Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the country and they’re breaking barriers across several different industries. After opening the doors to Coral Cliffs Climbing Gym in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Abby Dione become the first Black woman in the country to own and operate an indoor rock climbing gym, Melanin Base Camp reported.
The gym—which has been in existence since 2011—was created as an avenue to expose more people of color to the activity, the news outlet writes. Dione has been a climber for 12 years. With every climb, she’s used her journey as a way to dismantle stereotypes about African-Americans and women in the sport. Through her business, she has launched several initiatives including the creation of a local youth rock climbing team and bouldering classes.
She says she wants to create “opportunities for people to meet and experience how powerful climbing could be. And doing it in a safe and fun environment.” She also added that she doesn’t want youth to limit themselves to what they see around them and believes its important to expose them to new activities.
Several initiatives have been launched across the country in efforts to diversify the sport. Brothers of Climbing, The Brown Ascenders and Brown Girls Climb are all groups that have been designed to get more people of color involved in rock climbing. “Brown girls do climb. We will continue to climb. We climb inside. We climb outside. We climb over mountains and boulders. We climb over years of insecurity. We climb over generations of oppression, injustice, abuse, rape, and self-deprecation,” said Brown Girls Climb founder Bethany Lebewitz in a statement on the organization’s website. “We climb over doubts, fears, struggles, and insults on a daily basis. We climb because we must. We have always climbed and we will continue to climb because the statistics are not in our favor.”