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Kween Werk calls herself a “social media diva,” and she sure makes the gig look fun. In any given post, she might be frolicking on the beach or teaching an awkward Governor Jared Polis how to dance, always in vibrant glasses and coaster-size earrings. Upon closer inspection, though, her posts take on a deeper meaning—even her simple hiking videos.
“I show up as myself, a fat, Black woman in outdoor spaces—where a lot of times people are surprised to see me—and talk about my experiences,” says Parker McMullen Bushman, the 43-year-old Denver resident behind the TikTok account. “I’m hoping to be a source of light and positivity around these topics.” She’s amassed more than 210,300 followers since her 18-year-old niece introduced her to TikTok during the early days of the pandemic, when Kween, an acronym for “keep widening environmental engagement narratives,” was born.
Kween Werk may be new, but McMullen Bushman has been focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for nearly a decade. She began her career teaching ecology at a YMCA camp in Michigan, where she first realized how few Black people worked in conservation. The Bronx native moved to Denver in 2017 to take a job as vice president of community engagement, education, and inclusion at Westminster’s Butterfly Pavilion. At the same time, McMullen Bushman ran a side gig as the founder of Ecoinclusive, which consults with environmental groups on better serving diverse audiences and standing up for social justice. Last summer, she left the Butterfly Pavilion to focus on the firm—as well as her latest project, Inclusive Guide.
Billed by McMullen Bushman as “Yelp, but for inclusion,” Inclusive Guide launched in June as a crowd-sourcing website. Users fill out a profile based on their identities—from race to whether they have tattoos—then review shops, parks, and other public spaces. Although negative reviews are allowed, she says, “it’s about supporting and uplifting businesses that are doing it well.” Organizations—participants include the Denver Zoo, Butterfly Pavilion, Arvada Center, and Clyfford Still Museum—can also get free DEI training sessions and feedback reports about various demographics.
McMullen Bushman admits to missing the more idyllic aspects of conservation work. “But I came to the realization that the most important thing I could be doing for the planet right now is working on DEI issues,” she says. “We talk about environmental justice, climate change—we need everyone there in order to solve these big world problems.”
Likes McMullen Bushman’s roughly 500 TikTok videos have accumulated since she joined the platform in 2020
Pairs of glasses McMullen Bushman owns
Miles she drove during her recent Liberation Tour, a 17-day, cross-country road trip she took this past summer to bring attention to Black travel