Pride. Strength, Courage, and Diversity in the National Park Service in Alaska
During specific months of the year, our Nation recognizes, celebrates, and honors the rich diversity of our people. Denali National Park Ranger, Timothy Rains, proposed an idea to celebrate the June observance of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Americans. He was inspired by the “It Gets Better” project video in which LGBT DOI employees support and reassure LGBT youth by providing stories of their own early struggles and encouragement that it does indeed get better. Tim wanted to produce a video where he’d share the story about his experience working for the National Park Service and how it helped him make peace with his identity, as well as provide an opportunity for fellow LGBT employees to share their stories as well.
Tim described the response to his project idea as “quick and supportive” from both his supervisor, Ingrid Nixon, Chief Interpretation and Superintendent, Paul Anderson. From that point, the Regional Office took this small flicker of an idea and gave it what it needed to flourish. For the first time in Alaska, “…they provided a way for those of us working in the remote areas of the state an opportunity to connect and create that strong sense of community through a shared goal…”
In discussions with the Alaska Regional Office, “…they quickly realized this project was larger than the story I wanted to tell…” Tim said. Within just a couple of days of the project announcement, Tim received 13 volunteers from several parks across the state. During pre- and post-production dialogues, several of the employees expressed what it meant to participate in the project. Their narrations are positive, encouraging and hopeful, yet some admit feelings of caution.
To read these reflections and learn more about diversity in the National Park Service visit:
Part I – http://youtu.be/xG8beeCgmNQ
Part II – http://youtu.be/5tjKNJEe73o
Part III – http://youtu.be/obk5GQ49bwI