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  • Writer's pictureVoces Unidas de las Montañas

400 Latinas and Latinos participate in 2024 Latino Advocacy Day in Denver

More than 400 Coloradans concluded the 18th Annual Latino Advocacy Day on Monday with a rally at the State Capitol to urge lawmakers to pass legislation that will improve the lives of Latinas and Latinos throughout the state.  

“Since launching LAD 18 years ago, we've seen tremendous growth in the number of Latinos elected and in advancing more progressive and equitable policies. We recognize that we have made progress but we are still far from where we need to be as a state,” said Dusti Gurule, President and CEO of Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR).

Colorado Latino Advocacy Day started in 2007 as a response to anti-immigrant policies including federal and state legislative proposals to ban public services and classify millions of undocumented immigrants as felons. In the 18 years since bringing Latinos to the table to oppose those policies, LAD has deepened the connection between elected officials and the community, bringing lawmakers and community members together to share stories, increase awareness, and advocate for issues facing Colorado’s Latino communities.

“Since its inception, Latino Advocacy Day in Denver has had a meaningful impact in Colorado as Latinos from all four corners of the state have learned how to become leaders in civic engagement and integral participants in the policy decisions that impact our communities,” said Alex Sánchez, President and CEO of Voces Unidas. “Now, 18 years later, we are more organized, more aware, and more involved – and our influence at the policy-making tables continues to grow as a result.”

Just past the halfway point for the 2024 legislative session, LAD participants took advantage of the opportunity to hear from several elected officials before carrying their own messages to the Capitol, where they took part in more than 55 advocacy meetings with state senators and representatives.

Lawmakers addressing the estimated 400 participants and media at Monday’s rally on the West Steps of the Capitol Building included Colorado House Majority Leader Monica Duran (HD-23) and Rep. Elizabeth Velasco (HD-57), Co-Chair of the Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus and the first Mexican-born legislator in state’s history. 

“It doesn’t matter what country we come from – Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia – we are all united in our experiences,” Velasco told attendees. “We want to look for a better future. We want opportunities and resources for our kids. We want to have access to clean air and clean water. We want to be able to have access to education, economic mobility, and to a thriving future.”

Commenting on the importance of LAD, Rep. Duran said: “We understand the importance of having Latino and Latina representation, especially here at the Capitol. We need our voice here in order to leverage the things, the issues, the policies that matter the most to us – our communities – because we know better, right?”

More than 400 people attended LAD throughout the weekend this year – including record turnout from Colorado’s Western Slope. More than half the 2024 participants came from outside the Denver metro area, boosting the 18-year total for LAD participation to more than 5,000 people. 

Following two days of issue education and advocacy training on Saturday and Sunday, LAD participants marched to the Capitol on Monday to rally on the West Steps before meeting with legislators to promote the causes of the Latino community. The Colorado General Assembly acknowledged the long history of contributions by Latinas and Latinos to the state’s policy-making process by passing the 2024 Latino Advocacy Day Resolution earlier in the day.

For many, LAD served as an introduction to advocacy and the legislative process. But since 2021, both new and experienced advocates alike have been guided by the annual Colorado Latino Policy Agenda report to help direct lawmakers toward key areas of change through policies that affect the daily lives of Latinos from across the state. 

Participants this year advocated in support of seven specific bills, including HB-1323 (Graduation Attire), HB-1294 (Updating Protections for Mobile Home Owners), SB-094 (Safe Housing for Residential Tenants), HB-1098 (Requiring Cause for the Eviction of Residential Tenants), HB-1134 (Adjustments to Tax Expenditures to Reduce Burden), HB-1338 (Cumulative Impacts & Environmental Justice), and SB-034 (Increase Access to School-Based Health Care). 

This year’s LAD was convened by Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), COLOR Action Fund, Voces Unidas de las Montañas and Voces Unidas Action Fund.



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