Whether it’s through her powerful presence on the tennis court or her efforts to create pathways for underrepresented youth within the sport, Venus Williams has been a fierce advocate for advancing inclusivity. The seven-time Grand Slam champion has teamed up with Clif Bar & Company and the nonprofit Outdoor Afro to diversify outdoor activities, Adweek reported.
Nature-focused activities can serve as conduits for healing. Research shows spending time outdoors can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Despite the transformative benefits, outdoor recreational activities are often inaccessible for BIPOC communities due to systemic racism and Williams is determined to change the narrative.
Through the initiative, Clif Bar & Company will support organizations like Outdoor Afro—a nonprofit dedicated to empowering the Black community through outdoor education, recreation, and conservation—and the National Park Service in leading an array of outdoor activities for communities of color through September. Williams, who was featured in one of the energy food and drink brand’s recent ads, says it’s imperative to eliminate the barriers.
“It was really so much fun to meet everyone from Outdoor Afro,” she shared. “It was about the experience of being outdoors. It was about the experience of connecting. It was about the experience of letting nature run its course, so to speak, in a healing way, in a joyful way. It was nice even for me to take that moment and just be so focused when I’m outside, actually just enjoy it.”
This isn’t the first time the tennis legend has partnered with Clif Bar & Company. She’s teamed up with the brand to support the Harlem Junior Tennis Education Program by helping fund their initiatives that sit at the intersection of education and sports. “I am very motivated to support talented youth who need help with opportunities in life,” Williams shared while discussing the partnership. “I absolutely love what HJTEP stands for in terms of providing pathways for young people by using tennis as a catalyst.”