Please join us for this year's Latino Community Service Awards honoring this year's award recipients. The ceremony will take place at Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales Branch Library on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, at 10 a.m. This event is free and open to the public.
Each year, Denver Public Library celebrates the contributions of Latinos with the Latino Community Service Awards. Awards are given to individuals who have made contributions to our community and are celebrated during a public ceremony during Hispanic Heritage Month. The celebration is a lively event with entertainment and a community reception.
Community members are invited to nominate individuals in the below categories. Award winners are selected by a committee consisting of community members and library staff. The committee is chaired by a member of the Library Commission.
Below are this year's award recipients:
2023 Lena Archuleta Community Service Award: Olga Gonzalez
Olga Gonzalez’s impactful work on education and community development demonstrates her exceptional dedication to empowering her community. Gonzalez’s initiatives have been instrumental in breaking down barriers and providing opportunities for diverse individuals to thrive.
With over 30 years of experience in social justice, Gonzalez serves as the Executive Director of Cultivando, a Latino-serving organization. As the first Indigenous woman to lead the organization, she has expanded its reach and budget, establishing impactful programs like air monitoring and environmental justice initiatives. She also operates O.G. Consulting Services, offering equity facilitation and coaching to businesses and nonprofits. Gonzalez has been honored with numerous accolades, including the Mayor's Award for Outstanding Denver Citizen and recognition for promoting health equity. She holds dual Bachelor's Degrees and a Master's Degree.
Gonzalez's transformative leadership, visionary approach, and commitment to community service make her an exemplary Latino leader. Her distinguished background and her work's impact on education, family support, and social justice showcase her dedication to fostering positive change. She inspires and empowers many within the Denver community.
2023 Eric J. Duran Community Service Award Recipient: Georgina (Gina) Millan
For more than fifteen years, Gina Millan has displayed an unwavering commitment to advocating for immigrant rights and reproductive justice. She has tirelessly championed the cause alongside immigrant women in Denver, addressing sensitive and often taboo topics within the Latino community, such as mental health, youth sexuality, immigration status, workplace harassment, domestic violence, and abortion. Her efforts have provided a platform for open discussions through her award-winning Spanish language radio program, Mujeres de Color, which serves as a safe haven for addressing critical Latino issues.
Millian’s ability to articulate powerful messages has extended to interactions with individuals in positions of authority, where she has advocated passionately for policies that benefit the Latino community. Throughout her years of community work, she has presented compelling testimonies in committees, engaged in direct conversations with elected officials, and motivated others to participate in civic engagement.
Originally from Morelos, Mexico, Millan has called Denver home for nearly 25 years. Her journey into the social justice movement began in 2007 after witnessing firsthand the mistreatment of the immigrant community. She has collaborated with various immigrant rights organizations, including Rights for All People and the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. Millian views her pursuit of justice as a lifelong passion, and her involvement with Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) offers her a valuable avenue to continue advocating for justice while supporting women and children in the community. She holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from the Instituto Tecnológico de Zacatepec in Mexico.
2023 César Chávez Latino Leadership Hall of Fame Award Recipient: Leo Tanguma
Leo Tanguma's significant contribution to the Denver community lies in his captivating murals, notably showcased at Denver International Airport. These murals serve as a unique gift to Colorado, symbolizing unity and shared aspirations for peace and love, irrespective of one's origin.
Tanguma's impact extends further through his creation of a 3D mural within Metropolitan State University of Denver's Jordan Student Success Center. Collaborating with individuals dealing with mental illnesses, he aimed to provide them with a platform and a voice often overlooked by society. This endeavor communicated that their experiences matter and they are integral to the larger community, reshaping perceptions and encouraging empathy.
As an accomplished Chicano muralist, Tanguma's work has resonated nationally, though his most prolific contributions are concentrated in the Denver region. Through his art, he bridges divides, fosters inclusivity, and instills a sense of belonging among diverse communities.
2023 César Chávez Latino Leadership Hall of Fame Award Recipient: Ellen Grace Alires-Trujillo
Ellen Grace Alires-Trujillo dedicated her life to social justice and community service, serving as an attorney at Colorado Legal Services for over 30 years. Her work encompassed housing rights, homelessness prevention, family and children's units, and health/elder law units. Despite facing ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease, which left her without the use of her limbs or voice, she continued mentoring and engaging with students and scholarship groups.
She believed in empowering children with empowering histories so that they could get a sense of their potential and challenge them to dream and work hard. Alires-Trujilloplayed a pivotal role in Colorado's first Medical Legal Partnership and was actively involved in various organizations and boards, advocating for cultural preservation and social change.
Throughout her life, Alires-Trujilloreceived numerous accolades, including awards like the Social Justice Award from Dia de la Mujer Latina and the Outstanding Hispanic Lawyer Award from the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. Her contributions were recognized not only in the legal field but also for her impact on the community. She is celebrated and remembered as a trailblazer, leaving an enduring legacy of dedication to social activism and cultural heritage. The award will be presented post-humously to her family and friends.
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
The Lena L. Archuleta Community Service Award
The recipient will be a person of Latino descent who has made a positive impact on the Denver community, beyond paid employment, in the field of education, youth development, early childhood programming, or education policy. This includes formal and informal educators. The recipient does not have to live in Denver to receive the award; however, their work must impact the Denver community. Nominations encouraged for early to mid career professionals.
Past award recipients are:
- Lena L. Archuleta (2002)
- Olibama Lopez Tushar (2003)
- Beverly Martinez (2004)
- Carlos Fresquez (2005)
- Anthony J. Garcia (2006)
- Magdalena Aguayo (2007)
- Rosa Linda Aguirre (2008)
- Clara Ricciardi (2009)
- Florence Hernández-Ramos (2010)
- Rita Flores de Wallace (2011)
- Lucia S. Aandahl (2012)
- Carlota EspinoZa (2013)
- Adelia Trujillo-Cisneros (2014)
- Jamie Torres (2015)
- Pilar Castro-Reino (2016)
- Olga J. Garcia (2017)
- Dr. Michele Trujillo (2018)
- Solicia E. Lopez (2019)
- Angela Cobián (2020)
- Phillip Benitez Gallegos, Jr. (2021)
- Dr. Irene Martinez Jordan (2022)
Eric J. Duran Community Service Award
The recipient will be a person of Latino descent who has made a positive impact on the Denver community, beyond paid employment, to advance community development and/or cultural life through their involvement with the Denver Public Library or another civic institution. The recipient does not have to live in Denver to receive the award; however, their work must impact the Denver community. Nominations encouraged for early to mid career professionals.
Past award recipients are:
- Eric J. Duran (2015)
- Frank Fresquez (2016)
- Antonio Mercado (2017)
- Anthony R. Aragon (2018)
- Diana Chavez (2019)
- Jesse Ogas (2020)
- Gloria Rubio-Cortés (2021)
- Elaine D. Torres (2022).
The César Chávez Latino Leadership Hall of Fame Award
The award, presented annually, will celebrate the induction of an individual into the César Chávez Leadership Hall of Fame. The recipient will be a Coloradan of Latino descent who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to social justice and has made a significant positive impact on their community through community organizing, direct service, and/or advocacy and public policy.
Past award recipients are:
- Ruben Valdez & Lena L. Archuleta (2002)
- Manuel “Sam” Sandos & Polly Baca (2003)
- Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales & Mary Baca (2004)
- The Honorable Roger Cisneros & Rosemary Rodriguez (2005)
- Senator Ken Salazar & Reverend Lucia Gúzman (2006)
- Secretary Federico Peña & Flora Rodriguez Russel (2007)
- Salvadore (Sal) Carpio Jr. & Patricia Barela Rivera (2008)
- Jim Garcia & Katherine Archuleta (2009)
- Bernard “Bernie” Valdez & Denise Maes (2010)
- Carlos Castañeda & Dr. Patricia Baca (2011)
- Guillermo “Bill” Vidal & Theresa K. Peña (2012)
- Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia & Councilwoman Judy H. Montero (2013)
- Ramon Del Castillo, Ph.D. & Lydia Prado, Ph.D. (2014)
- Don Mares & Angie Rivera-Malpiede (2015)
- Dr. Luis Torres & Marlene De La Rosa (2016)
- Jenny A. Santos & Manuel Ramos (2017)
- Renee Fajardo J.D. & Carlos Santistevan (2018)
- Dr. Priscilla Falcón & Councilwoman Deborah “Debbie” Ortega (2019)
- Emanuel Martinez & Guadalupe “Lupe” Briseño (2020)
- Veronica Barela, Geraldine Irene Gonzales (posthumous inductee)
- Shirley Romero Otero (2021)
- Jordan T. Garcia (2022).
The awards committee, in its discretion, can place a nominee into another award category where they are a better fit per the nominees impact/service to the community.
About the Awards
Lena L. Archuleta Award
The award is named for Lena L. Archuleta, longtime educator, civic leader and former Denver Public Library Commissioner, who worked tirelessly to establish greater ties between the Hispanic Community and the Denver Public Library.
Eric J. Duran Award
The award is named for Eric J. Duran, community leader and former Denver Public Library Commissioner, who worked tirelessly to strengthen and maintain ties between the Hispanic Community and the Denver Public Library.
César Chávez Award
The award is named for César Chávez, a national Hispanic leader who served the Latino community and helped Latinos gain recognition for their contributions to the nation. He is known for his support of farm workers, which resulted in the formation of the United Farm Workers, and his commitment to public action, social justice and non-violence.