My name is Tzigane Martin and I am one of the fall 2020 Communications and Development Interns for Colorado Water Trust. I started in August and will be working with the Water Trust until December when I graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Environmental Studies and International Relations. I’m currently working on a blog series at the Water Trust on diversity in the environmental world in Colorado. As a proud, second-generation Mexican-American, this topic is close to my heart, and something I want to explore even beyond my time at the Water Trust.
While I was born in Denver, my mom is originally from Veracruz, Mexico, and has been living in the United States since she was 13 years old, and my dad is a 4th generation Coloradan, born in Denver and raised all across the state.
I had the privilege of growing up in Aurora, which is the most diverse city in Colorado. This was such a wonderful experience as I went to school with people from around the world. I had friends from Ethiopia, Mexico, Taiwan, Jordan, Tonga, and many other countries. Growing up in a diverse place was not necessarily something I valued enough at the time, I thought it was normal until I moved away.
When I arrived at the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder, I experienced a bit of a culture shock, as the school is predominately white (66.3%). I remember one of my first experiences at CU was hanging out with a group of peers in the dorms, and getting asked, “So where are you REALLY from?” I also got used to being one of the few people of color in the room in my classes. Feeling like I didn’t belong at CU became familiar. Growing up in a diverse area, coupled with feeling like an outsider at my school because I wasn’t “white enough,” led to my curiosity about other people’s experiences. I pursued a number of projects exploring predominantly white spaces, and how these spaces are experienced by people of color. After graduation, I am hoping to continue work in the nonprofit sector, hopefully, focused on work with low-income people of color.
For my blog series at the Water Trust, I will be interviewing different people from the environmental sector on their perspectives as people of color, and how this predominantly white space might affect them (only 16% of staff in environmental organizations are people of color, though we comprise 36% of the U.S. population). I look forward to these interviews and listening to different perspectives. I hope to explore potential actionable solutions for the lack of diversity we see in environmental organizations. Given the tumultuous nature of this year, I figured now was a better time than ever to start exploring this topic. I hope you find value in it and enjoy reading future blog posts!
Thanks and nice to meet you! 🙂