By Alexsandra Ruiz-Ortiz, Latin Life Denver Media
Friends and families gathered in support of the four remarkable people who accepted their awards at the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library on a bright sunny afternoon on Sept. 22, 2018. Denver Public Library celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month with the Lena L. Archuleta & Eric J. Duran Community Service Awards along with the César Chávez Leadership Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
These awards are given to individuals who have impacted the Latino/a community state wide. Michele Terese Trujillo, Anthony R. Aragon, Renee Fajardo, and Carlos Santistevan all expressed deep gratitude for the recognition.
Michele T. Trujillo, the 2018 Lena L. Archuleta Community Service Recipient, explained her accomplishments and desires to continue to impact the Latino community in home education. She continues to serves as the director of the Antonio Homeschool Consortium under the nonprofit organization Conejos Clean Water andis concerned with social and environmental justice issues of the rural communities.
Anthony R. Aragon, the 2018 Eric J. Duran Community Service recipient, joked that when people see his phone number they think, “What does Anthony want now?” He has impacted the Latino, Denver, LGBTQ+, and his Stapleton neighborhood community by advocating for LGBTQ+ rights for the past two decades. Anthony R. Aragon currently serves as part of the Community Affairs team in the City Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships and serves as special assistance to First Lady Mary Louise Lee.
Renee Fajardo, the 2018 César Chávez Leadership Hall of Fame Award Inductee, explained her passion for the Latino/Mestizo. She gave thanks to those who supported her along the way such as the Corn Mothers and Dr. Ramon Del Castillo, the Department Chair of Chicana/o Studies at MSU Denver. Renee Fajardois a mother of seven and a cultural activist who has spent the past 30 years preserving and promoting the Latino/Mestizo culture of Colorado. Director of Journey Through Our Heritage program at MSU Denver and co-author of several books such as the Tummy Tales and the Return of the Corn Mothers.
Carlos Santistevan, the 2018 César Chávez Leadership Hall of Fame Award Inductee, told stories about his wife and family, all while expressing gratitude for their support. His wife supported his dreams during his full-time volunteer work with El Moviemento. Carlos Santistevanis a well-known santero. He was a founding member of the Chicano Humanities & Art Council and served as its first executive director and was also the first Latino artist to serve on the board of Denver Art Museum.