Our Social Justice Work

In the spring of 2020, I began using my hospitality business as an intentional property for hosting, supporting, and promoting marginalized groups, in particular Black, Indigenous, and people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Notch Hostel is proud to be a beacon of light and acceptance for BIPOC and the LGBTQ+ community.

Promotional Codes

We continue to offer promo codes for guests of BIPOC affinity groups when they book their stay at our hostel. For example, are you a member of Latino Outdoors, Outdoor Asian, or Brown Girls Climb? Use BIPOCOUTDOORS20 for 20% off all accommodations at the Notch. Outdoor Afro members can use NOTCHAFRO30 for 30% off all accommodations at the Notch.

Me and White Supremacy Challenge

Myself (white female) and three of my white employees each facilitated a weekly virtual discussion for white members of Summits in Solidarity, many of whom are Notch Hostel guests and friends, during Black History Month. We challenged white outdoorsy people to read Layla Saad’s, “Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism,” and unpack the reading in groups on Zoom. This is an annual challenge anticipated for each February, and it has grown from 35 participants to 70 participants in just one year.

Hostel owner and Summits in Solidarity founder, Serena Ryan on Zoom with Me and White Supremacy Challenge participants.

We believe in showcasing stories that break the mold of the “typical” (cis het white male) outdoor user.

Fireside Chat Series; a monthly speaking engagement put on throughout winter featuring presentations from avid hikers and outdoors folk hosted in our hostel’s living room with potluck dinner pre-game. We heard from Aubri “Data” Drake, a nonbinary queer notch regular in a chat called “genderqueer.” Another notch regular is Lyla “Sugar” Harrod, a long distance hiker and trans woman who spoke about thru-hiking the AT, PCT, Hayduke, and Direttissima. We also hosted a panel discussion with four long-distance hikers of color: Richi, a Dominican-American hiker and ultramarathoner; Hamer, a Dominican-born Appalachian Trail thru-hiker; Justin, an African-American Appalachian Trail thru-hiker and founder of the Outdoorist Oath; and Kathy, a Vietnamese-American international hiker and skier. At one point in the discussion, I asked the panelists, “Can Black, Indigenous, and people of color use hiking to escape reality the way white hikers do? Is this in their best interest? Is this even a possibility?” to which Justin responded:

 There are so many other aspects to thru-hiking or putting ourselves in an outdoor space that we [BIPOC] have to worry about. Like when I mention that my pack was designed by a BIPOC company and I get messages in my comments that say, No one wants to hear about diversity or politics, and if you think you are going to bring that onto the trail you’ll be shunned by the thru-hiking community… A lot of hikers don’t have to watch the news because things like the pandemic or mass shootings disproportionately affect people of color. When I would try to introduce that on trail, hikers would say, I don’t really watch the news, I’m not here for that, I want to focus on hiking.  And I think, that must be nice to only have to focus on hiking.

Another weekend, we hosted a presentation by Ari and Rik of Ridj-it and Mountain Flyer. Ridj-it is a technological platform that connects outdoors people with rideshares, and Mountain Flyer is an outdoor recreation bus that provides transportation from the city of Boston to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Both services address the need for accessible transportation to outdoor spaces in a region that lacks public transportation which affects BIPOC who are at a socioeconomic and geographical disadvantage. These presentations and all others are free to attend or watch online via Zoom, and all donations are given to the speakers. This is our fifth year producing the series.

  • Upper left: Lyla “Sugar” Harrod
  • Lower left: Ari & Rik of Ridj-it and Mountain Flyer
  • Right: Richi, Dominican-American hiker and ultramarathoner

Film Screening

Last summer, The Notch Hostel reserved the last weekend in June exclusively for a Summits in Solidarity hike and fundraiser. There was a film screening featuring Black hiker and activist, Mardi Fuller, called “Mardi and the Whites,” as in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Mardi Fuller is a full-time inspiration and “hamily” member both on and off trail.

Summits In Solidarity

In 2020, my employee Philip Carcia and I co-founded Summits in Solidarity, a racial justice initiative among hikers in the Northeastern US and beyond. Our mission is to identify and liberate from white privilege, entitlement, and supremacy in hiking and outdoor recreation, foster connections that support emergence of a new, anti-racist outdoors community, and raise funds for Black, Indigenous, and people of color justice organizations.  On March 24, 2022, Summits in Solidarity formally became a federally recognized non-profit (EIN 88-0948177). 

So far, we have raised $61,907 in public contributions, which we have used to support:

Outdoor Afro’s work to connect Black people with Nature.

The Pennacook-Abenaki People’s work to save and preserve Indigenous sacred places.

NH PANTHERS Black Excellence Fund

Unfilther the Outdoors’ work to support BIPOC hiking micro-grants and mentorship opportunities.

Black Lives Matter Manchester’s (NH) work to provide mutual aid and scholarships for Black people in need.

Each summer, on the last day of June, Summits in Solidarity has an annual in-person fundraiser hike weekend held at the Notch Hostel; the Notch blocks off the entire weekend for the fundraiser and donates all proceeds to the fundraiser.

Black Lives Matter Manchester, NH, released their 2023-2024 college scholarship applications. We funded this program thanks to our 2022 donors.

The Notch Store

We have a small store both in house and online. It provides support for the BIPOC community through our seller and reusable handbag fabricator Bookie, who donates $30 of each Solidarity bag sold to Summits in Solidarity. We also sell a hiker salve handmade in New Hampshire by marathon runner Yuma Haidara.