20 Jul Latinx Outreach: Why Culturally Specific Outreach is Equitable
With summer well under way. I figured I would give some insight into the outreach work that I am doing during this time. I am interning at the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance, or RTCA for short, field office in Austin Texas as the Latinx Outreach Coordinator. As an outreach coordinator, I have been collecting information and data on what outdoor recreation means to Latinos and how the RTCA Texas office can better assist Latino communities.
It is a NPS Program, but RTCA does not have a park site or rangers. Their work is all about community engagement, meeting citizens, and assisting them with their outdoor recreation and conservation plans right in their own cities. This is done through their yearly application process where anyone in the community can apply for RTCA assistance with their project. Not every community is the same and that goes for every project as well. Whether it’s a hiking or biking trail, a community park, a wetland preserve, or water mitigation efforts, they assist those communities in their vision and the planning process.
So why Latinx specific outreach? Over the years, the RTCA Texas office has noticed that a large number of applications come from communities that have experience in outdoor recreation and conservation and those communities typically don’t serve major communities of color. So my purpose this summer has been to interview leaders and members of the Latino community in Texas and Oklahoma to try to figure out how their communities recreate and how to facilitate a relationship between them and RTCA in order to work together in the future.
This type of outreach allows for there not only to be a more equal access to recreation for communities of colors, but it also makes it more representative of the real population. According to the U.S. Census, the Hispanic population is rapidly growing and will make up almost 100 million, or 25% of the U.S. population by 2050. So, in order to provide equitable access to the outdoors, the RTCA Texas office is purposefully building relationships through outreach with Latino, Black, and indigenous communities to provide that.
In my next post I’ll talk more about the interview process and what it means to collect qualitative data.
Bye for now!