11/12/2021

Advocate Spotlight: Dominique Davis

We are excited to recognize Dominique Davis for her work to create a diverse and inclusive climbing community in the South. As chair of the Equitable Access Committee for the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC), Dom has helped her local community understand the barriers that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and other underrepresented climbers face in outdoor spaces and actively promotes the importance of climbing areas being a refuge for all climbers to recreate without fear of discrimination. In addition to her JEDI work, Dom has contributed greatly to SCC’s mission to preserve access to climbing by helping with land acquisitions, supporting stewardship projects, and facilitating major fundraising efforts. She is currently working with Access Fund’s Southeast regional director to secure access to a new boulder field in southwest Georgia. Dom is a mother, yoga instructor, friend, and proud dog mama.

5 Questions for Dominique:

What's your favorite cause in climbing advocacy right now?
I love the shift that is happening, albeit slow and rocky. The lifting up of the rug and showing that behind every “nature doesn’t discriminate” and “rocks can’t be racist” quip are countless stories of inequity, discrimination, and prejudice within our community that are finally getting told and people are actually listening. We are fighting for representation, because believe it or not Black folks and other people of color didn’t just start climbing in 2020, and we aren’t going to let these corporations profit from us as their diversity clout without making fundamental changes.

What does it mean to you to be a climbing advocate?
To me, it means fighting for something better and that “fight” looks different for everyone. Maybe it’s monthly donations to your local climbing organization (LCO), maybe you’re championing causes on social media, maybe you’re marching in the streets, maybe you’re having those tough conversations with individuals who don’t share your viewpoints, or maybe you’re having an hour-long phone call trying to understand why a route developer thought they could get away with naming a route something so incredibly racist.

What’s your advice to new advocates?
You’re never going to get it right 100% of the time, and you’ll probably piss a lot of folks off in the process if you’re advocating for “controversial” topics. But change doesn’t get made without disruption, so ruffle the feathers, shake the ground, and do your best to actively be the change you want to see. I live by the motto “do no harm but take no shit,” and if I am not turning the other cheek when I see injustice and standing up for those who have been silenced, then I’m being an advocate.

What surprised you the most about getting into the advocacy world?
The amount of pushback I received for wanting to change racist and discriminatory route names and the number of climbers who were okay with keeping them the same.

Who is another climbing advocate whose work is inspiring you right now?
Marina Inoue. You want to talk about someone who puts everything they have into helping make the climbing community a safer, more equitable, and inclusive space? This woman is an inspiration. She founded The Gear Fund Collective and is just an overall badass who I’m honored to call my best friend. I could go on about all the advocacy work that Marina does for hours, but I feel like there may be a character count for this piece.

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