The NEWSED Community Development Corporation has impacted the Denver area for 44 years. It has worked to develop shopping areas, support minority and neighborhood businesses and increase home ownership.
Each year the organization hosts its “Civil Rights Awards” and the event returns on Oct. 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It is the 26th time the awards are NEWSED hosted and this year is titled “Beyond Borders.”
“This is all a crisis right now with the DACA students and the wall and the racism toward people of color,” Veronica Barela said. Barela is the president and CEO of NEWSED. “We chose (Beyond Borders) because we thought it was appropriate.”
This year’s Civil Rights Awards will see five honorees including Hans Meyer and Qusair Mohamedbhai, two attorneys, First Unitarian Society of Denver, Ramona Martinez, a former Denver City Council Member and the American Disabled for Accessible Public Transit (ADAPT).
Meyer has been hard at work defending immigrants since President Donald Trump took office. One of his most notable clients was Jeanette Vizguerra, a mother who was staying in a Denver church to avoid deportation.
“He really is a champion for immigrants. He is amazing,” Barela said.
The First Unitarian Society of Denver, a church, will be honored at the event and Barela says they “welcome everybody” and even has a Black Lives Matter sign outside.
Martinez was the first Latina to serve as President of Denver City Council. “When she was on City Council she was a huge advocate for small business development, particularly for minority and women owned businesses. She was always very active in the community around issues that impacted poor people and affordable housing,” Barela said.
It is likely you’ve seen the ADAPT organization in the news. The organization has fought for rights of people with disabilities and it famously held protests in Senator Cory Gardner’s Denver waiting room for over 48 hours.
“They’re all over the newspapers. They’re an amazing group,” Barela said.
The Civil Rights Awards honor those who have truly impacted the Denver community. These people have strived to create social justice through their line of work and advocacy.
Single seat tickets can be purchased from the NEWSED website if you click on the events tab. Single seat tickets are $150 while tables for ten people cost $1,500.
“We honor people in all communities. Particularly blacks, LGBTQ, American Indians, Latinos… All people of colors,” Barela said.