ONE37pm: Great to speak with you Pamela! First, we wanted to ask you about the process of finding and developing PDX.
Slaughter: Last year (2020), I started the Facebook Community group PDX People of Color Outdoors. By then, I had already established a Meetup group called People of Color Outdoors (POCO), which I founded in 2017. I actually never felt the need to have a Facebook group, because our group was growing rapidly. But during the pandemic, the POCO community wanted to share some of the obstacles and issues they were facing in addition to COVID-19.
Some had dealt with racism from roommates and dreaded going home. Some felt overwhelmed from teaching their children at home. A few were homeowners that felt fearful because their tenants couldn't pay the rent. Then you had tenants that felt afraid because they couldn't pay the rent. Some had relationships that were deteriorating. Others felt fortunate and blessed, and wanted to remain that way, and to give back.
Even though the group members had diverse lives, they had one common thread: to spend more time outdoors. They wanted to maintain their mental health by spending more time in nature with other BIPOC outdoor enthusiasts. During the pandemic, I decided to take a step back from my real estate business in order to plan POCO'S transition from a Meetup group to a new non-profit. I found a fiscal sponsor, the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, and Advisors, Soumary Vongrassamy and Greg Wolley, and wrote a book called "Hi! My Name is Robin!", to encourage families to learn all about birdwatching, especially home schoolers.
After I published my book, I officially started our Facebook community group, PDX People of Color Outdoors, and in 2020 POCO hosted 30 gatherings, including several virtual gatherings due to COVID safety precautions. This year, PDX People of Color Outdoors hosted 42 outings with more outings set throughout November and December!