By Miguel Baca Barragan, Photos by Jolene J. Cardenas for Latin Life Denver Media (see photo gallery below)
“We’re talking about environmental justice, immigrant justice, reproductive justice, economic justice, and then how they’re all tied together as the intersectional community,” said Hilda Nucete, program director for Protégete an organization funded by Conservation Colorado. Protégete was just one of the many organization that took part in the 12th annual Latino Advocacy Day 2018 held at North High School and the Colorado State Capitol Sunday and Monday, March 11th and 12th.
This annual event brings local non-profits and young Latinos together to learn about advocacy and how to get engaged in the local politics of Colorado. The two days consisted of conferences that cover topics like government 101, public policy, lobbying, citizen/civil rights and voting.
publicnewsservice.org reported that, some 200 people from across Colorado gathered in Denver over the weekend for the 12th annual Latino Advocacy Day at the State Capitol.
Nucete, said that while participants are taking seriously a proposed ballot initiative that targets elected officials who support so-called sanctuary city policies, the Latino community is not a single issue voting bloc.
House Bill 1178 would make it a Class 4 felony if state or local officials create, enforce or implement policies that protect undocumented immigrants from racial profiling and other forms of discrimination. Proponents of the Colorado Politician Accountability Act say the measure is necessary to get the state’s municipalities to fall in line with federal immigration policies.
Nucete also is keeping an eye on House Bill 1157, which would strengthen requirements for the oil and gas industry to report accidents, spills and harmful emissions.
She says because a disproportionate number of Latino families live in neighborhoods close to refineries and industrial areas, companies need to be held accountable for operating at the highest possible standard, and inform the public when they’re at risk.
“Our Latino children are three times more prone to having asthma than any other ethnic group in the United States,” she points out. “So we really want to make sure that our community has a seat at the table.”
A Latino Advocacy Day rally took place on the west steps of the Capitol at noon on Monday March 12th.
Time was also scheduled for current and past elected officials to address the attendees. A reception wrapped up the event where many past, present and future elected officials attended. Among those participating were Senator Dominick Moreno, Senator Irene Aguilar, Representative Joe Salazar, Representative Adrienne Benavidez, Representative Dan Pabon and the Speaker of the House, Honorable Crisanta Duran
The first Latino Advocacy Day was coordinated by Latina Initiative and COLOR who reached out to LARASA, Latin American Research and Service Agency, to partner and convene the event.
LARASA in 2006 was lead by former State Senator, Polly Baca with cooperation from other Colorado nonprofits.
The 2018 LAD event was coordinated with statewide participation from COLOR, CLLARO (Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization), Mi Familia Vota and Northern Colorado Dreamers United.
Photos by Jolene J. Cardenas for Latin Life Denver Media