More than 64 leaders from Parachute, Rifle, Silt, New Castle, Glenwood Springs, Gypsum, Carbondale, El Jebel and Basalt participated in the first-ever Latina and Latino Policy Listening Tour in Glenwood Springs this past Saturday, September 25 from 10:30 a.m to 2:30 p.m.
Hosted by Voces Unidas, in partnership with COLOR, The Latino Caucus, Protégete and CIRC, the goal of the event was to identify local issues and community-informed policy solutions.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for Latinas and Latinos to drive the change that we want to see in our communities,” said Alex Sánchez, executive director of Voces Unidas. “We know what we want and what we need to thrive in the tri-county region.“
Participants had the opportunity to share their lived experiences and offer their solutions on seven policy issue areas, including immigrant justice, health and reproductive justice, jobs and economic justice, environmental justice, community policing and criminal justice, housing justice, and education justice. Each discussion was facilitated by a community leader and a state lawmaker, including Senators Julie Gonzales, Robert Rodriguez and Dominic Moreno, and Representatives Alex Valdez, Adrienne Benavidez, Monica Duran, Kerry Tipper, David Ortiz and Donald Valdez.
At the local level, Voces Unidas will use the feedback and community-informed solutions to develop the organization's local policy agenda and legislative priorities. The feedback and input from this meeting will also help to inform the first-ever statewide Latina and Latino policy platform to identify regional issues and community-informed legislative priorities. To develop this statewide policy platform, the coalition partners are using feedback and data from a first-ever poll of 1,000 Latino registered voters, a first-ever statewide Latino grassroots leader survey and several in-person regional meetings across the state, such as the one in Glenwood Springs.
Voces Unidas will report back to the community in November on the larger statewide Latina and Latino policy platform. This is in preparation for Latino Advocacy Day, a two-day event scheduled for March 2022 in Denver for Latino leaders to meet with their state lawmakers to advocate for issues that are important to them. Participants of the September 25 meeting will be invited to the Denver event in 2022.