Local community pushes forward one year after George Floyd's death

Local c
Posted at 7:06 PM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 08:01:19-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Exactly one year after the death of George Floyd, communities across the country are still mourning and feeling the impacts of what happened, including communities local to southern Colorado.

However, several people that KOAA News5 spoke to said despite what happened, the tragic events have helped open doors for larger conversations about inclusiveness and diversity in our area.

"After the Black Lives Matters, people wanted to be more inclusive and learn more, so of course they're going to come to their library to get books, videos, and periodicals," said Shirley Martinez, who works for the Pikes Peak Library District. "People wanted all of those things to better understand what's happening around them and what's trending."

Martinez is the director of diversity, equity and inclusion, which is a role that was created about three months ago.

"We really needed to have a position that could really help the library put their arms around our cultural differences and be able to work together within the community," said Martinez. "I think the library is a place where people have curious conversations."

Part of her job is bringing cultural materials to local libraries, and it's also about helping to get the conversation started about inclusiveness and diversity.

"I think it's (what happened last year) brought people together. It's brought people to the table conversing and it's also opened the eyes of many to start working within their communities," said Martinez. "What happened with George Floyd and many others, really opens your eyes because people here are from all over, and this really makes a difference in how we move forward in this community.

The Pikes Peak Library District is working with groups like My Black Colorado, which was founded in 2017. Published magazines and content from the organization can be found at local libraries.

"We're about highlighting uplifting and celebrating the local black community," said Brandon Bornes, the organization's founder.

Bornes said, since January they've expanded their efforts and partnered with 90 other organizations in the community.

"It's like a breath of fresh air, and it makes me want to do more, because it's inspiring. It helps build a healthier understanding of what it means to be black in Colorado," said Bornes.

The organization highlights the black community and people within it, as well as topics like education, health, youth, history and the military.

Despite what happened a year ago today, Bornes also said it helped bring people together in our region.

"There's a healthy pressure in our community to have these conversations, so it's somewhat of a relief to people like me and people in our community," said Bornes. "It's moved a lot of people to ask themselves, what can they do to help themselves and bring awareness to support the community."

The Pikes Peak Library District also offering resources to the community that includes information on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as well as resources for understanding racism. That information can be found here.

For more information about My Black Colorado, click here.