Community Voices: Diane Jones

Demonstrating at Denver’s first Trans Pride March on Aug. 9, 2020. Photo Courtesy of Diane Jones.

Transitioned
by Diane Jones

There is a pounding at the front door. My spouse opens the door just a crack, and asks, “May I help you?”

The stranger at the door replies in a stern voice, “Is this the home of (insert dead name here)?” My spouse replies, “I don’t know you, and it’s none of your business.” The stranger then continues, “Well, we know what’s going on here, and you need to get the hell out of the neighborhood!” The stranger storms off and speeds away in his car.

At the next table in a restaurant, two young men are dining. As I go to pick up our order, one says to the other, “That makes me sick. Look at that, who does he think he’s fooling? We should kick the s**t out of him when he leaves!”

This is what it is like to be a transgender woman in Fort Collins, Colorado. Don’t get me wrong, I love our town, and have lived here most of my life. But I never realized just how many prejudices there are in our town, until I became part of an underrepresented group myself.

Now I know a lot of you may jump on me about this and say, “But you are white, aren’t you? How can you possibly understand prejudice in our town?” Yes, that is true, I cannot know what it is like to be a person of color. However I do understand what it is like to suddenly stand out in a crowd, and be ostracized for who I am. 

You see, when you are trans, there is nowhere to hide. Not that I want to hide, I am out and proud, but a large part of the status quo does not agree with it or understand it. I get pointed at, stared at, laughed at, whispered about, or just plain ignored. I hear comments like, “You see her over there? That’s a dude!” or simply a head shaking “Damn!”

Misgendering hurts me the most, although it seldom happens anymore. I try to not let these things bother me, and after a while I wear it like a badge of honor. Bigotry is not my fault, it is the fault of the person who possesses it. They are the ones with the problem, and I can hold my head high, be the better person, and be proud that I have the courage to be my true self.

It isn’t all bad, though. Our town is more than the discrimination and bigotry I mentioned before; it is also a town full of love and acceptance. I was able to come out on the job to an amazing majority of acceptance. I have met new and wonderful friends that have accepted me with open arms. There hasn’t been any violence towards me, and I generally feel safe anywhere I go. This town has a great LGBTQ+ community and is very supportive of one another. The Pride marches are filled with mostly acceptance and support, and I see people openly expressing their identities wherever I go. 

We must all aspire to let go of our prejudices and try to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. I do have the unique insight of going from a privileged white male to a discriminated-against transgender woman, which has opened my eyes to the hatred some people possess. If only everyone could experience life from both sides like I have, perhaps they would love and accept one another more. I know I sure do.

I guess you could say I have transitioned.

Diane Jones

Diane Jones (she/her/hers) is a middle-aged transgender woman who has lived in Fort Collins for nearly 40 years. She transitioned in 2019 and has been living happily as her true self ever since.


Read other Community Voices and write your own: See guidelines at DiverseFortCollins.com/community-voices


Diverse Fort Collins is a volunteer-driven community project advocating for antiracism and racial equity. We connect people with resources and each other.

Let’s co-create an inclusive community!

Be among the first to read news and event announcements. Type your email in the Follow box at DiverseFortCollins.com

Tell Your Story. Help Track Hate.

Diverse Fort Collins condemns all anti-Asian American violence and harassment.

Article: “Biden, Harris extend support to Asian Americans in wake of Atlanta shootings”

  • “Silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit,” [President Biden] said. “We have to speak out. We have to act.”

Want to help? Visit DFC’s Resources page for links to organizations providing information and training, including the following:


Join us at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 28 via Zoom to discuss SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

We offer a welcoming and compassionate space to focus on Chapters 12-17 and Discussion Questions 5-7 on page 255 in Zoom breakout rooms.

This is our third and final discussion on Ijeoma Oluo’s book. Details and registration: DivereseFortCollins.com/events

Description from Old Firehouse Books website:

In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America

Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy — from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans — has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair — and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend?

We look forward to seeing you this Sunday!

Watch for an announcement coming soon on our Discussion Series podcast, novel, and film selections.


Diverse Fort Collins is a volunteer-driven community project advocating for antiracism and racial equity. We connect people with resources and each other.

Let’s co-create an inclusive community!

Be among the first to read news and event announcements. Type your email in the Follow box at DiverseFortCollins.com

Community Voices: Karen Wong-Brown

Karen Wong-Brown at two years old, and her mother, Ling Ling Zee, just before they left Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of Karen Wong-Brown.

The Evolution of An Immigrant’s Dream” by Karen Wong-Brown

Almost three decades ago, a naïve 19-year-old came to Colorado State University in Fort Collins as a first-generation college student. Being “first-generation” means neither parent went to college. My mother, Ling Ling Zee, brought me to America for a better education. This was my first time away from home and I carried my mother’s dream of her daughter earning a degree.

Before coming to college, I had always been an average student. Moving all over the United States made keeping up with school more of a challenge. Then my first year of college, I was diagnosed with a learning disability which became one of my greatest obstacles. Due to my pride and ignorance, I dismissed this obstacle because I did not want to give myself that label among others. With assistance from a scholarship and my mentors, I managed to graduate with passing grades.

My cultural identity has always been problematic because I separate my identity into two: Chinese and American. I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Japan when I was two years old. By the age of six, I learned to assimilate and acculturate to America while keeping my Chinese values especially in the home, Chinese community, and workforce. For example, in my household, I followed the Chinese values such as girls are seen and not heard. The Chinese community never accepted me because I spoke Cantonese better than the dominant dialect Mandarin. Finally, in the workforce, I was seen as an outsider by my appearance or my accent. In Fort Collins, I was fired a couple of times because of my accent. As for my appearance, several people accused me of getting the job to fit the quota system. I know that is discriminatory but it happens.

After graduation, I learned to advocate for others in the workplace and the community, and that is where my Americanness comes in. I knew that voice is a powerful tool. Through my personal journey, I learned to have a voice for myself because of my experiences being undervalued in many ways. It was a tiring effort for a while because I felt like I was the only one who was an immigrant, a person of color, Asian American and the list goes on. I also learned to be an advocate for others and I am proud to represent myself in many ways such as taking on leadership roles and being an entrepreneur of a small business. 

Through my efforts to grow, I also found out that my life has many layers and intersectionalities which make me unique. I am proud to say that I have blended both cultures.  Now I am no longer afraid to stand out because I want to make a difference in the Fort Collins community as well as the world. I am ready to embark on any challenges that come my way. My message to the community is that every individual is unique – embrace differences and learn from one another through stories and open hearts. Our life is too short, so be your authentic self.    

With the attainment of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, I have fulfilled my mother’s wish and continue to exceed my own expectations like going for my doctorate soon. I learned that I can do anything through tenacity and perseverance. No matter where I live, either in Fort Collins or in a big city, I will be a leader with my voice and presence.

Karen Wong-Brown is a proud first-generation Chinese American woman. She is the founder of Unified Workforce, which helps individuals from all demographics find employment while assisting employers in increasing retention. She also serves in many capacities in Northern Colorado, being compassionate to diverse issues and learning from others.

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

DIVERSE FORT COLLINS BOOK GROUP

Join Diverse FoCo at 2 p.m. TOMORROW (Sunday, February 28) to discuss Chapters 6-11 of So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.

Free and pay-what-you-can tickets are available.
Details and Registration: DiverseFortCollins.com/events
REGISTRATION CLOSES AT NOON on Sunday.


WRITE A COMMUNITY VOICES GUEST COMMENTARY

DFC seeks to elevate diverse voices. We welcome Community Voices essays from anyone who lives, works, and plays in Fort Collins. Tell your story in 600 words. See submission guidelines at DiverseFortCollins.com/about


Diverse Fort Collins is a volunteer-driven community project advocating for antiracism and racial equity. We connect people with resources and each other.

Let’s co-create an inclusive community!

Be among the first to read news and event announcements. Type your email in the Follow box at DiverseFortCollins.com

Join us this Sunday Feb 28 to discuss SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE (Chapters 6-11)

DFC book group facilitators look forward to seeing you this Sunday, February 28 at 2 p.m.

We can’t wait for you to join us via Zoom this Sunday at 2 p.m. for a discussion of So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, Chapters 6-11.

Come learn and make new friends in a welcoming, friendly, and compassionate space. We’ll divide into breakout rooms and focus on Discussion Questions 3 and 4 at the back of the book (on pages 254-255).

FREE and Pay-What-You-Can tickets available. Register here via EventBrite. Please note DFC is not a nonprofit organization and therefore cash gifts are not tax-deductible but greatly appreciated.

Buy the paperback from Old Firehouse Books. Receive a 20% discount when you mention Diverse Fort Collins book group. Mention the discount in the notes when ordering online.

Download the free Reading Guide and Discussion Questions. These are also included at the end of the book.

Question 3: The author states that she grew up in a major white, liberal area and was raised by a white mother. How might that upbringing have influenced the way she wrote this book? How might it have influenced the personal events she describes in the book? How might this book have been different if written by a black person with a different upbringing, or if written by a person of color of a different race?

Questions 4: Throughout the book, the author makes it clear that this book was written for both white people and people of color. But does the author expect white people and people of color to read and experience this book in the same way? What are some of the ways in which the author indicates how she expects white people and people of color to react to and interact with portions of the book? What are some of the ways in which the author discusses the different roles that white people and people of color will play in fighting systemic racism in our society?


News from the Diverse Fort Collins

Advisory Committee to Announce Upcoming Events
The DFC Advisory Committee meets monthly and will decide on upcoming Discussion Series selections at its March 10 meeting. Our book group facilitators will also weigh in.

Exciting news: We’re expanding our discussions this year to include podcasts and movies! We’ll share more information soon on a podcast in May, a novel in July, and a film in October.

Get Involved!
Check out our Vote! page for information and news on the upcoming city election.

Suggest a local businesses and nonprofits to add to our BIPOC-Owned Businesses and Local Resources pages.

Write a Community Voices guest commentary. Read guidelines on the About page.


NEWS FROM AROUND FORT COLLINS

Musicians Celebrate Fort Collins Diversity in New Video
Cary Morin and Ghost Dog’s new song “Trust” produced by Maple Street Music in Fort Collins video celebrates the natural landscapes and diverse residents of Fort Collins.

The next time someone says “Fort Collins has no diversity,” show them this video to help raise awareness of the diversity that exists in our community and in our schools. See more information from the city on this topic at fcgov.com/equity.

City to Hire Chief Equity Officer
The City of Fort Collins recently held employee and community Listening Sessions to inform the hiring of the city’s first Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer and creation of an Equity Office. Read more in the The Collegian article.

Podcast: On The One, “Identity, Community and Passing It On with Jamal Skinner”


Consider this…

“Why BIPOC is an inadequate acronym” by Kearie Daniel

“I just can’t understand why grouping such distinct identities together is necessary—or how it could be beneficial to any of the identities in question. It turns out I’m not alone.” Read more.

“Google is free. On the importance of white allies doing their own work” by author and professor Leah Johnson

Excerpt: “…There was a room full of other people just as capable as me of speaking up and speaking out. And they also chose to be silent.

“I’m not going to feel guilty anymore for not always answering to the undue burden of responsibility that has been placed on my shoulders, and the shoulders of my sisters, to educate white folks. Instead I’m going to challenge y’all, particularly white women, to do your own work. And I don’t mean just in the classroom, though that’s where I experience it most often. I mean everywhere: in your activism, in this movement. I’m asking you to do the research on what has been my lived experience for the past 22 years. I’m asking you to stand up, in your positions of privilege, in the spaces with other folks who look like you and Do. The. Work.” Read more.


Diverse Fort Collins is a volunteer-driven community project advocating for antiracism and racial equity. We connect people with resources and each other. Let’s co-create an inclusive community!

Be among the first to read news event announcements. Type your email in the Follow box at DiverseFortCollins.com and watch for the confirmation email to complete the process.

Community Voices: Bridgett Neff-Hickman

Photo by Leonhard Schönstein on Unsplash

“The Colors of Our Rainbow” by Bridgett Neff-Hickman

Walking through Old Town, I’m struck by the beauty of Fort Collins during winter.

Captivated by the romance of the twinkling lights, my wife slides over for a kiss, and a split second of panic engulfs me. I look around quickly, self-conscious of who might be watching. I linger shorter than I would like as I kiss her back, briefly wondering if I’m being overly cautious, or if straight people feel the same apprehension.  

Fort Collins is a progressive, accepting community, I’m told. I drive down Mountain Avenue, the street where I live, and pass by signs that say, “Hate has no home here,” sandwiched by pride flags in every other window. Each time I pass the homes of my allies, the memory of hearing “fag” yelled from a car window pains me. 

People are always stunned when I tell my experiences of being routinely assaulted by homophobic comments, thrown drinks, and judgmental eyes as I exist a queer woman. “In Fort Collins?!” they exclaim. It almost shocks me that they’re shocked. Almost.

This is my reality as a white, cisgender, college-educated queer woman living in Fort Collins.

While pieces of my identity have been victimized, I am more so confronted with the dominance of my privileged racial and gender identities within the community. I have not been the victim of homophobia that intersects with my race, ethnicity, ability status, or gender identity. And while the hurt and fear of homophobia confronts me often, it is nowhere near the confrontation experienced by queer individuals in our community that also claim other marginalized identities.

In a political and cultural environment where silence increasingly speaks louder than words, I call on our community to reject complacency with the battles of other marginalized identities, and to recognize that the oppression of the LGBTQ+ community is inextricably bound to the oppression of other communities. Our first step is standing in solidarity with the Fort Collins BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community.

White queers: we must do better at protecting our black and brown neighbors. Let us not forget that it was trans women of color that propelled our cause at Stonewall. Let us not whitewash the queer movement to be colorful when we often leave black and brown out of our rainbows. And let us not feed into the siloing of LGBTQ+ issues as the issues of one community, when the experiences of so many of us are specifically dictated by the color of our queerness. It is impossible to accurately address the challenges we face without recognizing how racism impacts the queer community. Challenging the racist elements of homophobia—and prioritizing the specific plights of LGBTQ+ people of color—is the only way liberation comes to us all. Because if we leave any color of our rainbow behind, we only further encourage the pain and violence that so many of us are trying ourselves to escape.

The queer community in Fort Collins is small, but strong. We have shown the power we wield when we have organized in the face of LGBTQ+ issues—now it is time for us to do the same for our BIPOC community.

Bridgett Neff-Hickman is a master’s degree student at Colorado State University (CSU) studying political science. She graduated from CSU in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in international studies and political science. Her research has focused on critical theory, postcolonialism, and decolonizing the Middle East. She co-hosts Disrupt, a critical revolutionary podcast focusing on non-western theories of international relations.

Rainbow Love Is Love sign
Love Is Love rainbow sign on white brick building. Photo by Yoav Hornung on Unsplash

Diverse Fort Collins is a volunteer-driven community project advocating for antiracism and racial equity. We connect people with resources and each other.

Let’s co-create an inclusive community!

Be among the first to read news and event announcements. Type your email in the Follow box at DiverseFortCollins.com

Mention the Diverse Fort Collins book group at Old Firehouse Books for 20% off the paperback of So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, and join us on Feb. 28 for a discussion of Chapters 6-11 and discussion questions 3-4. Details and registration: DiverseFortCollins/events

Black History Month Events, Plus Listening Sessions on City’s New Equity and Inclusion Office

Photo “Toast To Us” by Neo Latrica compliments of CreateHERstock.com
in celebration of Black History Month and national love month.

Good afternoon, Diverse FoCo friends!

We have lots of exciting news to share about upcoming events this week and next.


Black History Month at CSU features national speaker on race and disability

Colorado State University’s Black/African American Cultural Center and campus partners are hosting a variety of events in February for Black History Month, including a Feb. 17 keynote presentation on race and disability from a nationally recognized speaker. Read more.

Photo by Glodi Miessi on Unsplash

The month-long festivities include more than a dozen events and activities designed to educate, enlighten and celebrate Black culture at CSU. More information and Zoom access on all events is available at baacc.colostate.edu.

Want to Explore the Places in the Black History of Fort Collins? Try this virtual tour of sites that tell the story of Black/African American residents.

From our friends at the Cultural Enrichment Center of Fort Collins, see a list of lectures this month on the Facebook page and Facebook event.


City to Host Listening Sessions to Inform New Equity & Inclusion Office

The City of Fort Collins will host two online listening sessions to help inform the creation of a new Equity & Inclusion Office, Feb. 10 and 16 in Spanish and Feb. 12 in English.

This office will be housed in the City Manager’s Office and the leader will be a member of the City’s executive team, in order to provide a consistent approach to diversity, equity and inclusion across all City operations and community initiatives. Read more.


Poet Amanda Gorman to Recite Poem at Superbowl LV Today

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, one of the highlights of the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Vice President Kamala Devi Harris, will recite a poem at today’s Super Bowl.

From National Public Radio: Gorman, the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate, dazzled viewers with her recitation of her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration this month, and the video of her performance has gone viral. She will be reciting at the Super Bowl pre-show on Feb. 7, before the Kansas City Chiefs play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Read more.

Pre-order Amanda Gorman’s books from Old Firehouse Books.


UPCOMING DIVERSE FOCO EVENTS

Thanks again to the 40 community members who attended our January 24 discussion of So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo!

Based on post-event survey responses, which were overwhelmingly positive about the honest conversations we had in small breakout rooms, we will focus upcoming conversations on Fort Collins-area issues as they relate to the book’s content.

While it’s interesting to hear the perspectives of new friends in other states and countries, Diverse Fort Collins exists to serve local residents in Fort Collins and surrounding communities.

We hope to see you at the second meeting in this series on February 28 when our conversation will focus on Chapters 6-11 and Discussion Questions 3-4.

FREE and Pay-What-You-Can tickets available. Register here via EventBrite. Free tickets will sell out so be sure to register TODAY!

Buy the paperback from Old Firehouse Books and receive a 20% discount when you mention Diverse Fort Collins book group. Include a note when ordering online.

Download the free Reading Guide and Discussion Questions or find them at the end of the book.

Chapter Six: Is police brutality really about race?
Chapter Seven: How can I talk about affirmative action?
Chapter Eight: What is the school-to-prison pipeline?
Chapter Nine: Why can’t I say the “N” word?
Chapter Ten: What is cultural appropriation?
Chapter Eleven: Why can’t I touch your hair?


MORE NEWS FROM FORT COLLINS

“After decades without standalone Fort Collins comedy club, The Comedy Fort opening nears”

By Erin Udell/The Coloradoan

The stage is set — and the tables appropriately spaced — for the debut of Fort Collins’ first standalone comedy club in 30 years.

The Comedy Fort is set to open Feb. 12, taking over former Old Town music venue Hodi’s Half Note and fulfilling a yearslong dream for local comedian and comedy show producer David Rodriguez. Read more.


Local Resources Added to DFC Website

We add new links to our Resources page often:

Check out Red Cloud Renewable, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that is managed by, and primarly staffed by Native Americans from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Their goals is to help Native Americans and their communities return to sustainability through renewable energy training and projects, alternative building approaches and educating their people about how to grow and preserve nutritious and traditional Lakota foods.

Check out the Online Restaurant Academy based in Fort Collins, offering “a FREE online mini course designed to level up your restaurant business through proven planning and processing tools. It’s time to work smarter, not harder and enjoy that #restaurantlife you’ve always dreamed of.”

Resources for local businesses include For Fort Collins and NoCo Recovers.

See more on our Local Resources page.

Know of a local resource we should add to our A to Z list? Email DiverseFoCo@gmail.com with “Resources” in the subject line.


Diverse Fort Collins is a volunteer-driven community project advocating for antiracism and racial equity. We connect people with resources and each other.

Be among the first to read news and event announcements. Type your email in the Follow box at http://www.DiverseFortCollins.com

Fort Collins Documentary “2020 Hispanic Community Voices: Impact of COVID-19” Premieres Tomorrow

From The Coloradoan, Jan. 28, 2021:

“Documentary shines light on COVID-19 in Fort Collins’ Hispanic community”
by Erin Udell

“A homegrown documentary showcasing the impacts of COVID-19 on Larimer County’s Hispanic community will premiere Sunday.

“2020 Hispanic Community Voices: The Impact of Covid-19” will be unveiled during a special Zoom premiere from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday [Jan. 31]. The film is presented by several community organizations, including Mujeres de Colores and the Interfaith Solidarity and Accompaniment Coalition (ISAAC) Fund.

Read more for details, registration, and watch the trailer.

Or read the Facebook event post for details and registration.


UPCOMING DIVERSE FOCO EVENTS

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dfcbookgroupjan24-2021.png
Forty community members and new friends from Canada and the United Kingdom joined Diverse FoCo’s January 24 discussion of Ijeoma Oluo’s best-selling book. Many stayed for this group photo.

Thank you to the 40 community members who attended our January 24 discussion of So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo!

We gathered in four Zoom breakout rooms to chat about Chapters 1-5 and Discussion Questions 1 and 2.

An affinity breakout room is available for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) at each at the three book group meetings.

We hope you will join us for the second meeting in this series on February 28 when our conversation will focus on Chapters 6-11 and Discussion Questions 3-4.

Attendance is open to anyone who has completed the assigned reading.

FREE and Pay-What-You-Can tickets available. Register here via EventBrite. Free tickets will sell out. Be sure to register TODAY.

Buy the paperback from Old Firehouse Books and receive a 20% discount when you mention Diverse Fort Collins Book Group. Include a note when ordering online.

Download the free Reading Guide and Discussion Questions or find them at the end of the book.

Chapter Six: Is police brutality really about race?
Chapter Seven: How can I talk about affirmative action?
Chapter Eight: What is the school-to-prison pipeline?
Chapter Nine: Why can’t I say the “N” word?
Chapter Ten: What is cultural appropriation?
Chapter Eleven: Why can’t I touch your hair?

Stay tuned for information on future events on discussions of podcasts, novels, and movies.



Diverse Fort Collins is a volunteer-driven community project advocating for antiracism and racial equity. We connect people with resources and each other.

Let’s co-create an inclusive community!

Be among the first to read news and event announcements. Type your email in the Follow box at DiverseFortCollins.com and watch for the confirmation to complete the process.

Contact us at DiverseFoCo@gmail.com

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Events

From the City of Fort Collins: As part of the community-wide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration, the City of Fort Collins is collaborating with Colorado State University’s Black/African American Cultural Center (BAACC), CSU Police Department, Poudre School District, Poudre River Public Library District, and New Eyes Village, among other organizations, to put together a series of activities to commemorate the day and honor the legacy of Dr. King.

Activities include the mayor’s proclamation, City of Fort Collins – Local Black/African American History Website & Virtual Tour, and a candlelight vigil. Read more here.

A full list of activities is published at www.mlkfortcollins.org


UPCOMING DIVERSE FOCO EVENTS

DFC Book Group To Discuss Chapters 1-5 of Ijeoma Oluo’s Book on January 24

More than 50 people have registered for our January 24 book group discussion and we’ve added more free tickets!

You still have plenty of time to read Chapters 1-5 of the best-selling book So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, and join us on Sunday, January 24 at 2 p.m. for small group conversations on the following:

Chapter One: Is it really about race?
Chapter Two: What is racism?
Chapter Three: What if I talk about race wrong?
Chapter Four: Why am I always being told to “check my privilege”?
Chapter Five: What is intersectionality and why do I need it?

We will split into facilitated Zoom breakout rooms of about 10 people each. Come with your questions, and we’ll tackle them together in a compassionate and friendly space.

January 24: Chapters 1-5
February 28: Chapters 6-11
March 28: Chapters 12-17

Facilitators Beth, David, Karen, Katherine, Kimberly, Mara, Mia, Ricardo, Teresa, and Victoria look forward to seeing you!

Free and pay-what-you-can tickets are available. Details and registration: DiverseFortCollins.com/events


NEWS FROM AROUND THE U.S.

Leading Civil Rights and Racial Justice Organizations Denounce Domestic Terrorism at U.S. Capitol

“The vigilantism and attacks in Washington, DC yesterday are nothing short of treason. They are part and parcel of the arc of violence enshrined in the modus operandi of white supremacy and white nationalism….”

Read more here.


Police Chief Jeff Swoboda Shares Video Message with Fort Collins Community in Response to January 6 Siege on U.S. Capitol

Watch the video here.

Read the Chief’s message that accompanies the video:

“Chief Swoboda here –

“Following the despicable crimes that occurred in our nation’s capitol last week, Fort Collins community members have shared fears and concerns about the implications for their own safety. This has been an area of concern particularly among our black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) residents.

“Please know that your FCPS officers and staff will continue to support and serve you during times of unrest and uncertainty. If you call us for help, you can expect a compassionate professional to show up because that’s the kind of people we have. We genuinely care about your safety.

“We also have amazing residents who consistently meet the moment and support others in times of need. People in our local community are experiencing fear and a range of difficult emotions, and finding small ways to express support can make a big difference.

“To anyone who’s struggling right now, please know that your local officers remain vigilant and focused on protecting you. You’re our neighbors, you’re the reason we serve, and we’re here for you no matter what.”


African American Children’s Book Fair Planned For February

The African American Children’s Book Fair will be held virtually on Saturday, February 6, 2021!

The African American Children’s Book Project is planning the event, which is one of the oldest and largest single-day events for children’s book in the country. Read more here.


NEWS FROM AROUND THE STATE

Cheyenne, Arapaho Tribes Say Renaming Mount Evans Would Help Educate, Heal

An article by Corinne Westeman in the Canyon Courier begins, “Now is the perfect time to educate the youth of both Colorado and the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes about the state’s history, particularly the Sand Creek Massacre, so that everyone can start the healing process, tribal representatives recently told the Clear Creek commissioners.

“In November, the Oklahoma-based Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes filed a federal petition to rename Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky, a name significant to both tribes…” Read more here.


Diverse Fort Collins is a volunteer-driven community projects advocating for antiracism and racial equity. We connect people with resources and each other.

Let’s co-create an inclusive community!



Be among the first to read news and event announcements. Type your email in the Follow box at DiverseFortCollins.com and watch for the confirmation email to complete the process.

Follow us:

Instagram @DiverseFortCollins
Twitter: @DiverseFoCo
Facebook: facebook.com/DiverseFortCollins

Exciting New Opportunities for Fort Collins Writers and Artists

Featured Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash


Happy holidays and a wonderful new year to you all, Friends!

We’ve curated a few musical performances to help you stay in the holiday spirit. See below. But first, two exciting announcements and opportunities for Fort Collins writers and artists:

New Magazine Announces Call for Pitches in Art, Music, Outdoors, and Issues

Il rivestimento d’argento | The Silver Lining is a new Fort Collins-based magazine
that seeks writers to propose story and art ideas. 

February is Black History Month, and The Silver Lining plans to showcase Black voices sharing Black stories, art, music, and issues in our community that we can improve on, organizations making change, and Black local residents in the outdoors. These are paid pieces, and the magazine seeks ongoing contributors.

Read details here: https://argentostudios.com/the-story/

For the February edition, 30% of sales after print cost of the limited print and digital magazine purchases will be donated to the nonprofit Cultural Enrichment Center.


2018 Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest

Pianos About Town Seeks Diverse, Emerging Artists

Pianos About Town, an interactive public art program in Fort Collins, seeks artists or artist teams to paint or artistically decorate pianos in 2021.

The program is looking for diversity in artwork styles and concepts, with a preference for emerging artists and new and exciting ideas. Selected artists will receive an honorarium of $1,000. To apply, artists submit a letter of intent and concept rendering. The application deadline is February 1. Learn more and apply here: fcgov.com/pianoscall.  Los materiales están disponibles en español.

The program is holding a virtual workshop to provide resources for potential applicants on Tuesday, January 5, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. MT. The workshop will include a presentation about the application and review process, and program staff will be available to answer questions after the presentation. Registration is not required. Click here to join the Zoom workshop

Feel free to share this announcement with your networks: Facebook post, Facebook event for the virtual workshop, Instagram post.


Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Tunes to soothe your soul

NoCo’s own Jingle Carolers and Lyric Quartet delight and entertain. Watch for Diverse FoCo Action Committee Co-Chair Victoria Baumgart! Video: “Jingle Carolers COVID Christmas”


This talented young woman, Emma Stevens, will inspire and bring peace to your heart: “Blackbird” by The Beatles performed in Mi’kmaq. Watch the video.


Ready for a laugh? You’ll love this: Video: “12 Days of Christmas”by Warscout


New Songs Released by Fort Collins Resident

“It’s time to tear down the walls of fear and hate. United we stand, divided we fall.” – Phil Donaldson

Listen to the Build A Wall lyric video by Fort Collins musician and business owner Phil Donaldson, as well as his just-released rendition of “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing.”


NEWS


Documentary on COVID-19 Impact on FoCo Hispanic Community Premieres in January

Community activist Betty Aragon-Mitotes and director Shari Due have once again collaborated to bring us a documentary, this time about the impacts of the pandemic in Fort Collins: “Hispanic Community Voices: COVID-19.”

Read the Coloradoan article about the documentary and the Posadas by Mujeres de Colores, founded by Aragon-Mitotes.


Virtual Farmers Market Increases Food Access

NoCo Virtual Farmers Market (NoCoVFM) founder Alexa Vasquez is featured in the article “Reimagining the Farmers Market” in the Winter 2020 issue of Edible Denver Boulder Ft Collins.

Congratulations to Alexa on her success, and thank you for helping make farmers markets more accessible to community members.

Visit NoCoVirtualFarmersMarket.com to browse and order.


Receive a 20% discount on So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo when you mention DFC Book Group

Join us for a lively discussion of the New York Times best-selling book on January 24 via Zoom! We’ll focus on Chapters 1 through 5.

Remember to mention the Diverse Fort Collins book group to receive a 20% discount off the paperback at Old Firehouse Books.

Prepare for a lively discussion by reviewing the questions in the free Reading Guide. Facilitators will create inclusive and friendly small-group conversations via Zoom breakout rooms. This is the first of three monthly meetings. Attend one or all.

Free and pay-what-you-can tickets available! Details and event registration: DiverseFortCollins.com/events


Compassion 1, Cancel Culture 0

And last but not least, powerful words from the new president of the Colorado Theater Guild, a champion of antiracism, racial equity, diversity, and inclusion:

Video: “Canceling cancel culture with compassion” by Betty Hart/TedXCherryCreekWomen


Take care, and we hope you enjoy the rest of the holiday season. May the new year bring you health, happiness, and prosperity.

Your friends at Diverse Fort Collins

Diverse Fort Collins is a volunteer-driven community project advocating for antiracism and racial equity. We connect people with resources and each other.

Be among the first to read news and event announcements. Type your email in the Follow box at DiverseFortCollins.com.

Tidings of Comfort and Joy from Diverse Fort Collins

Photo “Winter Gift Wrap #68” by CreateHER Stock


Season’s greetings, Diverse FoCo friends!

What an unprecedented year 2020 has been. Global pandemic; the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many other unarmed Black people that inspired world-wide protests; the largest wildfires in Colorado recorded history, the most important presidential election of our lifetime…it all makes you want to hibernate for a year or two, doesn’t it?

Despite the challenges, so many community members made time to join us for various online events to increase their awareness and advance their racial justice education. We are grateful.

From book discussionsWhite Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, There There by Tommy Orange, The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein — to the workshop “A Space to Process and Breathe for Black Folx” featuring Zhalisa Clarke of Luna Vibrations and coordinated by volunteer Mia Donley…

…from the panel discussion featuring live music, “Talking It Out: Being Black in America” and the webinar “COVID-19 Impacts on the Larimer County Justice System” featuring Judge Juan G. Villasenor — you were willing to be vulnerable, to listen, to ask questions, and to learn.

Co-Chairs Victoria Baumgart and Amanda Mansfield launched the DFC Action Committee, and volunteers created four subcommittees focusing on Environmental Justice, LGBTQ+ Safe Spaces, Policy & Legislation, and Voting.

What other events would you like to see in 2021? Email your ideas to DiverseFoCo@gmail.com. Stay tuned as the DFC Advisory Committee kicks off in January and decides on programming for the year.

We hope you’ll consider Diverse Fort Collins this holiday season so that we can continue providing lively programming that responds to the needs of our community. It’s easy to give. See details here.

A big thank you to our wonderful volunteers and community supporters who provided generous gifts. We couldn’t have done all this without you!


Apply Today to Serve on the Larimer County Planning Commission

We need more people of diverse backgrounds applying for boards and commissions.

The Larimer County Planning Commission has a vacancy. Read why here. The commission is responsible for adopting a long-range master plan for the physical development of the unincorporated territory of the county, and reviews and makes recommendations on zoning, rezoning, subdivisions and special reviews.

Read details and download the application here.


Author Teresa Funke spoke about children’s book V de la Victoria at the Dec. 13 Christmas event by G.L.O.B.A.L. Justice.

Children’s Book V de la Victoria Featured at “Christmas in Latin America” Event

Fort Collins author Teresa Funke spoke at the Dec 13 G.L.O.B.A.L. Justice event “Christmas in Latin America” to promote the Spanish edition of her children’s book V For Victory, V de la Victoria, based on a true story in the summer of 1943. Basado en una historia real en el verano de 1943.

Miguel Montoya se siente que lo han dejado a un lado.  Sus hermanos mayore están colaborando con los esfuerzos contra la guerra, pero lo único que a él se le permite hacer es llenar los entrepaños del negocio de la familia, y cuidar a su sobrino pequeño.  Todo cambia cuando él conoce a un veterano herido que necesita su ayuda, y el día en que su familia más lo necesita, es Miguel el que tiene que encontrar la manera para salvar a su sobrino.

Miguel Montoya feels left behind. His older siblings are doing their part for the war effort, but all he’s allowed to do is stock shelves in the family grocery store and watch his little nephew. All of that changes when he meets a wounded veteran who needs his help, and on the day his family needs him most, it is Miguel who must do his part to save his nephe, Victor.

Funke published a Spanish version of her popular book because she realized during author visits and book giveaways at local schools that Spanish-speaking students felt left out. Learn more at TeresaFunke.com


Support Local BIPOC-Owned Businesses

Looking for more holiday gift ideas? Check out the list of local BIPOC-owned businesses at DiverseFortCollins.com/businesses


Fort Collins Police Services Announces Plans for New Community Advisory Group

In October 2020, Fort Collins Police Services (FCPS) began a major strategic planning process to better align agency efforts with the needs of the community.

During this process, leaders identified the benefit of forming an external advisory group to help continuously improve communication, outreach, and service.

This volunteer group will collaborate with the agency to evaluate engagement and service delivery, with an emphasis on Communities of Color, LGBTQIA+ and historically underserved populations.

FCPS will share more information about the community advisory group formation and opportunities to get involved in early 2021. Read more here.


Join Diverse FoCo to Discuss Chapters 1-5 of Ijeoma Oluo’s Best-Selling Book

Mark your calendars and register today for the January 24 book discussion!

We offer and informal and friendly space to focus on the first five chapters of So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.

National Book Review said, “Oluo gives us — both white people and people of color — that language to engage in clear, constructive, and confident dialogue with each other about how to deal with racial prejudices and biases.”

Old Firehouse Books offers a 20% discount off the paperback if you mention the DFC book group.

Free and pay-what-you-can tickets are available. Details and registration: DiverseFortCollins/events


KRFC Radio Highlights Office of Emergency Management Response to COVID-19

This Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. on Faith in Progress, KRFC 88.9 FM Radio Fort Collins:

Rabbi Hillel speaks with Shayle Sabo of the Larimer County Office of Emergency Management about her office’s responses to the Cameron Peak Fire, to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the response to each of those affected the response to the other. 

This is part of a series of Faith in Progress programs focusing on how the Fort Collins and Larimer County communities have responded to the Cameron Peak Fire.

A slightly longer version of this interview will be available as a podcast later this week at www.KRFCFM.org.


Photo by Nappy.co “Beautiful photos of Black and Brown people, for free”

Heal The Healers Now

Healthcare Provider Wellness Program Through Transcendental Meditation

Heal The Healers Now is a new initiative to provide meditation to U.S. healthcare providers battling COVID-19 to reduce anxiety, boost resilience, and heal trauma.

For more information, visit Heal The Healers Now and David Lynch Foundation.


Gitanjali Rao spoke at G.L.O.B.A.L. Justice’s Women Empowering Women event
in March 2019 at Everyday Joe’s Coffeehouse in Fort Collins

Colorado Scientist Named TIME’s first Kid of the Year

Scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao, 15, of Lone Tree, Colorado, has been named TIME’s first Kid of the Year.

It was just a year and a half ago that Rao spoke at a local Fort Collins event “Women Empowering Women: Leadership and Justice Forum” hosted by nonprofit G.L.O.B.A.L. Justice at Everyday Joe’s Coffeehouse.

She recalled not being taking seriously by companies she contacted to request lab space for her experiments; after reading about the Detroit water crisis, she invented a device that detects lead in drinking water. Rao also emphasized the importance of adults investing time in mentoring kids.

Read Angelina Jolie’s interview with Rao here. And check out her latest innovation, Kindly, an app that helps prevent cyberbullying.

I was always someone who wanted to put a smile on someone’s face…And it soon turned into, How can we bring positivity and community to the place we live? And then when I was in second or third grade, I started thinking about how can we use science and technology to create social change.

– Gitanjali Rao

Did You Know About These Other Sources of Local News?

Had your fill of mainstream media? Check out North Forty News/The New Scene Magazine, and The Colorado Sun for additional coverage of local communities.

Read essays about life during COVID-19 by local authors Laura Pritchett, Teresa Funke, Amy Rivers and Shelley Widhalm, among many others such as Aditi Ramaswami, Veena Raigaonkar, and Christi Romero-Roseth.


Check out other recent blog posts here:


We look forward to seeing you in 2021!

Your friends at Diverse Fort Collins
Amanda, Beth, Bridgett, David, Jamie, Karen, Katherine, Kimberly, Mara, Mia, Ricardo, Rita, Teresa, Victoria, Zahra

Diverse Fort Collins is a volunteer-driven community project advocating for antiracism and racial equity. We connect people with resources and each other.

Let’s create an inclusive community!

Be among the first to read news and event announcements. Enter your email in the Follow box at DiverseFortCollins.com

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