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Colorado’s community stories in 2019
Photo courtesy: The Denver Foundation

By Joseph Rios

Celebrating the Salazar family

Lola and Rob Salazar, founders of the Salazar Family Foundation, were among those who received the Outstanding Philanthropist Award in November for the work they accomplished with their foundation. The Salazars have made an impact on their community by contributing over $1 million to the Denver Public Schools Foundation, volunteering for the school district, providing funding for Escuela de Guadalupe and Mi Casa Resource Center.

Adelante Mujer Celebrates 40 years

In 2019, Adelante Mujer celebrated its 40th anniversary. Starting in 1979, Adelante Mujer was created as a nonprofit to assist struggling Latina women to gain entry and succeed in education, employment and economic systems. Today, the organization plays a role in helping young Latinas in a competitive workforce.


The Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) also celebrated its 21st anniversary this year. COLOR, based in Denver, is Latina-led, and it focuses on serving Latinas. The mission of the organization is to build a movement for Latinas, their families and others by helping with leadership development, organization and advocacy to earn reproductive justice, according to COLOR’s mission.

Antonio Esquibel Jr. returns to Abraham Lincoln

Antonio Esquibel Jr. began a new job this year as the principal at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver. He used to teach at the school during the 90s and is a graduate of the school. Abraham Lincoln high School is home to over 1,900 students, with a high percentage of its student body identifying as Hispanic.

A new Finance Director in Colorado

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis filled the last position in his administration by naming Lu Cordova as Colorado’s Executive Director of the State Department of Revenue. Cordova has a background in international finance, cybersecurity, ecommerce and more. The department works with taxation, car registration and drivers’ licenses, the State Lottery, liquor and marijuana sales and gambling regulation.

Don Sandoval passes

Don Sandoval passed away at his home in Denver on April 7. He was a state senator for 15 years before he eventually joined former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb’s administration. He was an assistant for International Trade and Economic Development for Webb’s administration, and he represented District 3 on Denver City Council. He also owned the Bull Ring Lounge restaurant and bar.

MSU earns Hispanic Serving Institution title

Metropolitan State University of Denver was designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution, a title from the federal designation, in 2019. The school records nearly 20,000 students and over 5,000 of those students are Latino. To be named a Hispanic Serving Institution, a school has to have at least 25 percent of its students identify as Latino.

Vino y Chocolate kicks off the season

Vino y Chocolate was back again this year. The idea started 20 years ago when Romaine Pacheco and Sister Alicia Cuaron were brainstorming ways to bring the community together during Christmas. The celebration also helps to raise money for charitable organizations. This year, the event donated presents to El Groupo Vida, an organization that assists people with disabilities or special needs, their parents and their families.

In Memory:

Former Speaker of the House Ruben Valdez passed away on October 1st at age 81. Valdez was an effective politician and community icon.





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