It’s never too late to allow your inner Sk8ter Girl🛹 to blossom. In a field dominated by men, Black Girls Skate is creating a community for women, specifically women of color, to come, connect and skate. Black Girls Skate, also known as BGS, is an organization dedicated to raising skater visibility and creating a safe and inviting space for female-identifying skaters of all levels and niches. Skateboarders, roller skaters, WCMX skaters, and ice skaters are all welcome. BGS wants skate lovers to get out and move because if the past couple of years has taught us anything, it’s to never take advantage of human connection and movement.
DJ Gooden, founder of Black Girls Skate, is passionate about curating a space for black girls to celebrate themselves and others and not feel judged or ridiculed. “We exist to create equity, awareness, and visibility for people who look like us in the skate community,” they explain.
“… if the past couple of years has taught us anything, it’s to never take advantage of human connection and movement.”Tajah Ware
BGS’s mission is clear, and their events uphold what they aim to do: create community. BGS has been on a national tour all summer. One of their last Midwest stops was at the House of Vans in Chicago. “We host these events so people can get out, network, meet their fellow skaters in the community, and learn new things,” said Gooden. “We learn more together.”
These pop-ups promote good vibes, positive learning experiences, inclusion, and good music. After attending the BGS pop-up in Chicago, I must say: this organization’s intention holds up.
Within the Windy City lies thousands of niche fitness communities. You have your runners, hot girl walkers, bikers, and skaters. Until recently, I wasn’t aware that Chicago had a large skater community. “We exist everywhere, we are skating everywhere,” Gooden states. “This is why we decided to go on tour.”
BGS has been on their 3rd Annual Popup Tour since the beginning of the summer. They’ve popped up in L.A., Philly, and at the end of August, BGS touched down in the Chi to set up shop at The House of Vans. The event took place on a Sunday, and the energy in the space was palpable. Skaters of all types glided and flipped throughout the indoor skating area. Smiles were plastered across every face I saw. There were Gen Z’ers, Millennials, and Gen X’ers co-existing and doing what they love best: skating. An energy of love, respect, and safety filled the room. Everyone knew they were welcomed, supported, and seen.
Yahshi Rice, a Chicago native, was inspired to get out and attend the BGS event because of all the chaos that has taken place within the last year.
“I was inspired to get out because I understand that in this life, you only have so much time to be able to exercise, live and be around good spirits,” said Rice. “Finding and seeking out things to keep you happy and motivated through these rough times is important. Getting out to Black Girls Skate is one of the most amazing things for me this summer.”
Dii, a skater from the Chicagoland area who found out about Black Girls Skate on Instagram, came out to connect and find community. “I figured there would be more people that were black and were skaters that I could connect and link up with,” Dii says. “I wanted to connect with people from all over but also find community within the black and femme Chicago skate scene.”
The desire for community, representation, and connection is why so many of the women at the event came out. Whether they were dancing with one another to the sonic sounds of DJ Bonita Appleblunt, or trying out new tricks and being cheered on by their fellow skaters, everyone knew they were surrounded by love, guidance, and sisterhood.
BLACK GIRLS SKATE; MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I headed into the BGS event. However, as soon as I walked into that building I was instantly overcome with comfort, ease, and the feeling of belonging. The space was filled with good vibes, creativity, laughter, and, most of all, support. I had never been a part of the skate community, but I left wondering…“maybe I should try it out?”
I saw roller skaters and skateboarders watching and learning from one another. I saw BGS members lending a hand to new skaters. I saw little girls doing tricks on ramps and being applauded by grown women. I saw community. I saw inclusivity and I saw Black Girls Skate doing what they do best: bringing people together.
“We host these events so people can get out, network, meet their fellow skaters in the community, and learn new things,”DJ Gooden, Founder of Black Girls Skate
It’s so important to get out and get moving. You never know where life will take you, who you will meet, or who you will become. But you do have control over where you go and who you spend your time with. After hanging out with Black Girls Skate, I realized how important it is to honor your body, to honor movement, and to honor genuine connection. So, keep that in mind the next time you decide to “Get Out!” Always put yourself in environments where you are encouraged to grow, love, and build community.
We challenged our Mildsauce journalists to explore and create narratives around this month’s theme, “Get Out!“. Their stories explore getting out in diverse ways, from getting out into nature, to getting out of your own head.
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