On Wednesday, October 3, Mayor Michael B. Hancock and members of his community commissions honored 10 individuals and organizations with 2018 Mayor's Diversity and Inclusion Awards at an event themed "Confluence-Connection-Continuance" hosted by the Denver American Indian Commission.
"Diversity, inclusion and equity aren't just buzz words in Denver. For us, these are our values, and the individuals we're honoring are proof that we will continue to work together against hate and that we will not allow it to divide us or our city. Today more than ever, we need individuals and organizations to stand up and express our values with their actions. I couldn't be prouder to recognize these ten honorees, because they exemplify Denver's commitment to working together to keep our city a place where our values are celebrated and extended to every resident and neighborhood. ~Mayor Michael B. Hancock
Denver African American Commission
Coach Bobby Cummings (In memoriam)
Bobby Cummings was a leader in the African American community in Denver for over 50 years. He created the Pirates football league and a domino league at Hiawatha Davis (formerly known as Skyline) Recreation Center. Coach Cummings created safe spaces for young men, fathers and sons during times when black-on-black crime and violence were affecting the black community. Cummings’ mentees became community leaders, entrepreneurs and professional athletes. While he passed away in 2017, his impact, domino league and Pirates football organization live on.
Denver American Indian Commission
William "Bill" Tall Bull, Tall Bull Memorial Council Inc.
William "Bill" Tall Bull, member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma, influences the Native and non-native community through teaching and cultural activities, volunteering to show how to erect a teepee, how to harvest buffalo and how to do things traditionally following ancestral steps. Through the Heritage Partnerships Program with the National Park Service-Intermountain Region, he works to preserve national treasures outside of national parks. He is also President/Chairman of the Tall Bull Memorial Council, a nonprofit that manages and oversees the Tall Bull Memorial Grounds that were named in honor of his great-great-grandfather, the Headman of the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers.
Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission
Lutheran Family Services
Lutheran Family Services (LFS) Rocky Mountains, a faith-based, nonprofit human services agency, has helped people who have been uprooted by persecution and violence to work toward self-sufficiency through essential resettlement services including housing, employment, English language and cultural orientation in Colorado since 1978. Committed to offering love and support to those it serves, regardless of race, religion, gender or age, LFS has served people from over 40 countries, including 32,583 clients in 2017 alone.
Denver Commission on Aging
Janine Vanderburg, Changing the Narrative in Colorado
For three decades, Janine Vanderburg has led consulting firm Joining Vision and Action, which has helped thousands of individuals and organizations involved in community and social change to strategize, hear from community, fundraise, develop leadership and evaluate impact. In 2018, she launched Change the Narrative in Colorado, a statewide strategic communications campaign to shift public perceptions about aging and ageism. Vanderburg serves on multiple boards and commissions working to serve the aging community.
Denver Commission for People with Disabilities
The Wayfaring Band Inc.
Living with the credo, "Everybody in," The Wayfaring Band models the vision of an inclusive community, providing travel opportunities to adults who experience a range of intellectual or developmental disabilities with the hope of fundamentally altering the way people experience difference. The Wayfaring Band offers road trips, a fellowship for emerging leaders, and leadership for hire opportunities. The band values mutual aid and service, inclusivity and hospitality, love and gratitude, agency and reflection, and adventure and risk-taking.
Denver Commission for Strategic Partnerships
Mile High Connects
Mile High Connects is a collaborative of organizations from the private, public and nonprofit sectors that are committed to increasing access to housing choices, good jobs, quality schools and essential services via public transit. For low-income communities and communities of color, social, economic, and political systems create and perpetuate even greater barriers to these kinds of opportunities. As a broad-based group of partners committed to furthering equity in the region, Mile High Connects is particularly focused on strategies that intentionally address these disparities.
Denver Immigrant & Refugee Commission
Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN)
RMIAN provides free immigration legal services to immigrant children and adults in immigration detention. The nonprofit promotes knowledge of legal rights, provides effective representation to ensure due process, works to improve detention conditions and advocates for a more humane immigration system, including alternatives to detention. Three years ago, when the United States began to see a rise in unaccompanied minors, RMIAN created a special program to help them. They are providing families separated from their children at the border with referrals to lawyers.
Denver Latino Commission
Tony Garcia, Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center
The heartbeat of Su Teatro, the third-oldest Chicano Theater in the country, is Executive Director Tony Garcia. A member of Su Teatro since 1972, Garcia’s passion for theater and love for his culture and history became a lifelong commitment to Chicano Theater in Denver. He was instrumental in the acquisition of the old Denver Civic Theater in 2010, now home to the Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center. Garcia has shared Latino culture and history with the Denver community while providing local Latino thespians the opportunity to participate in local theater productions.
Denver LGBTQ Commission
Dr. Dan Reirden
Dr. Dan Reirden is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Reirden specializes in clinical care and research related to Adolescent Medicine and Adolescent/Young Adult HIV Medicine. He directs the TRUE Center for Gender Diversity at Children's Hospital, the only comprehensive care center in the Rocky Mountains specifically set up for gender-diverse children, adolescents and young adults to give families the medical care and social/emotional resources they need to provide a stable support system during transition.
Denver Women's Commission
Rosemary Rodriguez, Cafecito
Rosemary Rodriguez was Denver’s Clerk & Recorder from 1997 to 2002, where she fought to create a more transparent, accessible, and equitable process for all Denver voters. From 2003 to 2007, she served as Denver city councilwoman, and until recently acted as U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s State Director and served on the Denver Public Schools Board of Education. Rodriguez has worked to help Denver girls and women gain access to opportunities and is one of the founding and inspirational leaders of Denver's Cafecito, which empowers women and builds communities of impact.
The Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships
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