- The Washington Times - Monday, May 2, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Apparently the natural beauty witnessed at a U.S. national park doesn’t provide enough of a “safe space,” to some.

A civil rights group wants the National Park Service to change its greenish, grey park ranger uniforms, arguing the uniform look too similar to the ones worn by U.S. immigration officers. God forbid, an illegal alien out enjoying the sites of the Grand Canyon mistake a park ranger for an ICE official.

“What we’re calling for is drastic, very scary change,” Maite Arce of the Hispanic Access Foundation said at a press conference Thursday, according to CNS News. “One example I can give you is with the Latino community, especially among the border states, but even nationwide, just the simple color of the uniforms that rangers wear.”

Ms. Acre continued, adding many in the Latino community feel “threatened” because of the uniform.

“It’s such a shame that something as simple as the uniform and it’s similarity to the border patrols uniform — in the coloring — could be very threatening to certain segments of the Latino population. So a discussion about that is going to be really tough,” she added.



The Hispanic Access Foundation says the Park Service must do a better job fostering inclusion on public lands and has joined a wider coalition of legislators asking President Obama to issue an executive order, demanding the Department of Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a list of priorities to foster greater inclusion. Existing agency uniforms, offices and signs all are up for grabs.

Among the priorities the coalition lists are for the federal government to: “Assess the cultural implications of existing agency uniforms, offices, signage, and other facilities. For example, the Park Service law-enforcement vehicles look like those used by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and uniforms have law enforcement connotations, both of which present a significant impediment to engaging all Americans.”

Their priority list also includes a federal “review [of] names of sites throughout system for cultural bias. Some may require comprehensive name changes to reflect a broader and more inclusive history.”

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