Written by Faren Rajkumar

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My name is Levy Shultz (@levydshultz on Instagram.) I am a 29-year-old Navy Veteran that loves to travel and see the beautiful things of the world. I have always valued time and the people around me over money. I strongly believe that you can always make more money, but you cannot purchase another precious moment with those you love or amongst the beautiful things of nature. I was raised primarily by a single mother who was tough as nails. My mother is my superhero. We’ve faced many adversities together, but she bore the brunt of the sacrifice for me to be around the nation

1. How do you feel about the movement to increase diverse representation in the outdoors?

It is absolutely vital for us to diversify the outdoor movement. No one owns nature, however, the policies of governments have inhibited people of color from navigating freely for far too long. The fundamental flaw of classist recreation is that it disenfranchises everyone in the system. It has limited the mobility of BIPOC while also robbing non-BIPOC people of the rich cultural perspectives of their fellow humans. It is quintessential that we diversify our nation as much as possible. It rids our lineages of ignorance and promotes a more well-roundedand versatile community.

2. What are some challenges you face as a BIPOC athlete?

As a BIPOC I face the inherent fear of death by misunderstanding. As a young black man in

the US, I am often seen as a threat before I am seen as a person. Going into the general public, there are realities that I had to learn at a young age that many of my non POC counterparts did not have to face on a daily basis. For instance, the risk of Police encounters is raised exponentially while on the road. That is a fact that is absolutely terrifying for BIPOC. So platforms such as this platform are vital to the spreading of information and ways to mitigate the risks while travelling.

3. What does community mean to you?

We as a people/entity within nature represent a small part of a massive body. Therefore if one portion of the body is sick, injured, or infected it serves as a danger to the health of the entire body. We will never progress as a society until we liberate the most disenfranchised and downtrodden groups among us. We will never be healthy until we demonstrate compassion toward one another. Community to me means all living beings. We must extend compassion toward one another. Community to me means all living beings. There is no reason that a highly advanced, industrialized nation cannot afford for people to work less and enjoy life more.

4. Any thoughts you’d like to express to BIPOC allies?

I love all of our BIPOC allies. Thank you all for being so enlightened and loving. Together we can create a more diverse and inclusive society. Love always conquers hate.

5. Anything else you want to share with the community?

As a young, black, and gay professional working in a white, cis-gendered, male-dominated field it has had its battles. Especially during my time of military service. It took a long time for me to be proud of myself and to stand up for my beliefs and character. Learning to love myself was the most powerful thing I have ever done in my life, and it is a continuous journey of self-reflection and self-interrogation of unfounded and unconscious bias.

You can find Levy and follow his adventures on Instagram @levydshultz!