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.
How are you staying connected with people outside of your household?
LN: I am a car-free and an active cyclist, and I have been making efforts to connect with as many as I can in all of the spaces I occupy in that area. I have continued going to the Murphy Center to wrench on bikes there for the homeless and near- homeless community members. I have gone to neighborhoods on the north side of town to do the same for our Latinx community members. I have had a backyard hangout with my bike polo team. I have worked with the other leaders of the Hex Wenches, a FTW/NB (Femme Trans Women and Non-binary) wrenching group out of the Fort Collins Bike Co-op, to create a Ride with Pride for the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies.
This month is Pride Month, and while it is hard to celebrate given all that is going on, there have been major milestones that we have experienced in the movement towards equality. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled that gay and trans people can’t be discriminated against or fired for just being themselves. While it is upsetting that it took until 2020 for this to be clarified on a national level for those that didn’t already understand it, it is a huge win.
Instead of ignoring what is going on for the sake of celebration, we also stand (ride) in solidarity with those protesting, and those fighting for equality for black lives and for QTBIPOC (Queer and Trans, Black and Indigenous and People of Color) lives. Just because we had a huge step taken forward for our equality doesn’t mean that everyone has. This ride will be on Friday, June 26th, and will be a little different because of COVID-19. People are encouraged to ride their bike at any time during the day, on a general loop of Mountain Ave, from Old Town to the cemetery and back. The ride is open to all to express themselves however they want, with rainbow flags, protest signs, costumes, or just plain noise.
What makes a community’s culture vibrant, rich and representative of its people?
LN: Every community member’s voice and perspective should be heard. and decision-making spaces should be representative of more than just the majority.
As a community, we must actively listen to everyone and seriously consider what everyone brings to the table. Ultimately, it takes effort to have a representative culture, and we have to be willing to upset the status quo and make tough decisions in order to represent everyone in our community, not just the majority.
Why is it important for communities to have a vibrant and diverse culture?
LN: This is something that is best understood when you consider what it would feel like to be invisibilized. For some, this isn’t easy to actually understand because they have never come close to feeling what that is like. For others, the act of invisibilization goes a step further: there are laws, or institutions, that are built against you, built to actively make sure you fail. These barriers hurt a community’s ability to thrive and prosper, and can cause wide swaths of culture and perspectives to be lost.
Everyone should have a place they feel safe and a community they belong to. When culture is homogenized, people with diverse identities are left asking themselves where is my place? What do I do? Where is my community?
What role does collaboration play in creating a vibrant community?
LN: A truly vibrant community isn’t just made because someone decided to do so one day. A vibrant community is something that is built over time, with many different perspectives and life experiences contributing to the whole. In order to be ‘vibrant’ - full of energy and enthusiasm - there has to be room for everyone to contribute. If you are the majority voice, you can help to create a space for others to be heard. Working together, we can make sure everyone is represented in the fabric of our community.