Sun Valley Youth Ctr. & Academia de Policía, Receive Part of Mayor’s $20,000 Awards in Race and Justice Mini-Grants

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock with the founder of the NEWSED Community Development Corporation Veronica Barela at the 2016 Cinco de Mayo Festival. Photo by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media

Funding Supports Community Driven Projects that Help Make Denver a More Welcoming, Accepting and Inclusive City

 Mayor Michael B. Hancock recently awarded $20,000 in Race and Justice Mini-Grants to residents and civic organizations to develop community driven projects that will help Denver continue to be a welcoming, accepting and inclusive city.

“Here in Denver, our strength is the willingness to come together and find innovative opportunities to champion what is right and create solutions to whatever challenges we face,” Mayor Hancock said. “These mini-grants are game changers because they fertilize the seeds of these great ideas, allowing them to grow and nourish our community.”

The Race & Justice Mini-Grants are designed to promote projects that bridge gaps in our communities, address diverse resident needs and foster a climate of hope. The maximum grant amount is $3,000. All approved grants must match the grant amount with in-kind support, volunteer hours, or other grants or funding sources.

This year’s grantees include:

Sun Valley Youth Center – $3,000

The Sun Valley Youth Center will expand an effort begun through a Race and Justice mini-grant last year to build relationships and trust between young people and police officers through bike rides. The rides, educational and beneficial for the overall health and wellbeing of both officers and students, have led to student participation in monthly rides with the Denver Police Department/Front Range Cycling Club.  Several youth now compete on their team.

The Brave Coalition – $2,000

The Brave Coalition, which seeks to identify and address individual and cultural biases by increasing awareness, shifting mindsets and inspiring action, will select students from twelve local middle schools within the Denver, Aurora and Adams County school districts to attend a one-day program facilitated by Rosetta Lee, a Seattle-based diversity speaker and trainer.  In partnership with both the Denver and Aurora police departments, the program will focus on diversity, inclusion, implicit and unconscious bias, and effective strategies to navigate or mitigate intolerance. The diverse group of students will interact, learn from one another and be encouraged to share their stories in ways that promote empathy and trust.

Academia de Policía – $3,000

The Academia de Policía is a bilingual three-day program that brings community members from the Westwood, Montbello and Five Points communities together with the Denver Police Department to learn about their rights when interacting with law enforcement officers, how to connect with police in cases of domestic violence, and what residents can do to defend themselves in cases of home invasions, robberies, etc. The program aims to begin creating trusting relationships between the community, specifically the Latino community, and police officers. It began after longtime community organizer Rosa Vergil attended the Citizens’ Police Academy and realized that the academy was not offered in Spanish and was therefore not accessible for many predominantly Spanish-speaking Latino parents, grandparents and youth. Rosa then partnered with the Denver Police Department to create the Adacemia de Policía.

Click here for a complete list of grantees.

Denver’s Race and Justice Mini-Grants were established in 2016 to support community efforts to bring together youth with law enforcement officers as well as to promote inclusion and equality for more connected neighborhoods. For this year, Mayor Hancock expanded the vision to include other essential needs, such as continued collaboration and relationship building for youth and law enforcement, efforts that promote inclusion and equality, provide justice services and support for immigrant communities, promote social justice and empower young people.