The conference was a highly informative, packed, and engaging experience—very welcoming and validating of the Latino stories and contribution to California history and the development and connections of those stories with various state parks in California. There were many speakers and academics who had plenty to share—from the development of Latino barrios in LA, the disappearance of the Californios, the hidden stories of mujeres, and the ways that Latinos have left a mark in current parks, while acknowledging the multicultural connections that existed with other communities.
Overall, an experience that left me wanting more.
Extending from that were some discussions of how work like this helps with the present and future connections of Latino communities with the state parks system. One key component is to know and validate the Latino histories that are already there, including the stories yet to uncover. But in addition to that is the idea of how to keep making current cultural connections, to create more stories of present Latino communities and validate the current experiences and needs. To that end there were a series of breakout session to think about that could happen with media, outreach, education, and other approaches.
I participated in the media session, hoping to connect with others in how they approach and think about marketing and media outreach to connects with Latino audiences. There was a lot of good discussion, which should result in some good work in the months and years to come. But specifically there was one idea that I really liked and wanted to help develop—a phrase and approach to include and validate the needs and experiences of a wide array of Latino communities. It’s “We’ve Got a Park for That!”
The connecting ideas come from “there’s an app for that” and “got milk?”—Two phrases that worked for their respective campaigns and made us think of “there’s a park for that” and “got park?”. But adding the “We’ve” helps to highlight the diversity of parks in the California Parks State system—and how that is an opportunity to engage the diversity of communities in California.
With that in mind, I developed these two “draft photo-text overlays” to hint at how the parks system can help meet the needs of Latino communities. Yes, first you need to do the work and identify the needs. Then work to close the gaps and see how the park in your community helps with those needs.
One seemingly humorous example is the “quinceañera photo shoot”. I say seemingly humorous, but for a community where this practice is common, the photo shoot is a key component of the event and there is shared community knowledge about which natural areas are the best for the photos. Do you know if your park is used for that—or if it is not, then would it be a great way to introduce your park to the Latino community? There may be opportunities to explore there.
So what activities and experiences may be connecting for the Latino community in your area? There should be several, to which you can reply “We’ve Got a Park for That!”
“Parques para todo, parques para todos”—Parks for everything, parks for everyone
Thank you to the CA Parks Foundation, our media breakout group, and Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve Education Coordinator Anne Marie Tipton.