Out & Back with Alison Mariella Désir

The official podcast companion to Out & Back, a video series from KCTS 9 and Crosscut that explores the ways diverse communities are engaging with the outdoors. Hosted by Alison Mariella Désir

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Episodes

Thursday Feb 02, 2023

As a kid, Chelsea Murphy felt she didn’t belong outside. Now the Leavenworth-based founder of She Colors Nature is making sure her daughters do.
The outdoors in America have a long history as an unwelcome place for Black men and women and children of all ages. Decades of violence and intimidation have made activities like hiking and camping, which have become rituals for many families, more complicated for many Black families.
This didn't stop the parents of Chelsea Murphy from taking her on camping trips when she was growing up in Tacoma. But Murphy still did not feel an affinity for the outdoors until much later in life, when she moved to the mountain town of Leavenworth after starting her own family. 
There, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and evergreens, Murphy not only fell in love with the outdoors, but was inspired to spread that love to her daughters and other women and girls of color through her She Colors Nature community. 
For this final episode of the first season of the Out & Back podcast, host Alison Mariella Désir travels to the mountain town, where she goes for a hike with Murphy and discusses the origins and aims of She Colors Nature and the future she envisions for her daughters.
Before listening, we suggest you watch the episode about Chelsea Murphy here.
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Credits
Host: Alison Mariella Désir
Producer: Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers
Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten
Audio production: Bryce Adolphson, Sarah Hall
Audio support: Resti Bagcal, Seth Halleran, Sara Bernard

Thursday Jan 26, 2023

The founder of the Bronze Chapter has thrived in the outdoors all her life. She wants other people of color in the PNW to feel the same way.
Denice Rochelle doesn't just want to see more people like herself adventuring outdoors. She wants to see more people like herself leading those adventures. 
When she created the Bronze Chapter, Rochelle wanted the nonprofit to create opportunities where people of color could come together and explore new spaces and new challenges. It did that and more. 
For this episode of the Out & Back podcast, host Alison Mariella Désir talks with Rochelle about the solo adventure that gave rise to her organization and how it has grown to host clinics and certification courses that help people of color become leaders in the outdoors. 
Rochelle shares her hope that through her efforts, more BIPOC will become stewards of the land who are deeply invested in addressing issues of environmental justice and climate change.
Before listening, we suggest you watch the episode about Denice Rochelle here.
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Credits
Host: Alison Mariella Désir
Producer: Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers
Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten
Audio production: Bryce Adolphson, Sarah Hall
Audio support: Resti Bagcal, Seth Halleran, Sara Bernard

Thursday Jan 19, 2023

The angler known as The Black Stonefly was raised in the city. But now he's on a mission to get more Black people into the outdoors.
Fly fishing changed Giancarlo Lawrence’s life. He says it has healed him and inspired him to become more self-sufficient. And, he says, he believes it can do the same thing for Black people like him, who are currently underrepresented in the sport. 
Growing up between the suburban and urban areas of the South Puget Sound region, Lawrence had little exposure to the outdoors growing up. Now his love of fly fishing has led him to more outdoor pursuits – such as mushroom foraging, gardening and hunting – and a role as an advocate for a life that is more connected to nature. 
For this episode of the Out & Back podcast, host Alison Mariella Désir talks with Lawrence about his journey to the outdoors, his passion for cooking and his vision of liberation and self-sufficiency for Black people.
Then he gives Désir her first fly fishing lesson, leading the city-loving host to consider a different life.
Before listening, we suggest you watch the episode about Giancarlo Lawrence here.
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Credits
Host: Alison Mariella Désir
Producer: Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers
Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten
Audio production: Bryce Adolphson, Sarah Hall
Audio support: Resti Bagcal, Seth Halleran, Sara Bernard

Thursday Jan 12, 2023

The Deadstock Run Club is giving people of color in Portland a place to come together, connect and get moving. 
As home to one of our most storied track and field destinations, one of the most celebrated runners in American history and arguably the greatest sneaker brand in the world, Oregon is a natural place to start a running club. 
That Ian Williams and Amir Armstrong started the Deadstock Run Club out of a coffeeshop in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown neighborhood, then, might not seem too surprising. That is until you consider another, much more disturbing aspect of Oregon history: its hostility toward people of color, in particular Black people. 
For instance, in the 19th century, the state passed three Black exclusion laws. These were later rescinded, but even during the 20th century Klan demonstrations and cross burnings were common throughout the state.
For this episode of the Out & Back podcast, host Alison Mariella Désir visits the coffee shop where it all started to talk with Williams and Armstrong about how a love of sneakers and coffee fueled a community that is giving people of color a place to gather and get active.
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Credits
Host/producer: Sara Bernard
Featured reporter: Margo Vansynghel
Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten
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If you would like to support Crosscut, go to crosscut.com/membership. In addition to supporting our events and our daily journalism, members receive complete access to the on-demand programming of Seattle’s PBS station, KCTS 9.

Thursday Jan 05, 2023

First drawn to the sport for health benefits, athlete Rosalie Fish hit her stride advocating for missing and murdered Indigenous women and two-spirit people.
Rosalie Fish is best known for the red handprint often painted on her face. First a runner in high school and now a collegiate athlete at the University of Washington, Fish runs with the handprint to bring visibility to the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Two-Spirit people. 
It is a cause that is centuries old and very near to her as a member of the Cowlitz Tribe who grew up on the Muckleshoot reservation.
For this episode of the Out & Back podcast, she talks to host Alison Mariella Désir about how she turned her love of running into activism. 
She also takes Désir along for one of her other favorite outdoor activities, a canoe paddle on Elliott Bay with her Muckleshoot family.
Before listening, we suggest you watch the episode about Rosalie Fish here.
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Credits
Host: Alison Mariella Désir
Producer: Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers
Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten
Audio production: Bryce Adolphson, Sarah Hall
Audio support: Resti Bagcal, Seth Halleran

Thursday Dec 29, 2022

QPOC Hikers started as a place for people to bond over the outdoors. It’s become so much more.  
The outdoors transformed Jas Maisonet’s life. But when they went looking for people to join them on outdoor adventures, they ran into a problem. As a non-binary person of color, they had trouble meeting people outside of happy hour meet-ups. 
To meet more queer people interested in the outdoors, Maisonet started QPOC Hikers in 2019. Now they arrange outdoor events year round, from birding, to hiking, to snowshoeing. 
For this episode of the Out & Back podcast, host Alison Mariella Desir talks to Maisonet about their personal history and growing organization. Desir also heads out for a day of bouldering, her first ever, with Maisonet as guide.
Along the way Desir learned that QPOC Hikers is about much more than hiking. The organization provides queer people of color with a place to share stories and inspiration.
Before listening, we suggest you watch the episode about QPOC Hikers here.
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Credits
Host: Alison Mariella Désir
Producer: Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers
Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten
Audio production: Bryce Adolphson, Sarah Hall
Audio support: Resti Bagcal, Seth Halleran

Thursday Dec 22, 2022

Agriculture is a fraught industry for descendants of enslaved people. Yes Farm is working to move beyond that trauma.
The relationship between Black people and agriculture in the United States has long been dominated by one obvious and ominous image: Black Americans working the land as enslaved people. 
But a different image is being formed at Yes Farm in Seattle’s Yesler Terrace neighborhood. There, between a construction site and the freeway, the Black Farmers Collective is working to change Black people’s relationship with land and farming. 
For this episode of the Out & Back podcast, host Alison Mariella Désir tours the farm and speaks with director Ray Williams and farm manager Hannah Wilson about their efforts to promote self-determination and liberation through farming. 
Growing food is hard work, they tell us, but it is a skill and a rare opportunity to know exactly where your food comes from.
Before listening, we suggest you watch the episode about Yes Farm here.
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Credits
Host: Alison Mariella Désir
Producer: Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers
Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten
Audio production: Bryce Adolphson, Sarah Hall
Audio support: Resti Bagcal, Seth Halleran

Thursday Dec 15, 2022

Peace Peloton started in Seattle as a single protest ride in 2020. Now it fights for social justice nationwide.
Reginald “Doc” Wilson loves his bike. So in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police in May 2020, his bike became a tool to reclaim space and fight for social justice under the name Peace Peloton. 
Since the first ride on June 6, 2020, his organization’s rides, markets and barbecues have welcomed cyclists of all skills while seeking to bring economic justice to local businesses that, as he says, happen to be Black.
For this episode of the Out & Back podcast, Alison Mariella Désir and Doc Wilson visit Boon Boona Coffee, Central Cafe and Juice Bar, and Metier Brewery – all Black-owned businesses – on their way to Lake Washington. 
Along the way, you’ll learn the story of Peace Peloton as Alison becomes a more confident cyclist.
Before listening, we suggest you watch the episode about Peace Peloton here.
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Credits
Host: Alison Mariella Désir
Producer: Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers
Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten
Audio production: Bryce Adolphson, Sarah Hall
Audio support: Resti Bagcal, Seth Halleran

Thursday Dec 08, 2022

Meet the Club Seattle Runners Division, the group that helped Alison Mariella Desir find her place and her people in the PNW.
Housing discrimination and restrictive covenants shaped Seattle in ways that are still being felt today. The most obvious of these is the neighborhood segregation it created and the way that it affected Black people’s ability to purchase homes and acquire wealth. But it also created disparities in health and movement. 
Consider Seattle’s Central District. It was once a thriving Black neighborhood because Black people legally couldn't live anywhere else in the city. But in the last few decades, the neighborhood has rapidly gentrified. Yet, even with gentrification, heat maps suggest that there are fewer people outside running, walking or biking in the Central District than in areas historically reserved for white people in Seattle.
Club Seattle Runners Division, also known as CSRD, is working to end that legacy of inactivity by getting people of color moving, reclaiming space and, literally, creating more heat.
For this episode of the Out & Back podcast, club founders Ashley Davies and David Jaewon Oh sit with host Alison Mariella Desir to discuss how they combined a love of running with a love of Seattle to get people intentionally moving outside. They will also take you to the Central District during Juneteenth weekend 2022 where they hosted a 3 mile walking tour in partnership with Wa Na Wari.
Before listening, we suggest you watch the episode about CSRD here.
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Credits
Host: Alison Mariella Désir
Producer: Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers
Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten
Audio production: Bryce Adolphson, Sarah Hall
Audio support: Resti Bagcal, Seth Halleran

Thursday Dec 01, 2022

Meet host Alison Mariella Désir as she tells her story of reclaiming the outdoors in New York before she and her family moved to the PNW.
Désir is a runner, an activist, a mother and an author; a lover of the outdoors; and a student of history. And now, with a new video series and this accompanying podcast, she gets to highlight other BIPOC folks in the Pacific Northwest who are deconstructing historic and modern ideas about who belongs in the outdoors. Along the way, viewers and listeners will meet groups and individuals who are reclaiming the outdoors and encouraging others to get outside with them.
But before Alison gets into a season full of adventures and conversations, she has her own story of reclamation to tell. It begins before she and her family moved from the New York to the Pacific Northwest to give her son a life more connected to nature. It begins in her youth, with her father teaching her that history is told from the perspective of the winners and that history is one thing while the truth is another. 
The truth is, though the outdoors don’t always feel welcoming to everyone because of past and present exclusion and trauma, getting outside can be life-changing. It changed Alison’s life and led her, like many she will introduce you to this season, to work to make the outdoors more welcoming to all.
For this episode of the Out and Back podcast, Alison’s husband, Amir Muhammad Figueroa, interviews her. You will also follow her on a run as she explains her mantra “meaning through movement.”
Before listening, we suggest you watch the debut episode of the Out & Back series here.
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Credits
Host: Alison Mariella Désir
Producer: Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers
Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten
Audio production: Bryce Adolphson, Sarah Hall
Audio support: Resti Bagcal, Seth Halleran

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