Brown Folks Fishing Tackles Racism and Inequality in Fishing Industry with New Pledge

The Orvis Company to become first Angling for All pledgee

From Orvis and Brown Folks Fishing:

LOS ANGELES (July 29, 2020) — Brown Folks Fishing (BFF), an organization committed to building community and expanding access among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in fishing and its industry, has launched the Angling for All Pledge. The pledge seeks to dismantle systemic barriers to entry and participation at all levels of the fishing industry. Joining the effort as the inaugural pledgee is The Orvis Company.

“Fishing has deep roots in the BIPOC community, yet our voices are vastly underrepresented,” says Tracy Nguyen-Chung, executive director of BFF. “We are proud to launch the Angling for All Pledge which establishes a commitment to equity and inclusion in the angling community. It is an opportunity for those within the fishing industry to cultivate the knowledge and understanding necessary to eliminate barriers and commit to radical and lasting change.”

The Pledge has been in development since late 2018 and is inspired by the work of Teresa Baker and the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge. It establishes a commitment to addressing racism and inequality throughout a pledgee’s internal culture, consumer-facing behaviors, and the broader community. At its core is a curriculum developed by Brown Folks Fishing in partnership with Erica Nelson and Sydney Clark of REAL Consulting, an organization that works with clients to develop strategies for anti-racist organizational culture. The curriculum provides education and resources for brands and organizations to enhance equity and diversity across staff, executive teams, athletes, ambassadors, guides, and throughout the organization’s media and marketing.

“As Indigenous and Black women, our work at REAL builds upon our own experiences and perspectives, as well as those of other marginalized people,” says Erica Nelson of REAL Consulting. “The goal of the Angling for All curriculum is to identify issues of access and participation in the outdoors and provide the tools and resources necessary to move forward in solving these issues. Not all individuals or organizations are the same. We will work with businesses and professionals on an individual basis to establish a custom set of programming and initiatives that set participants on their own unique paths to eliminating barriers and creating change in the industry. Our workshops invite everyone, regardless of their background, to add to the narrative and ensure that it is continuously evolving and culturally relevant.”

As the inaugural pledgee, Orvis will work with REAL Consulting and Brown Folks Fishing to move through the pledge curriculum and create a plan of action upon completion.

“We are honored and grateful to have such a strong partnership with Tracy and the team at Brown Folks Fishing,” says Simon Perkins, Orvis president. “Their mission to build capacity, access, resources, visibility, and a solid community for anglers of color makes the sport stronger, and we are excited to sign the pledge as an acknowledgment of our commitment to this critical work. This is an opportunity for us to explore our own blind spots and unconscious biases and an important step forward in Orvis’s history of passion and commitment to access, inclusion, and stewardship in fly fishing.”

Those who successfully complete the Pledge will have the opportunity to be included in the BFF Directory, which features Brown Folks Fishing’s recommendations for guides, instructors, experiences, shops, brands, and organizations from across the industry committed to equity and inclusion. The Directory will be available publicly as an information resource to anglers.

Guides, instructors, outfitters, media platforms, organizations, brands, companies, and other professionals across the fishing industry are encouraged to apply. For more information and to apply to the Pledge, please visit: www.brownfolksfishing.com/pledge

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