Five new public conversations in the Changing the Legacy of Race & Ethnicity series will focus on Colorado indigenous experiences and contributions, innovative housing solutions, culturally relevant healthcare, voting rights, and after February 20, 2023, equity in education. Stay tuned for upcoming premieres. View the programs on YouTube and Facebook.
Exploring Culturally Fluent Healthcare
Premiering Monday, March 20, 2023 at 6 p.m.
Colorado Humanities hosts a community panel discussion, Exploring Culturally Fluent Healthcare, focused on addressing equity challenges, representation in healthcare, impacts of Covid, and barriers to access. Panelists Adeo Executive Director Dr. Sarita Reddy, The Colorado Health Foundation President & CEO Dr. Karen McNeil-Miller, and University of Northern Colorado College of Osteopathic Medicine Founding Dean Beth Longenecker will take part in the discussion moderated by SummitStone Health Partners Chief Medical Officer and North Colorado Health Alliance Assistant Medical Director Dr. Lesley Brooks.
Prepare for the upcoming premiere by subscribing to the Colorado Humanities YouTube channel and liking our Facebook page.
Moderator and Panelists
Dr. Lesley Brooks
SummitStone Health Partners Chief Medical Officer and North Colorado Health Alliance Assistant Medical Director
Lesley Brooks, MD leads SummitStone’s partnership in the design, development and implementation of Larimer County’s new Longview Behavioral Health Services facility, which is set to open in November 2023. Dr. Brooks, a board-certified family medicine and addiction medicine physician, practiced full scope family medicine in the federally qualified health center including prenatal care, chronic pain, mental health, and substance use disorder/addiction in northern Colorado for more than 12 years. Since her transition to SummitStone Health Partners in 2020, she specializes in substance use and mental health. Dr. Brooks has also served on the Colorado Medical Board, the Substance Abuse Trends and Response Task Force, the Colorado Consortium’s Provider Education Work Group, the Behavioral Health Transformational Task Force, and the Northern Colorado Medical Society. She earned her undergraduate degree from Kenyon College in Ohio and her medical degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Her residency training was completed at North Colorado Family Medicine in Greeley, Colorado. She completed fellowship in Primary Care Psychiatry through the University of California at Irvine.
Dr. Sarita Reddy
Adeo Executive Director
Dr. Sarita Reddy has spent most of her adult life working with and advocating for people from marginalized communities. She is driven by the belief that the strongest communities are those that provide both access to resources and opportunities to contribute for all their members. At its core, her work has been about examining individual actions as well as systemic policies that perpetuate inequities, and about eradicating barriers to true belonging and inclusion.
In her role as Executive Director of Adeo Colorado, Sarita has created a person-centered culture of support for people with brain injuries and other disabilities, pushing to center the work around removing barriers that keep them from accessing resources, engaging with their communities, and exercising autonomy. Prior to moving to Colorado in 2010, Sarita lived in Athens, Georgia. She co-founded and co coordinated “Unlock the Waiting Lists!”, a grassroots statewide campaign that resulted in a transition from Georgia’s long-held bias towards funding institutional services for people with disabilities towards an emphasis on funding community-based alternatives.
Sarita has always been energized by getting involved locally. Currently, she co-chairs the Larimer County Community Support and Equity Advisory Board, which was created during the COVID-19 pandemic to examine the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color. This group has helped bring the diverse voices of marginalized communities in Larimer County to the forefront of these conversations, ultimately leading to a collaborative effort to build trust with and provide vaccines to all Larimer County residents. Sarita continues to lead the effort to transition the group into one that works at the intersection of policy and practice, transforming systems and structures to address inequities.
Sarita has also created a circle of support for women of color in her community. Having navigated spaces for years in which she is often the only person of color, Sarita recognizes the importance of having a safe space for women of color to draw energy and wisdom from each other.
Dr. Karen McNeil-Miller
The Colorado Health Foundation President & CEO
Karen McNeil-Miller describes social and human impact as the center of her life’s work. Karen helps guide the Foundation to determine the most impactful investment of human, financial and influence capital on behalf of the Coloradans who need it the most. At the Foundation since 2015, Karen’s role is to set direction with the Board, gain commitment from staff, external stakeholders and partners, and align resources to advance the Foundation’s mission to improve the health of Coloradans. Bringing the Foundation’s mission to life is her driving force. She says, “I chose this important field of work to be on the ground in Colorado communities and to get closer to those in need – many through no fault of their own – and assist in every way I could.” Listening to Coloradans share their perspectives on health assets and barriers left Karen with a renewed commitment to the impact the Foundation can make through strategic grantmaking, partnerships and policy and advocacy work.
Karen joined the Foundation after serving for more than 10 years as the president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, one of North Carolina’s largest private foundations. Under her leadership, the Trust evolved into a strategic, impact-driven foundation with a national presence on issues ranging from rural health to access to care.
Before joining the Trust, Karen spent 16 years with the Center for Creative Leadership, an international leadership development and research nonprofit organization. During her tenure, Karen developed expertise in individual and organizational leadership development, succession planning, strategic thinking, team building, diversity, executive coaching and leading change and transitions.
Dr. Beth Longenecker
University of Northern Colorado College of Osteopathic Medicine Founding Dean
Dr. Longenecker received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991. She completed a one-year rotating internship at Doctor’s Hospital in Columbus Ohio in 1992 and subsequently a residency in emergency medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. She continues to be certified in this specialty by the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Longenecker is a member of the inaugural class of the Costin Institute for Osteopathic Medical Educators (2005) and completed the Harvard Macy Institute Program for Educators in Healthcare Professions in 2008. She received a master’s degree in medical education and leadership from the University of New England in 2016. She is a 2017 AACOM Health Policy Fellow.
Dr. Longenecker has 20 years of experience in medical education. She began in her new role as the founding dean of the proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Northern Colorado June 1, 2022. Prior to this, she served as the Athens Campus Dean at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Associate Dean of Clinical Sciences at the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Hattiesburg, MS. Her previous experience in medical education was at the GME level, serving as emergency medicine residency program director at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach and St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, NY.
Dr. Longenecker is a member of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). She served as President of the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society (IOMS), holds an appointment on the Bureau of Education of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and serves as a Site Inspector for the AOA Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). She is the osteopathic representative on the GSA COASA MSPE Effective Practices Working Group. She was a trustee on the board of the Foundation for Osteopathic Emergency Medicine (FOEM) (2015-2021) and was a member of the board of directors of the ACOEP from 2005-2014, serving as treasurer in 2011-2012. Dr. Longenecker was a delegate for the state of Illinois at the 2016 and 2017 AOA House of Delegates and is a will be serving as a delegate for the state of Colorado at the AOA business meeting in July 2022.
Equity, Educators, and Workforce Transformation
Panelists University of Northern Colorado Urban Education Director & Elementary Education Coordinator Dr. Rosanne Fulton, educator Tim Hernandez, whose termination at North High School sparked a movement of student protests regarding the retention of teachers of color, and Vice President of Leader Development at Denver School of Science and Technology Public Schools Dr. Natalie Lewis discuss equity lessons, ways educators creatively respond to challenges, and freedom dreaming. Co-founder and Executive Director of Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism Dr. Janiece Mackey moderates this discussion. The program premiered on YouTube and Facebook on Feb 20, 2023 at 6 p.m and is available for viewing.
Moderator and Panelists
Dr. Janiece Mackey
Co-founder and Executive Director, Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA)
As an African American woman and native of Colorado, and particularly as a youth, Janiece often navigated her politically oriented academic and civic engagement pursuits as one of the few youth of color. By reflecting upon her counter-narrative, she was able to place “her story” into a larger sociopolitical context that reflects not just “her story,” but that of many youth of color. YAASPA aims to develop and nurture self-efficacy for youth who desire to pursue a career in social justice.
Tim Hernández is an Ethnic Studies Teacher from the Northside of Denver. He is a recognized community organizer and teacher across Colorado who was publicly fired from North High School in May 2022, sparking student walkouts, sit-ins, and protests. After walking out with his students, he was placed on administrative leave and denied further employment in DPS, making him one more in a continually growing number of teachers of color forced out of Denver Public Schools. He hopes to continue teaching and organizing towards freedom as he proceeds with litigation against DPS.
Dr. Roseanne Fulton
Director of the Center for Urban Education, University of Northern Colorado
Rosanne Fulton, PhD began her career teaching middle school and high school mathematics for 11 years. Dr. Fulton has devoted her career to addressing educational equity and meeting the needs of all students. Additionally, she taught mathematics and teacher preparation courses at four different universities and colleges in Colorado, including Colorado School of Mines, Metropolitan State University, University of Colorado in Boulder, and University of Colorado in Denver. Her formal research is focused on race and its impact on teaching and learning. Dr. Fulton’s research findings add to the description of how schools can be the foundation for a strong democracy. She recently was awarded the prestigious “Friend of the Salute” award for her work within the Black community in the Denver Metropolitan area.
Dr. Natalie Lewis
Vice President of Leader Development, DSST Public Schools
Dr. Natalie Lewis is the Vice President of Leadership Development at DSST Public Schools. She is deeply committed to schools in the Denver metropolitan area. She is a proud graduate of Manual High School and product of Denver Public Schools. Dr. Lewis is also the proud mother of two students in the DSST network. Dr. Lewis is committed to preparing students to lead in diverse school communities and pushing toward the development of their understanding of their personal identity markers and its impact on their leadership. Dr. Lewis began her educational journey as a guest teacher in the school district of Philadelphia. Since then she has had the opportunity of being a classroom teacher, a district support partner, assistant principal, principal, Managing Director (regional instructional superintendent) in the Washington DC and Denver areas. Dr. Lewis is a scholar practitioner with research centering on Black principals, leadership development family engagement.
Dr. Tracie Trinidad
Director of Policy and Partnerships, YAASPA (Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism)
Founder and lead consultant of Trinidad Consulting LLC
Dr. Tracie Trinidad identifies as a Xicana feminist, educator, and community activist. She was born and raised in Colorado. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at New Mexico State University, a Hispanic Serving institute, then completed her Masters degree in Nonprofit management with a focus on youth development and educational nonprofits from Regis University. Dr. Trinidad completed her PhD at the University of Denver in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program focusing on youth resistance. Dr. Trinidad’s lens in guiding her commitment to social justice is rooted in critical race theory and resistance theory. Dr. Trinidad is passionate about dismantling systems of oppression through advocacy, education; and community and youth collaboration.
Voting Access & Security
Panelists Jefferson County Clerk & Recorder-elect Amanda Gonzalez, Mesa County Election Administrator Sheila Reiner, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense & Educational Fund Fellow Tanner Lockhead discuss voting laws, rights, and solutions for our state and country. US Postal Service Governor Amber McReynolds moderates this discussion. View the program on YouTube and Facebook.
Moderator and Panelists
US Postal Service Governor
One of the country’s leading experts on election administration, policy, and innovation, Amber has dedicated her career to improving the voting process for all: first as an election official, serving as the Director of Elections for the City and County of Denver, Colorado; then as a thought leader and founding CEO for the National Vote at Home Institute and Coalition; and now collaborating and supporting various organizations across the US. Amber also served on the Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission and as a Governor for the United States Postal Service in 2021. Co-author of the book When Women Vote, McReynolds serves as a senior strategic advisor to national organizations including Issue One, Fair Vote, and Election Reformers Network.
Jefferson County Clerk & Recorder-elect
As the Clerk and Recorder-elect in Jefferson County, Colorado where she will be the first Latina to serve in the role, Amanda Gonzalez has spent her career creating policies that encourage civic engagement. She is the former Executive Director of Colorado Common Cause, a nonpartisan good government group where she helped pass policies that expanded ballot access, reduced the influence of money in politics, and ensured a complete count in the 2020 Census. The first in her family to go to college, she holds degrees from Occidental College and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
Mesa County Election Administrator
Sheila Reiner first obtained her Certified Election Registrar and Administrator status in 2008 and in 2010 was elected Mesa County Clerk and Recorder. In 2013 she was the Vice President of the Colorado County Clerks Association and one of the Clerks involved in creating the election model Colorado enjoys today. After serving her allowable two four- year terms, she was elected Mesa County Treasurer and Public Trustee. In 2021 she was called back to serve as Elections Supervisor to cover the vacancy left by Tina Peters. She and former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams supervised the 2021 Coordinated Mesa County Election that was counted in three ways to prove the system’s accuracy and security to the County’s citizens.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF) Fellow
Tanner Lockhead was on the NAACP LDF litigation team in Merrill v. Milligan at the Supreme Court, a case challenging the role of race in congressional redistricting under the Voting Rights Act. Tanner also led LDF’s election protection advocacy in Mississippi during the 2022 election. Before LDF, Tanner worked at the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division where he focused on prosecuting systemic police misconduct during the summer of 2020. In addition to his J.D., Tanner received Columbia Law School’s Jane Marks Murphy Prize for his work on access to justice in state civil courts, and he has published legal scholarship on disenfranchisement by felony conviction and the incarceration of LGBTQ individuals.
Cutting Edge Leadership
To help us figure out how to create a better future for everyone, listen in on a public conversation with innovative leaders in health care, education, bias and inequity in the workplace, and racial justice work. Ginnie Logan from Chinook Fund joins panelists Dr. Lilia Cervantes, Dr. Michael Benitez, and Erin Yoshimura in an engaging evening of storytelling. View the recorded event on Colorado Humanities Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Moderator and Panelists
Chinook Fund Program Director, Chinook Fund
Ginnie is an educational research practitioner with 14 years of instructional leadership as a high school teacher, middle school assistant principal, university professor and researcher, program director, academic theorist, and non profit founder. Some of her academic work can be found in her recent book, Black Girl Civics and many articles on youth activism. Ginnie also co-leads The Giving Project, and founded Big Hair, Bigger Dreams. Her current passion, The E/P Project, focuses on closing the wealth gap for working-class high school students and their families.
Dr. Lilia Cervantes
Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Dr. Lilia Cervantes is a physician with a deep commitment to community service, programs, health policy activism, and research focused on promoting health justice for underserved communities, such as racial and ethnic minorities. Lilia completed her bachelor’s degree, medical degree, and internal medicine residency in Colorado and has worked at Denver Health, the safety-net hospital for the city of Denver, for over 13 years. Lilia has partnered with patients and stakeholders to create change that advances the health and well-being of Colorado’s racial and ethnic minority communities.
Dr. Michael Benitez
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Dr. Benitez is a nationally acclaimed educator in diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education and a popular speaker and workshop leader at colleges and conferences nationwide. Dr. Benitez has been recognized with multiple leadership and academic awards throughout his career and continues to serve as one of higher education’s leading and transformative change-makers and DEI leaders. Over the last two decades, he has served higher education in different capacities, devoting his life to addressing the inequities he experienced and witnessed growing up. He received his Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy, emphasizing social justice in higher education from Iowa State University.
Founder/Principal, Empowerful Changes
Erin Yoshimura, Founder and Principal of Empowerful Changes, LLC, has empowered clients through leadership, diversity training, and executive coaching for over 20 years. Erin is a certified emotional intelligence trainer and a certified professional coach with certificates in Diversity & Inclusion and Conflict Resolution from Cornell University. She combines her corporate and nonprofit experience and her passion for equity and inclusion with training and coaching to teach empowerful leadership and cultural agility skills.
Policing in Communities of Color
On October 6, 2021, at 7 p.m. MDT. Attorney, former Colorado state senator and representative Penfield Tate moderated a public conversation with Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Deputy Director Juston Cooper, former Independent Monitor of the Denver Police and Sheriff Departments Nicholas Mitchell, civil rights attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai, and Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson. They talked about the past, present, and future issues surrounding policing and public safety in communities of color and explore how to work together to enhance public safety. You can view the recorded event on Colorado Humanities Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Moderator and Panelists
W. Tate III
Attorney, former Colorado state senator and representative
Founder of Tate Law serving individuals, businesses, and government agencies, Penfield was an aide to former Denver Mayor Federico Peña, in the cabinet of former Colorado Governor Roy Romer as Executive Director of the Department of Administration, and spent over six years in the Colorado General Assembly — four years in the House as the State Representative for District 8, and over two years in the Senate as the State Senator for District 33. Penfield is the founder of Tate Law, and his client-centered, problem-solving approach to his nearly 40-year practice focuses on serving governments in public finance and municipal law and people in corporate and business matters, such as wills, estates, trusts, and wealth preservation.
Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Deputy Director
Juston Cooper graduated from Denver public schools in 1996, and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Marketing from Metropolitan State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver. His varied career working on social justice issues through political engagement, public policy, strategic planning, organizational development, coalition building, and grassroots organizing has helped to build and implement public health and safety strategies that address criminal and juvenile justice reform. Justin asserts that it’s essential to build and mobilize political power in community in order to truly provide health and safety. He believes that in order to reconcile the harm done to communities by systems of oppression, we must understand the systemic issues and barriers oppressed communities face.
Independent Monitor (of Denver Police and Sheriff Departments 2012-2021)
Nick is currently the court-appointed monitor of a Department of Justice consent decree with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Between 2012 and 2021, Nick was the Independent Monitor of the Denver Police and Sheriff Departments and oversaw all internal investigations into Denver’s approximately 2,300 sworn police officers and sheriff deputies. He received awards from the Denver Bar Association and the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, and has been recognized as an expert on civilian oversight and law enforcement reform on CNN, in The New Yorker, and other national publications. Nick is a graduate of Fordham Law School and is a former Gates Foundation Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He was previously a member of the Board of Governors of the Colorado Bar Association and the Board of Directors of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement.
Civil Rights Attorney
Qusair is a partner at Rathod | Mohamedbhai law firm. His practice is exclusively in the areas of plaintiff’s employment discrimination and constitutional civil rights litigation. He advocates for the rights of employees in the workplace, and for the civil rights of all individuals against governmental and institutional abuses of power. His awards include the Sam Cary Bar Association – Warrior for Justice award (2018), Lawyer of the Year – Law Week Colorado (2017), and Colorado LGBT Bar Association Ally of the Year (2017). He teaches (National Institute for Trial Advocacy, University of Denver Sturm College of Law and others) and publishes on civil rights issues in addition to representing his clients, most notably The Estate of Elijah Javon McClain, et al. v. City of Aurora, et al. (Police Violence Causing Death) in 2019.
Aurora Chief of Police
Vanessa Wilson was sworn in as the 14th Chief of Police for the city of Aurora, Colorado on August 17th, 2020, and is the first woman to serve as Chief. She joined the Aurora Police Department on December 30, 1996 as a Patrol Officer. She served
as the Interim Chief of Police starting on January 1, 2020. Chief Wilson earned a Bachelor’s of Arts, from the University of Wyoming, and in 2019 graduated from FBI National Academy Class #275. Highlights of her career include the establishment of the Aurora Police Department’s first Domestic Violence Unit, scheduled to become fully operational this year. Chief Wilson was also recently selected to be a member of the FBI’s National Executive Institute Association of key Federal, state, and local chief executives of the largest law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe.
This program is the sixth in the collaborative Changing the Legacy of Race and Ethnicity – Conversations for One America series presented by Colorado Humanities and many partners to encourage understanding and discussion about the legacy of race and ethnicity in America. Conversations examine causes for current situations and offer ways to make changes now for a more just future. This program was inspired by summer 2020 events, when several violent acts of racism sparked an awakening in America and the streets were filled with passionate advocates who demanded the end of police brutality and systemic racism.
Whites and Racial Justice
Dr. Dwinita Mosby Tyler facilitated a conversation with journalist and author Helen Thorpe and former Colorado State Senator Michael “Mike” Johnston of Gary Investments about what Whites can do to support racial justice. The panelists responded to live to questions and comments from online participants. View the recorded event on Youtube and Facebook.
Moderator and Panelists
Dr. Dwinita Mosby Tyler
Dr. Dwinita Mosby Tyler is Chief Catalyst and Founder of The Equity Project, LLC, a consulting firm supporting organizations and communities in building diversity, equity and inclusion strategies and The HR Shop, LLC, a human resources firm designed to support non-profits and small businesses. She is also the former vice president of Children’s Hospital Colorado and former Executive Director of the Office of Human Resources for the City and County of Denver and the first African American woman to hold each of those positions.
Mike Johnston is the President and CEO of Gary Community Investments, which uses non-profit and for-profit investments to transform the lives of low income children in Colorado. Mike was a senior education policy advisor to Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign and transition and served two terms in the Colorado State Senate, 2009-2017, where he passed over 100 bills with bipartisan support.
Latinx Equity Before/After Covid
View an online panel of experts from a health equity agency, city government, school board, and chamber of commerce discussing issues and prospects for Covid-19 recovery for Latinx and Hispanic communities, both locally and nationally. This public conversation addresses equity gaps in education, health, and economics for Latinx and Hispanic Coloradans. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing racial and ethnic inequalities. According to recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, white Coloradans are twice as likely to have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as Hispanic Coloradans.
Moderator and Panelists
Theresa Trujillo currently serves as the Director of Community Organizing at the Center for Health Progress. She is a community organizer with decades of experience in facilitation, deepening community engagement, and campaign management. She understands that community organizing is something we build and create; it does not just magically happen. She relies on the power of storytelling and relationship building as a means of transformation. Theresa’s passion for power building within marginalized communities has guided her to engage in disciplined, strategic practices to build democratic and collective power, and to create the conditions for a community to thrive. Her activism is rooted in her local community and she deeply appreciates the unique opportunity to organize in the community where she was born and raised.
Bobby LeFebre is an award-winning writer, performer and cultural worker fusing a non-traditional multi-hyphenated professional identity to imagine new realities, empower communities, advance arts and culture, and serve as an agent of provocation, transformation, equity and social change. LeFebre is a two-time Grand Slam Champion, a National Poetry Slam Finalist, an Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, and a two-time TEDx speaker. He has performed at hundreds of cultural events, social actions, detention centers, conferences, and colleges and universities across the United States and abroad. LeFebre’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Guardian, American Theater Magazine, NPR, and Poets.Org. In 2019, LeFebre was named Colorado’s 8th Poet Laureate, making him the youngest and first person of color to be appointed to the position in its 100-year history. LeFebre holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Metropolitan University of Denver and a master’s degree in Art, Literature and Culture from the University of Denver.
Councilwoman Deborah “Debbie” Ortega has dedicated her life to serving the citizens of Denver. She was elected Denver Councilwoman At-large in 2011 and reelected in 2015 and 2019. Prior to being elected at-large, Ortega served as the first executive director of Denver’s Homeless Commission. Under her leadership the foundation was laid for the success of Denver’s Road Home, the city’s 10-year plan to end homelessness. She represented City Council District 9 from 1987 to 2003. Councilwoman Ortega led the efforts to have three neighborhoods declared an EPA Superfund site and to clean-up environmental contamination from decades of smelter and other industrial operations in the area. Councilwoman Ortega’s commitment to Denver’s citizens extends beyond her office, as she is currently Chair of Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation, providing housing and services to low-income residents.
Angela Cobián (she/ella) is a is a teacher-turned-community organizer and currently in her first term on the Denver Board of Education. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, she has dedicated her career to building power among students and families. Cobián was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to consult with the NGO Enseña por Mexico on program development for student-led social change initiatives, as well as co-teach English at the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional in Mexico City. Upon returning from Mexico, Cobián began organizing the parents of her former students as a Bilingual Community Organizer with Together Colorado, an affiliate of the Faith in Action National Network. She led school and congregation-based organizing on immigration and education issues. Angela continued her work in collective action as the Director of National Organizing and Development with Leadership for Educational Equity, where she redesigned national programs to shift to anti-racist organizing and coaching organizers to launch new regions across the country. She continues advocacy for civic and social change as the Director of Coalition Advocacy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Action Fund. In recognition of her “dedication and commitment to the Latino community,” Angela Cobián received the Lena L. Archuleta Community Service Award from the Denver Public Library in 2020.
Mike Ferrufino serves as the President/CEO of the Colorado Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, representing a diverse network of more than 100,000 Hispanic owned Colorado businesses. He advocates locally and nationally on behalf of the COHCC members as well as for low-income, minority, and immigrant communities. His expertise in the Hispanic market has helped to increase the effectiveness of regulatory and legislative strategy. He is a national leader in economic development and business strategies and has more than 30 years of experience in Spanish language media as Vice President and General manager of Latino Communications. He is most passionate about empowering traditionally underserved populations to create economic opportunity, close educational opportunity gaps and improve health outcomes.
About the Series
The issue of racism and violence against people of color runs deep. While we‘ve made progress over the years, this feels like a moment when people all over the country recognize that half-measures are not enough. This is a deep, centuries-in-the-making challenge that we face to undo racism, and we need decisive action.
Changing the Legacy of Race & Ethnicity is a conversation series initiated by Colorado Humanities and implemented with partners to encourage understanding and discussion about the legacy of race and ethnicity in America, and how to make changes now for a more just future.
The panel presentations are available to view on Colorado Humanities’ and select partners’ YouTube and Facebook pages.