“In the days since four Minneapolis Police Department officers killed George Floyd, hundreds of demonstrations have broken out around the country. Race Forward stands in solidarity with the millions who have marched to demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and for those Black lives who have been taken prematurely by police brutality. We join their condemnation of all forms of racist violence, whether state or state-sanctioned or from individuals and groups. We join the call for the arrest and prosecution of all four officers involved in this merciless murder…” Read more
Diverse Fort Collins stands in solidarity with our Black and African American community members.
“Every day I think about race. Actually, racism. For the past 12 years, since my son was born, it’s top of mind on a daily basis. I was born to a white mother and black father long before the prevalence of bi-and multi-racial celebrities and public figures.
“I remember taking road trips with my parents and younger sisters to family gatherings in Arkansas. I remember being pulled over by police and my father harassed for being with a white woman.
“I remember my mother being called a nigger lover. I remember being taunted as a young person or being preyed upon by older men who considered me exotic. It was awful, and even my parents’ love couldn’t shield me from the ugliness of the world…” Read more
DiverseFortCollins.com is a volunteer-driven community project connecting people with resources and each other.
See the Events page for upcoming discussions and stay tuned for more coming soon.
All welcome. Let’s co-create an inclusive community!
(1) Community Voices Guest Commentary by Judge Juan G. Villaseñor
(2) Free Event! (Webinar) “The Impact of COVID-19 on Larimer County’s Justice System” by Judge Villaseñor on August 16. See details below.
Larimer County’s First Latino District Court Judge: Juan G. Villaseñor
Growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico, I never imagined that I’d be the first lawyer in my family or the first Latino district judge in Larimer County. While my grandmother wanted me to be an architect or an engineer, she would’ve been proud that I became a judge!
I immigrated to the United States when I was 15 years old, to the San Francisco Bay Area. It was a natural choice for my family because my grandfather and several of his siblings had settled there in the 1950s. He’s part of San Francisco’s history: he started La Victoria, the first Mexican bakery in the Mission District, the city’s Latino enclave.
Knowing little English when I arrived to California, it was very difficult for me to adjust to my new country. But one of my greatest traits is adaptability. As an immigrant, it’s an essential trait that you must have to learn to navigate a completely different culture, language, and more. So, I felt that the U.S. was my oyster, waiting for me to explore it. And explore I did!
Before moving to Colorado and Fort Collins in 2012, I lived in several states. At this point, I’ve lived in nearly every region of this great country. I can safely say that Colorado is, by far, my favorite state and the one where I’ve lived the longest. I’ve set roots here: my eight-year-old son is a native, my wife works here as do I, and our two other children go to school here. Fort Collins is an easy place to love, with its many outdoor events and easy access to natural spaces and rivers.
Fort Collins also has been very welcoming. I exclusively speak Spanish to my son, who frustratingly responds back in English, and people who hear us are very supportive and impressed.
Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since those days. Like the Latino families who settled here, I hope to continue to be part of Fort Collins’ vibrant Latino culture. But more work needs to be done. Latinos make up approximately 12% of Fort Collins’ population and it’s very important to engage them in our amazing community. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fortcollinscitycolorado
As a district judge, I do my part by creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere in my courtroom for anyone who has a case before me. I’m also engaged in our community, giving presentations at Colorado State University and other places. It’s important that young Latinos see someone like them in a leadership role.
I love Fort Collins and what it offers and I’m extremely proud and humbled to serve as a district court judge. For me, every day is an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and to serve my community. It’s a duty I cherish and take very seriously.
Judge Juan G. Villaseñor is a district judge in the Eighth Judicial District based in Fort Collins. Before his appointment to the bench, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado and as a public board member on the Colorado Medical Board.
Judge Villaseñor is engaged in several law-related community activities, like speaking to undergraduate business-school students at Colorado State University. Read more at the Colorado Judicial Branch website.
FREE EVENT online via Zoom! Join Diverse Fort Collins and Judge Juan G. Villaseñor on Sunday, August 16 at 3 p.m. for a 30-minute presentation on “The Impact of COVID-19 on Larimer County’s Justice System” followed by Q&A. Register at www.DiverseFortCollins.com/events
Diverse Fort Collins is a volunteer-driven community project connecting people with resources and each other.
Let’s co-create an inclusive community! All welcome!
We gathered in small groups of five people to focus on Reading Guide questions for Chapters 9-12. These two breakout sessions allowed participants to hear a variety of opinions and perspectives. Did you attend? Take this 3-minute survey to tell us what you liked and how we can improve future meetings.
Thank you to Rev. Kimberly and American Baptist Church for the use of their Zoom account, and to volunteer facilitators Beth, David, Katherine, Mara, Mia, Ricardo, and Victoria!
We’re hosting an informal chat on June 7 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to continue the conversation and focus on your questions. FREE event.
If you haven’t already received an invitation via Hobnob, please REGISTER here.
BOOK GROUP TO DISCUSS THERE THERE BY TOMMY ORANGE ON JULY 26
Join us July 26 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for our next book group discussion!
The New York Times called it “Powerful. . . . THERE THERE has so much jangling energy and brings so much news from a distinct corner of American life that it’s a revelation.”
From the publisher:“Tommy Orange’s wondrous and shattering novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize.”
Read more about the Diverse Fort Collins Book Group below.
As this website develops, you’ll be able to see lists of community organizations, ethnic businesses (such as restaurants that specialize in the cuisine of other countries) and businesses owned by people of color; a land acknowledgment, a glossary of terms, a list of the wonderful people who are Diverse Fort Collins sponsors, advisers and volunteers (including those who will translate this welcome message into Arabic, French, German, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian and other languages).
You’ll also be able to connect with new friends who want to expand their social circles through discussions and other events.
A little about me: I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. My mom is from the Philippines and my dad (who is Mexican-American from Roswell, New Mexico) grew up in East L.A. I moved to Fort Collins in 2002, and though I was often aware that I was the only person of color in the room, it wasn’t until I attended the 2015 Multicultural Community Retreat and joined my workplace’s equity and inclusion team that I began making new friends of diverse backgrounds, identities, abilities and experiences.
Our community lands on many top 10 lists for reasons we’ve all heard. On the flip side, many of my friends and colleagues who are people of color and I have had not-so-positive experiences. Some have experienced racism, racial profiling and discrimination. Some have been vocal; others silent. Some have moved away and returned; others will never return.
On a happier note, I’m glad to see many businesses displaying signs such as “All Are Welcome Here” (Thank you, Toolbox Creative!) and “Safe Zone: This space respects all aspect of people, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, religion and ability” (Thank you, Happy Lucky’s Teahouse!)
そのような中で、Toolbox Creativeの「All Are Welcome Here」やHappy Lucky’s Teahouseの「Safe Zone」といった、人種、民族、性的指向、性別表現、年齢、宗教、能力に関係なく、人々のあらゆる側面を尊重すると謳ったサインを掲げる多くの企業が存在することを嬉しく思っています。
One opportunity to get involved in Diverse Fort Collins is by joining us for book group discussions.
If you like what Diverse Fort Collins is about, please consider supporting us with your time (volunteer) or money (sponsor)(watch for PayPal and other links coming soon.) We seek volunteers to help with strategic planning, event coordination, writing guest blog posts, etc.
We look forward to seeing you on Sunday, May 17 at 2:00 p.m.!
-We will send Zoom details via email the day of the event.
-If this is your first Zoom meeting, please sign in 10 minutes early.
-This discussion focuses on the book. As a courtesy to other attendees, if you have not completed the reading, please listen and observe.
-Please download the Reading Guide from RobinDiAngelo.com and have pen and paper handy to jot notes for the breakout sessions.
-See specific discussion questions below.
-Welcome & Introduction of Facilitators
-Review of Community Guidelines
-Zoom communication & technology tips
-Breakout Session 1 (Reading Guide Questions for Chapters 9-10)
-Report Back to Main Group
-Breakout Session 2 (Reading Guide Questions for Chapters 11-12)
-Report Back to Main Group
-Next Book Selection and Meeting Date
Questions we will discuss during the meeting, from the Reading Guide by Ozlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo (beacon.org/whitefragility):
(#1) Why are white people more receptive to other white people (rather than people of color) educating them on race? What does this say about the role white people must play in addressing systemic racism in society broadly and specifically in our homes, with our friends and family members, and in our workplaces with our colleagues?
(#4) Now consider the assumptionsunderlying those claims on p. 121. Which ones have you held? Do you still hold some of these? If so, how do they function for you and what would it mean to you to shift them (what do you see yourself as having to “give up”)?
(#3) DiAngelo presents these rules in a language of critique in order to reveal how they function. Of course, the “rules” are rarely explicitly expressed in this way. Consider what you hear white people say that communicates “do not give me feedback under any circumstances” etc.? Go through each of the eleven rules and share how you have heard these rules expressed in practice.
(#5) In your own words, what is problematic about common guidelines for building trust in discussions about racism (e.g. “don’t judge”)? How do these guidelines function? Who are they for? Whose comfort do they protect?
(#1) The author opens this chapter with the story of a woman of color in a multiracial group stating that she did not want to be subjected to white women’s tears. Why were white women asked not to cry in the group?
(#6) White women often assume a shared sisterhood with women of color. What is problematic about this assumption?
(#8) The author writes, “Since many of us have not learned how racism works and our role in it, our tears may come from shock and distress about what we didn’t know or recognize. For people of color, our tears demonstrate our racial insulation and privilege” (pp. 135-36). Discuss this passage and the ways that white emotional distress and shock (tears, defensiveness, anger grief) shape conversations on racism. What do these dynamics reveal about the sociopolitical function of emotions?
(#4) If we accept that racism is always operating, the question becomes not “Isracism taking place?” but rather, “How is racism taking place in this specific context? How does awareness of that change how we think about our lives and our actions?
(#7) Discuss the suggestions for continuing the work of antiracism. Which are the most challenging? How can you meet those challenges?
Join Us on May 17 to Discuss Chapters 9-12 of WHITE FRAGILITY!
We will meet virtually via Zoom and break out into small groups to discuss Chapters 9-12.
There are two ways to register:
(1) If you attended one or both of our previous WHITE FRAGILITY discussions, we have your email address on file and sent you an email or text invitation via HobNob.
If you responded to the original HobNob invitation, no further action is needed unless your plans have changed. Please update your response if necessary. You’ll receive Zoom details via a Hobnob update.
(2) If you responded to the original Facebook event, please update it to “Going” if you plan to join us, or to “Interested” if your plans have changed and you can no longer attend. Stay tuned for further registration details.
The book is still available from Old Fireside Books for 20% off if you mention the Diverse Fort Collins book group. Curbside pick up or delivery is available.
Questions? Email DiverseFoCo@gmail.com
We hope to see you on Sunday, May 17 from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. – E.M. Forster
April 18, 2020 Update – Diverse Fort Collins
How are you? We hope you and your loved ones are healthy and well.
Random Acts of Kindness
Here’s a story to lift your spirits. A DFC friend reported random acts of kindness at a local store last weekend.
She had one item to buy but forgot her wallet. A cashier and a customer offered to pay for her item. Touched, she thanked them both. The cashier used his own credit card for the purchase, and she walked out the door with her faith in humanity strengthened. #FoCo proud
Would you like to share random acts of kindness you’ve experienced or witnessed? Email details to DiverseFoCo@gmail.com
Also, did you notice? People are more likely to wave and smile when you walk around your neighborhood. More so than before we added COVID-19 and coronavirus to our vocabularies.
Facebook Groups Revived!
We’re all looking for ways to connect, especially now. To that end, we’ve reactivated Diverse Fort Collins groups on Facebook!
One is a public group “Diverse Fort Collins Events” everyone is welcome to join, and the other is a private group “Diverse Fort Collins Advisors” for volunteers and advisory committee members.
Join the conversation!
Email DiverseFoCo@gmail.com if you’d like to be invited to the advisory committee group.
WHITE FRAGILITY Book Discussion Facilitators to Try Zoom
Thank you again to the 45-plus attendees of the January and February book group discussions on Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism.
The March discussion was postponed until May 17 due to direction from local, state, and federal guidelines on physical (“social”) distancing. Gov. Jared Polis extended the Stay-At-Home order to April 26. We’re not sure how soon life will return to normal. With the idea that we may need to change the event to online-only, Diverse Fort Collins volunteer facilitators will meet via Zoom later this month to test the platform.
Would you like to meet via Zoom for the third and final discussion of White Fragility? Or would you rather wait until we can meet in person, even if that means we won’t be able to gather until sometime in the summer?
Respond in the Comments section below, on our Facebook page, or in the Facebook groups. Or email DiverseFoCo@gmail.com.
DFC Executive Director Joins New Editorial Board
Executive Director Katherine Valdez recently accepted an invitation to join the newly-formed Scene MagazineandNorth Forty News editoral board and attended its first meeting on March 25 via conference call.
Publisher Blaine Howerton is forming the editorial board to offer guidance and insights on news coverage following his January “Boy Power!” Scene Magazine letter from the publisher. He wrote, “…Is it just me, or have we so bent over backwards to provide girls and women with opportunities, often denied them in the past, that we seem not to be concerned about providing good role models for boys….”
The letter drew many comments and criticism. He responded in the February issue with a letter from the publisher titled “Reflecting.” Here are excepts:
“I have unintentionally disrespected so many. I own that. I am truly sorry. As a white man in his mid-40s, I hold privilege. And, I haven’t done the work needed to even understand what that means. This situation has revealed to me – and so many of you – that I have a lot of learning and work to do. Implicit and unconscious bias, gender equity, prejudice, sexism, to name a few. I am committed to doing the work.
“Fort Collins is a special place. It’s a community that prides itself on openness and inclusiveness. These factors were prime in my family’s decision to call this community home. The magazine’s goal is to support and nurture that community. We will strive to do that at every turn.”
Diverse Fort Collins applauds the publisher’s decision to form an editorial board to provide input and guidance. It’s a step toward acknowledging the publications could benefit from insights by diverse community members, and the need for equity, diversity and inclusion training for staff.
Have insights and suggestions to share on these publications? Email DiverseFoCo@gmail.com
Home Alone in the Age of Coronavirus
You don’t have to experience the COVID-19 pandemic alone. There are many ways to connect with family and friends: FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. You can even watch movies “together” with friends!
Also, as you may have heard, home isn’t a safe place for some children and adults.
The Stay-At-Home orders does not mean victims of domestic violence cannot seek emergency shelter or other support services. At Crossroads Safehouse, clients are the priority.
As a trauma-informed and victim-centered social service agency, Crossroads Safehouse will continue serving clients as it navigates the current coronavirus/COVID-19 public health crisis.
Resources and Assistance
Check out the new links we’ve added on our Businesses and Resources pages for ways to support local Fort Collins artists, businesses, and others during the pandemic, and for updates on COVID-19.
DFC Executive Director Katherine Valdez wasn’t surprised to hear the upcoming Colorado Capital Conference in Washington, D.C. has been postponed to June 23-25, 2021.
It’s the best decision to keep everyone healthy and safe.
As the date approaches, we’ll ask for questions you’d like Katherine to pose to our congressional leaders as a representative of DFC and a member of Colorado State University President Joyce McConnell’s delegation.
How to Avoid Zoom Bombing
By now, due to Stay-at-Home orders, most people are familiar with the popular web conferencing platform, Zoom.
A DFC friend reported an upsetting Zoom bombing last week involving racial slurs. The facilitator ejected the intruder quickly, but it was an unsettling way to begin a meeting. The FBI, USA Today, and Forbes published tips on preventing this. Feel free to share these with facilitators in advance of any Zoom meetings.
Support Local Businesses! #FoCoStrong #InThisTogetherFoCo #NoCoRecovers
Now more than ever, it’s important to support our local businesses. For starters, use NoCo Nosh to order delivery from your favorite local restaurants, order a t-shirt from FoCoStrong.com ($10 goes to local businesses listed on the website), or check out the Downtown Business Association information on donating and receiving vouchers to use later.
Have a great weekend and stay safe, healthy and connected.
Your friends at Diverse Fort Collins
All Welcome. Let’s co-create an inclusive community!
If you’re interested in an African American writer’s perspective on White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, sign up for Nanette D. Massey’s webinar at 1 p.m. MST this Sunday, March 29, “White Fragility: Black Echo.” It’s $13.
She’ll answer your questions during the first hour, then speak on one of the book’s topics. All are welcome, although the event is intended for those who have read the book.
Every year, 100 state and community leaders attend the Colorado Capitol Conference to learn about our form of government and the legislative process. Here’s a brief video.
Diverse Fort Collins founder and executive director Katherine Valdez has accepted an invitation from the office of CSU President Joyce McConnell to join her delegation for the June 10-12 event!
“It will be an honor to represent our community at the Colorado Capitol Conference,” Valdez said. “I invite Diverse Fort Collins friends and community members to submit questions to ask our representatives in Congress. What’s top of mind for you?”
Submit your questions to DiverseFoCo@gmail.com or via social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
FoCo StartUp Week Highlights Diversity and Representation
If you missed the free sessions during Fort Collins Startup Week, here’s a glimpse of artist Gregg Deal’s Feb. 25 performance, “The Punk Pan-Indian Romantic Comedy.”
Deal told stories of growing up in a predominantly white Utah ski town, of his challenging relationship with his white father, and of finding his way as a Pyramid Lake Paiute artist. His style of memoir storytelling interspersed with punk music lyrics and song clips proved to be a powerful combination.
Check out the free exhibit of Deal’s art in the Duhesa Gallery, second floor of the Lory Student Center, Colorado State University.
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind author visits Northern Colorado
William Kamkwamba, author of The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, visited Windsor High School on Feb. 22 for the Clearview Reads event.
Congratulations to Diverse Fort Collins volunteers Jamie and Tom on receiving two tickets to this event!
Diverse Fort Collins achieved a milestone: 300 followers on Facebook! Thanks to you all for liking our posts about local and national news and events.
These were some of our most popular social media posts over the past couple of weeks:
Thank you to the 41 community members who attended the Feb. 23 Diverse Fort Collins book group!
We discussed Chapters 5-8 of Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism.
Trying something new this time, we divided into affinity groups (people of color and non-binary folks, white women, white men, white women and men, social justice and equity/diversity/inclusion advocates) and reviewed information from the author’s Reading Guide:
Principles for a constructive discussion (such as “a strong opinion is not the same as informed knowledge”)
Common patterns and responses (such as “Positioning themselves as already getting this/Giving evidence for why this discussion doesn’t apply to them: “I already know all this.” “I am married to/have children who are____” followed by distancing (rather than insight and recognition that this doesn’t exempt them and their learning is not finished).
Silence breakers (such as “I’m really nervous/scared/uncomfortable saying this and/but…”)
…and finally the Reading Guide chapter questions.
If you haven’t read the book yet, here are chapter titles to give you an idea of the content:
Chapter 5 The Good/Bad Binary (He’s not a racist. He is a really nice guy)
Chapter 6 Anti-Blackness
Chapter 7 Racial Triggers For White People
Chapter 8 The Result: White Fragility
Thank you to our wonderful volunteers and facilitators for helping make this a successful event:
Mia, Jessica, Jamie, Ricardo, David, Victoria, Kit, Kimberly, Tom, Katherine, and Mara.
Thanks again to Rev. Kimberly and American Baptist Church for the gift of this meeting space.
***RESCHEDULED TO MAY 17***Join us on March 22 at 2 p.m. for the final meeting. We’ll discuss Chapters 9-12.