leading a team of 7 on a camping and hiking trip along the Bruce Trail in Southwestern Ontario.
Rigby's Crossing Africa expedition proved that being an explorer no longer means that you are a young European man crossing the Atlantic Ocean in search of spices and riches.
What an honour it was just to witness the last week in New York City with the MIPAD (Most influential People of African Descent under 40) crew. Great connections were made. What MIPAD stands for is black excellence and it is paving the way for current generations and future generations to make positive impact changes in the world today.
My emotions ran wild remembering all that I've gone through when I was welcomedge to be greeted by the president of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada after watching a highlight of Crossing Africa as well as future projects.
What is MIPAD?
In support of the International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by United Nation's General Assembly resolution 68/237 and to be observed from 2015 to 2024, the Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from all around the world as a progressive network of relevant actors to join together in the spirit of recognition, justice and development of Africa, it's people on the continent and across it's Diaspora.
A modern explorer recently finished a voyage of walking across Africa entirely by foot and kayak.