Who we are

Cortez Washington

Diversity Equity & Inclusion Specialist


Cortez Washington’s racial equity-centered education and a full cup of coffee motivate him to use his skills and resources to advocate for people in historically marginalized communities. As DEI Communications Specialist for Piper & Gold Public Relations, he draws on what he learned from his family and community growing up in Battle Creek, Michigan, to pursue his passion for community preservation, propelled by the soundtrack of his favorite playlist.

He thrives on brainstorming ideas and collaborating on projects that take him out of his comfort zone. With his background in grassroots organizing and community development, Cortez is dedicated to ensuring everyone has a voice in making their community better, and he is unapologetically Black at all times.

Cortez was a fellow for Govern for America and a policy advisor for the Colorado Department of Corrections, and he devoted a year of service as an Americorps VISTA for Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation in greater New Orleans. He backs up his lived experiences in DE&I work with a certification on diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business. He holds a B.A. in criminal justice and corrections from Dillard University, a historically black university in New Orleans.

Even off the clock, Cortez believes it’s important to invest his time in local initiatives to help better his community – particularly his hometown of Battle Creek. He and his longtime partner, Ivy, rescued a beautiful little terrier mix, Malachi. They live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


  • Chaired the social media subcommittee of Friends of Battle Creek Public Schools' Bond Steering Committee. The campaign successfully secured a bond measure of $44.8 million for the renovation of the local middle schools into fine art schools for K-8 students and service learning schools for 6-8 students.
  • Founding member of Colorado's Department of Corrections (CDOC) Gender Race Ability Awareness and Cultural Equity committee (GRAACE), a collaborative effort by internal and external stakeholders to improve the DEI landscape for the staff of CDOC and the incarcerated population.
  • Graduated cum laude status from the Historical Black College Dillard University.