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Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award

The 15th Annual Hispanic Leadership Award Finalists

Four finalists have been chosen this year, and each will be honored in their own pregame, onfield ceremony in September. On Saturday, September 16, all four finalists will be recognized prior to the game, followed by the announcement of the overall award winner. Among other benefits, the award winner will receive 2018 Rockies Season Tickets. On behalf of the Colorado Rockies multicultural committee as well as all of the Colorado Rockies department heads, officers and former award winners who participate in this award process each year, we view all four of these finalists as winners and we are indebted to each of them for their tireless work in the Hispanic community.


Anthony Aragon

Honored in a Pregame Ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 6

Anthony Aragon grew up in southwest Denver, and after graduating high school and with encouragement from his parents, he found employment with the City of Denver that eventually led to the Mayor's office, where he has worked in some capacity since age 20. Anthony is a leader, though he doesn't necessarily think of himself that way. He uses a totem pole as an analogy for his leadership style: Each person has a role to play, and the person at the top cannot take on too much nor think too highly of themselves, otherwise the totem pole will become top heavy and collapse. Anthony sees himself as a voice for the voiceless, and has dedicated his personal and professional life to being that voice. Aragon has worked with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Denver Community Correction Board, Urban Peak, Visit Denver, PrideFest, Denver Gay and Lesbian Flag Football League, Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire and the Sheriff Community Advisory Board. Through these organizations, Anthony brings a focus on and commitment to diversity. He ensures all faces of the community are represented in his community work—young and old, gay and straight and people from all cultural backgrounds. Jesse most enjoys doing the work to make events happen in the community, and has been instrumental in the success of the Denver PrideFest parade, one of the largest Pride celebrations in the country.

 


Honorable Christine Arguello

Honored in a Pregame Ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 3

Judge Arguello was born and raised in Colorado and is the mother of four, three of whom were adopted. As the eldest daughter of a railroad foreman and barbershop owner, she came from very humble beginnings, but she rose to accomplish many firsts, among them being the first Latina from Colorado to attend Harvard Law School, first Hispanic to be named partner at one of the "big four" Colorado law firms and ultimately, first Hispanic judge of the U.S. District Court of Colorado. Arguello has always had a passion for imparting the importance of education to achieve dreams no matter your situation. After years of speaking engagements at schools and mentoring youth in her spare time, she realized that speaking was not enough. And along with continuously hearing Colorado law firms complain about the difficulty of finding diverse talent in the state, Arguello was inspired four years ago to create "Law School, Yes We Can," the first of its kind in the country. She designed the program to provide real-world guidance to underserved high school and college-bound students that are mostly Latino, but all youth in need of a more level playing field are welcome. Arguel-lo enlisted more than 80 local lawyers at various points in their careers as well as various nonprofits to create a network of people to help find and mentor mostly first-generation high school and college students. The program requires that the students commit to four years of active participation, including taking bimonthly classes on everything from study habits to networking to law school admissions. In it's fourth year, "Law School, Yes We Can" is elevating the state's diverse talent pool and taking substantial steps toward changing the face of the Colorado bar.

Maria Gonzalez
Honored in a Pregame Ceremony on Monday, Sept. 4

Maria Gonzalez was born in Mexico and came to the United States when she was 13 years old. Her father worked as an agricultural laborer and would return to Mexico every two years until the whole family was able to come to the U.S. Maria married at the age of 16 and had her daughter soon after. Determined to live a life beyond that of a mother, Maria found a job with Planned Parenthood after high school, which led to a job with the State of Colorado. After Maria and her kids escaped a negative home life, she worked hard to start and build a successful business on her own, Gonzalez Insurance Group. The company is now a 10-year-old family owned and op-erated property and casualty business in Commerce City, of which she is CEO and President, and as such, Maria understands what people need in order to properly build and grow their own businesses. In 2010, she founded and is president of Adelante Community Development, a nonprofit organization that provides business coaching and helps Colorado small businesses get connected with resources to promote self-development. Maria is devoted to using her extensive expertise in business, government and non-profits to help guide others to achieve their professional dreams. In addition to her seven years of work through Adelante, Maria has served on multiple nonprofit boards and collaborative coalitions focused on community empowerment, economic drive and social change.

 


Jesse Ogas

Honored in a Pregame Ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 5

Jesse has lived in Colorado for 30 years, coming to Denver by way of New Mexico. Jesse began his career in retail management, work-ing for Target, Mervyn's, Sears and Kohl's, before transitioning into a more community-focused career with ARC as the Director of Latino Outreach. While at ARC, Jesse became inspired by working with children with disabilities and giving them the education and opportunities needed to succeed in the world. His current primary role as CEO of Firefly Autism is a reflection of that inspiration, focusing on children with autism. Jesse has also dedicated countless volunteer hours in support of Denver's Latino community with other local organizations. Having witnessed domestic violence in his own home growing up, Jesse has dedicated time as a board mem-ber for Latina Safehouse, a grassroots organization that was founded to ensure Latinas who are victims of domestic violence have ac-cess to the necessary resources to leave and break the cycle of violence. Jesse has also served on the board of Clinica Tepeyac, where he coordinates the Tortillas for Tepeyac event, which raises funds for the medically underserved. Jesse is passionate about giving those in vulnerable situations the opportunity to thrive, be that in the Latino community or in the greater community in Denver. In his words, "We should never do the good and hard work for recognition. We should do it because it's the right thing to do and can change lives."

Come celebrate our finalists during Hispanic Heritage Night at Coors Field on Sept. 16
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