Staff Chats: DeAngelo Bowden, Environmental Services

11 Jun 2020

Hear from City staff about their COVID-19 work, how they're staying connected and what they hope to learn from community members like you.

What’s been the most challenging part of your job the last few months?

This is a really great question that I think I could write a book about honestly! I really miss seeing my friends and colleagues on a daily basis. A lot of my work centers on engaging our historically underrepresented/marginalized communities in the update of the City’s Climate Action Plan. It has definitely been a challenge to really embed myself in the work because of how important the storytelling element is, alongside embedding equity into every process of the plan. We have learned that online platforms are not always the best ways to engage folks and we are committed to finding the most appropriate ways to do so. I will never take shaking someone’s hand or giving them a hug for granted ever again!

Why is it important for communities to have a vibrant and diverse culture?

The last thing we would want is for someone to feel like they are not welcome in the community they live in. Inclusivity is key to maintaining a healthy environment. Equity is that special piece that makes it all come together smoothly. Having vibrant and diverse cultures in a community allows us to become more resilient, especially in times like these, ensuring that we bounce back quicker and stronger than ever before. It allows for more innovation and collaboration within a community, as we will also have access to a wealth of knowledge and diverse thought. In order to achieve that “Excellence” that we all strive for, we must first make sure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed and that everyone is provided the resources to do so.

What has inspired you the most about our community these last several weeks?

Over the past weeks, folks in our community have come together to peacefully protest ongoing systemic and institutional racism. With the ongoing injustices and violence perpetuated against African-Americans and other communities of color, I can’t tell you how important it is to see Fort Collins step up and speak out for systemic change. Knowing that our community is out at City Hall, Old Town Square, Police Services, our Natural Areas and other public spaces - to listen, to learn and to continue collaborative discussions that inspire meaningful action - is absolutely amazing.

What’s been the most welcome change to your daily routine?

I love that I can hop on my bike, hit Spring Creek trail and grab some morning treats from Butterfly Cafe before my usual Teams meeting kickoff in the mornings. Now that my schedule is so flexible working from home, I am truly able to enjoy what our community has to offer during these beautiful summer days. Also, the commute to work is amazing! Instead of being a part of the traffic on Shields during rush hour, I now get to pace myself as I maneuver down my stairs to my workspace!

What do you want community members to know about the City right now?

Equity and Inclusion could not be more top of mind for our City. COVID-19 has highlighted some of the inequities certain communities face daily within Fort Collins. To accomplish the City's goals of sustaining an environment where residents and visitors feel welcomed, safe and valued, we know that there must be action taken by our organization and those we typically collaborate with. We consider an equitable community to be one where a person's identity or identities--or what zip code they live in--does not negatively impact their ability to thrive. Because local government is uniquely poised to help dismantle the institutional and systemic impacts of racism and oppression, the City of Fort Collins seeks to proactively address barriers that perpetuate inequity.

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