Video recording: Freedom to Roam in Nature

As part of Black History Month, the Willamette River Network hosted a virtual discussion among leaders working for welcoming, safe and accessible natural spaces for all. View a recording of the online event below.



About the Event

Feelings of joy, awe, grounding and connection are true for many people when they spend time in nature. Breathing clean air, moving our bodies, building community and culture and feeling the calming effects of beauty all around us mean we’re healthier and happier outside. But natural spaces can also feel unwelcome, unsafe and inaccessible to many, magnifying historic inequities present in our society resulting from the colonial practice of socially stratifying people and groups based on the color of their skin.


Chad Brown, Founder, Love is King & Soul River, Inc.

Chad Brown, the founder of Soul River, Inc., which brings together veterans and youth to be leaders for environmental justice, is launching a new initiative this month called Love Is King, calling on partners and allies from all sectors to be part of creating welcoming, accessible and safe natural spaces and increasing representation of people of color in the outdoors.

Love is King sees a world where nature’s lessons, beauty, nourishment, healing power, and strength are accessible to all people. Love is King is committed to providing equal opportunity to ensure equitable and safe access to the outdoors for children, families, and communities of people of color as a way to improve the physical, mental and spiritual health of the most vulnerable among us. It’s our moral obligation to take action to ensure that people of color are guaranteed freedom to roam in nature with the assurance of a welcoming and safe experience in the outdoors. ~ Chad Brown

Lisa Sumption, Director, Oregon Parks & Recreation Department

Lisa Sumption, director of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD)since March 2014, is the ninth director — and the first female director — since the agency formed in 1921. She joined OPRD in 2007 as assistant director of administrative services. She also helped craft legislation that created a public corporation to run the Oregon State Fair and brings 13 years of private-sector business experience.

OPRD serves more than 54 million visitors per year (51.5 day-use visitors and 2.7 million overnight visitors). Sumption oversees 258 state park properties comprising 107,960 acres. This includes 362 miles of coastline that is protected from development by the Oregon Beach Bill.

Lisa and her family live on seven acres in Salem. She enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, and camping.

Amira Streeter, Natural Resources Policy Advisor, Governor Kate Brown

Amira is a member of Governor Brown’s Natural Resources team where she serves as the Natural Resources Policy Advisor. Her policy portfolio includes issues regarding agriculture, air and land quality, land use, fish and wildlife, geology, sustainability and environmental justice. She has extensive experience in policy, collaborative problem solving, and community engagement and empowerment. Before working for Governor Brown, Amira built her career in the private and non-profit sectors, having served as a policy director for Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, the Policy and Advocacy Director for the Urban League of Portland, and a policy analyst and legislative liaison for now-Oregon Senator Lew Frederick.

Amira has focused on a variety of policy issues including Portland Harbor Superfund, housing, community development, public art, housing, criminal justice reform, and health equity. She has a law degree from Lewis & Clark, Northwestern School of Law, where she also earned a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, and a bachelor's degree in environmental science and dance from Skidmore College.

A passionate environmentalist, Amira has held many leadership positions over the years with various environmental organizations, including the Environmental Professionals of Color, the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Oregon Environmental Council.