The Passion of our People… The love of our community; OP-ED

Bernie Valdez Awards Dinner Sept. 19, 2015XposerPhotography001 (147)

“You cannot be brave if you have only had good things happen to you” – Mary Tyler Moore. Perhaps this is why our celebrated leaders have become who they are today. From facing hate and discrimination in Weld County more than forty years ago to being told that your status as a freshman legislator should determine how soft or hard hitting you are. Maybe it is facing that migration is not a choice and that to create a better life you have to become an immigrant.

The 51st annual Bernie Valdez Awards Dinner was celebrated in Denver, CO at the Grand Hyatt on Saturday September 19, 2015. The theme of this year’s event was, Celebrando Tiempo y Cultura (Celebrating time and culture). A fitting theme with this year’s nominees and celebrated winners of these distinctive Latino community awards and even more poignant for the current state of our society.

If only a worldwide audience filled with all ethnic backgrounds and all cultures could hear and understand our message. The message that we hear year after year from leaders who break ceilings, pave the path and hit hard. Then maybe even millennials would better understand the duty of our participation in community. Civic engagement is everyone’s responsibility and as we so graciously heard from Award recipient Solomon Joe Juarez we must capture the mind of the young people in a seven second sound bite that inspires them to keep the fire burning.
There is an overwhelming sense of love wherever community is built, honored and celebrated. No matter who you ae or where you come from. We all have a desire to be loved, thereby making community collaboration a vital part of our existence. The award recipients and honorees made it clear that service is about Corazon. A conviction with roots of a love for community. The passion and desire from the deep roots of pain, injustice and slavery.

These distinguished leaders along with so many others have walked the walk and humbled themselves enough to take this journey with a fire in the belly, love in the Corazon for our community and in so many ways have come full circle. Each one of them recognize that it was a team effort and they were never alone. Katherine Archuleta describes it as, “standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Many messages lead to a call to action. In the days and months ahead you will hear more about these calls to action. I encourage you to stay tuned.
The work and responsibility that each one of us have is just beginning. That being said here is your first challenge.

Whether you desire to stand up for the hate messages because you pray for peace, maybe you choose to represent your family name or heritage or perhaps as it was described Saturday night maybe it will be the hallmark of your legacy. However you see it please accept this invitation. Federico Pena has requested your presence on October 28th, 2015 in Boulder Colorado for the Republican Debate. He has also asked for each one of us to fight back by registering to vote. I ask for each of you to not only register but do everything you can to cast your ballot. Make your voice heard. Vote! Se Si Puede!
I end with a quote shared by Mr. Sheldon Steinhauser, “There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves. – Lyndon B. Johnson

By: Melissa M. Jaure

©All Rights Reserved 2015 Melissa M. Jaure