The Wakanda Trailblazers

Moise Babptiste has always been focused on helping young adults succeed. Once the executive director of student affairs for UTC, Dr. Babptiste now leads a trail running group called Wakandan Trailblazers (WTB).

Moise Babptiste has been running consistently for the past seven months, and he has completed four half-marathons in the past four years. “Well I wanted to change up my workouts… I was getting bored to be honest with you, and I wanted to mix it up a little bit, do something different, and I thought of trail running.” Babptiste explained how trail running requires strategy, because it is a physically and mentally stimulating activity. “My first trail run was a ten-mile run, and I haven’t stopped since.” 

Moise defines WTB as a “movement to encourage people of color to take advantage of the outdoors.” A stigma seems to exist within modern culture that being outdoors, such as hiking, climbing, fishing, and many outdoor activities is only popular among white people. “ Some of the stigma is historical, and some of it is from certain perceptions and what we see from the media. Ya know, we see hunting and fishing shows, but we don’t see people of color hunting and fishing,” says Baptiste. “This stigma exists due to lack of education, lack of information, lack of experience.”

Moise reiterates the point that we are all humans, and all humans are made to be in nature. “The concrete is unnatural, we are all made to run, we are made to be apart of the outdoors.”

“Last month I was on a long run on Raccoon Mountain, and I was happy to be by myself, because I could be alone with my thoughts, but then I was saddened because I thought of so many people that could benefit from this.” Moise envisions the trail running club as so many people, all across the world of every race “taking advantage of the outdoors and appreciating the simple things.” Moise elaborates on how he thought of the group name and how he was inspired from the recent Marvel movie “Black Panther” with the fictional country Wakanda. “Wakanda is a dream, it’s an idea, it’s hope of what can be, and so I said the Wakandan Trail Blazers.” 

Anyone can join the Wakandan Trailblazers on their roadwork morning runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 7 am at Miller Plaza and for a trail run on weekend mornings.

Meet the Storytellers

Haili Jackson

Haili Jackson is a senior studying communication and psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is most passionate about creative storytelling, social justice, and journalism. She hopes to educate the public on social issues through compelling presentations. To view her work and/or collaborate, contact Haili at pnn573@mocs.utc.edu.

 

 

McKenzie Carver

McKenzie Carver is an insightful writer who has been fortunate enough to have many life experiences that cover much of the emotional spectrum. Carver is a sophomore at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and pursuing a degree in Communications and Spanish. McKenzie is passionate about traveling and the people she meets along her travels. For inquiries or more information, contact her at dxy429@mocs.utc.edu

 

 

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Elian Richter

Elian Richter works as a photojournalist and action photographer. He has experience covering events such as USA Boxing qualifiers and Presidential arrivals on Air Force One. Elian has had works published on Rising Rock Media and the UTC Echo. In his free time, Elian enjoys rock climbing and being outdoors. Contact Elian Richter at wbn751@mocs.utc.edu.

 

 

Cooper Tidwell

Cooper Tidwell is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, majoring in Communication with a minor in Theatre. Cooper’s works as a photographer for the University Echo. When he’s not taking photos he works as a barista at Mayfly Coffee on the weekends. You can contact Cooper at ndd764@mocs.utc.edu

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