GLENDALE, Calif. – A deep exhale is how Elkin Salinas centers himself for a day outside spent in nature, which starts with some standing yoga and meditation.
"It's a perfect day for it. Clean air, the wind at your face and just closing your eyes and getting lost in the moment," said Salinas.
He is here for the first time with the group Latino Outdoors. The L.A.-chapter of the national organization put this free event together, offering folks the opportunity to spend their Black Friday in a greener way.
"It's really cool that there's an organization to get people of Hispanic backgrounds or Latinos in general to be in the outdoors," said Salinas.
Latino Outdoors is a non-profit that connects the Latino community with nature. For this event, they partnered with retailer REI.
For more than five years, REI has closed its stores on Black Friday and encourages people to opt outside instead of shop.
"I think that sometimes we already have too much stuff in our possessions. There's different ways to get new stuff or other stuff, you know a thrift store, swap with other friends," said Latino Outdoors Ambassador Remi Mateo.
The Latino population is the largest minority demographic in the U.S. According to Latino Outdoors, they are among the most under-represented groups in conservation, outdoor recreation, and environmental education organizations.
Mateo says this group is trying to change that narrative.
"Provides an education of the native lands, people that can also speak Spanish, so you're also inviting people that feel more comfortable talking to others that can understand them," said Mateo.
For Salinas, his first time with Latino Outdoors has been a memorable one. He learned about native plants, took in the sights, and explored new territory with new friends.
"Not only enjoy the outdoors and be in fresh air and opt out of Black Friday, but people who have like minds where they're out here enjoying the wilderness," said Salinas.
Enjoying the non-material things of life.
REI launched a 52-week challenge starting on Black Friday called Opt to Act.
The week-by-week challenge implements small changes to take care of our outdoor places and create small but sustainable habits to make a big difference. Find out more at the website here.