Ann Nguyen Works To Transform Communities
This past summer saw a rise in the awareness of and action towards racial justice as streets filled with Black Lives Matter protestors, recognition was raised on events such as Juneteenth and the country began the long struggle to take action against decades of what is perceived as systemic racism.
The Otak staff has embraced the need for change in various ways. Landscape architect and planner Ann Nguyen from our Denver, Colorado office, participated in the inaugural Ride for Racial Justice created by two long-time cyclists who believe a bicycle represents freedom and that everyone has the right to feel safe, free, and empowered to ride.
As a minority and avid bicyclist, Ann saw an opportunity to join a cause that shares her passion for working in communities to achieve deep-rooted and sustainable transformation. Ann has been working to understand and communicate the gap between minority and majority cultures. “We all carry multiple identities and race has very little to do with who we actually are,” she said.
Ann rode in the City of Denver with about 150 other people on a 10-mile loop to build community while bringing recognition to the issue of racial justice. On other fronts, the group is working to encourage BIPOC cyclists and coaches to become leaders and mentors cyclists under the banner Tomorrow’s Cycling World. They are also using programming and partnerships to help those that need bikes, gear, and even safe riding education get access.
Ann has continued her support for the goals of Ride for Racial Justice, by signing onto the RIDE (Respect, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity) Advisory Board with Bicycle Colorado. Along with championing the cause in her community, she is also hoping to encourage more representation from her colleagues at Otak.
The passion for building community awareness, along with providing safer streets, is something Ann takes to her work as well. Having been car-free for more than a decade she works to provide safer streets, as she did recently working with the Denver Department of Transportation & Infrastructure to establish transportation priorities for a safer main street in the La Alma Lincoln Park Neighborhood and Art District. She also leads public interest-based projects that create accessible design solutions for open spaces like her work with Denver Streetscape Partnership to design patio expansions as a solution for small businesses to comply with COVID-19 indoor gathering restrictions. “I understand that bringing equity through design instigates positive change and uplifts marginalized communities when it is deeply rooted in the stories of people and place,” she said.