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2016 Mayor's Diversity Awards

On Thursday, October 6th, 2016, Mayor Michael B. Hancock, along with members of his community commissions,  honored 10 individuals/community organizations who are Igniting through Inspiration, Innovation and Integration for Impact. The 2016 Mayor’s Diversity Awards were hosted by the Denver Strategic Partnerships Commission.

“We are blessed in Denver to have so many diverse leaders making a tremendous difference in our community,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “Through their inspiration, innovation and work toward integration, they truly are having a positive impact on our city, and I’m excited to honor their contributions.”

To watch honoree videos, see below.


2016 Honorees

The Denver American Indian Commission honored Ara Cruz. The co-founder of Café Cultura, Cruz has taught numerous spoken word workshops for youth as well as performed at high schools, conferences, universities and community events. He helped facilitate Words to Actions, an indigenous youth leadership program that provides opportunities for youth to gain confidence, cultural awareness, and leadership skills to strengthen their family, community and/or tribe.

The Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission honored Asian Avenue Magazine. Asian Avenue Magazine began serving the Denver area in July 2006. Since then it has built awareness, knowledge and understanding among the diverse Asian Pacific American communities and the general public through cultural insights, pop culture, news and information. It is the only print publication in Colorado focused on the APA community and culture.

The Denver Commission for People with Disabilities honored Julie Reiskin. As the executive director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, Reiskin brings together a wide variety of people living with disabilities. In addition to helping them form a powerful voice for the disability community, she advocates locally and nationally on policies to serve what has too often been a voiceless community. 

The Denver Women's Commission honored Law School Si Se Puede. In 2014, Federal District Court Judge Christine Arguello and friends launched a four-year mentoring program for college students that works to advance inclusiveness in the legal profession by helping students from Colorado high schools gain the skills, experiences and networks they need to succeed in law school and as lawyers. A board member describes the program as “our own version of a social revolution through education to empower students.”

The Denver Latino Commission honored Lola and Rob Salazar and the Salazar Family Foundation. The Salazars launched the Salazar Family Foundation in 1999 to encourage Denver-area students to achieve their educational goals. By supporting organizations that are committed to improving the quality of education and students’ access to it, such as The Denver Foundation, The Denver Public Schools Foundation, the Jefferson Foundation and the Latin American Educational Foundation, the foundation provides educational opportunities through scholarships, literacy programs and classroom grants.

The Denver Immigrant & Refugee Commission honored Picture Me Here. Picture Me Here teaches digital storytelling skills to refugee immigrants, offering them a means of exploring their new surroundings, preserving their memories and family histories, improving their English and technical skills, and making new friends from around the world.

The Denver African American Commission honored Ray Washington. Washington is founder and executive director of Bigger Than Me, a program that provides mentoring to young fathers and high-risk teens, boxing and basketball programs for young people, and re-entry services for parents.

The Denver Strategic Partnerships Commission honored Renny Fagan. Fagan is the president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, where he advocates for the 20,000 nonprofits that impact the lives of Coloradans every day. He has advocated for policy changes that nonprofits need to do business, including affordable health care and insurance for nonprofits.

The Denver LGBTQ Commission honored The Alexander Foundation. The Alexander Foundation has provided millions of dollars in financial assistance to the LGBTQ community of Colorado. Working in conjunction with a number of referral partners, such as the Colorado AIDS Project, The Gathering Place and Rocky Mountain CARES, the foundation has helped build a stronger LGBTQ community and improve the lives of thousands by providing catastrophic and holiday assistance programs and educational scholarships.

The Denver Commission on Aging honored Wade Buchanan. Buchanan served as president of the Bell Policy Center and the Bell Action Network from 2001 until his retirement this year. Under his tenure, Bell grew from a startup organization to one of the premier progressive policy organizations in the Rocky Mountain West, playing a major role in fiscal reform, education policy, economic security and other key issues that affect the well-being of older adults and working families in Colorado.