Guests of Honor

Nothing can exist in a vacuum. The two months we’ve spent working on this march has given us a whole new appreciation of those who work tirelessly everyday throughout the year to better this world and their communities. 

We are standing on the shoulders of giants and with humility and great respect we are honored to be marching next to a few of the gracious and passionate women who spend their lives working toward a brighter America for all of us: 

CristinaAguilar Executive Director – COLOR (Colorado Organization for LatinaOpportunity and Reproductive Rights)

"COLOR works to build a movement of Latinas, their families and allies to shape the policies that impact our lives. We organize and mobilize the Latinx community to speak out and be a positive force. And that’s what we are here to do today because when we come together and leverage our collective strength, we cannot be defeated.  Together, we will achieve Reproductive Justice.

Reproductive justice, a movement started and led by women of color, demands that we can all access abortion care when we need it, that we each have the right to decide when we are ready to parent and that we also have the right to have a child and to parent the children we have with dignity.   It demands that we all have the affordable health services and the support we need to prevent pregnancy, to terminate a pregnancy and to have a healthy pregnancy. 

COLOR is marching so that women of color are no longer exploited, discriminated against or harmed by the health care system or other legal and political systems that deny equal rights and dignity.

We are marching so that we can control our birthing options, choose our sexual partners, determine and express our own gender and create the relationships and families that we choose and the healthy, empowered sex lives that we want.  

We are marching to achieve a vision where Latinas and our families have the knowledge, freedom and power to access a full range of opportunities that promote the health of our bodies, minds and spirit.

Women of color have always been on the front lines when it comes to movements for equality and justice.  We have been there and we have made a difference!  We are building on that legacy today.

Women of color are not and will not be an afterthought.  We will tell our stories and mobilize our voices and our votes to push back on anyone who will try to deny our bodily autonomy, disrespect our families or withhold the power, access and resources that we all need to make healthy decisions about our bodies, sexuality, relationships and families. 

The Women’s March platform affirms that “our liberation is bound in each other’s.” COLOR will do all we can to ensure the liberation of women and families here in Colorado and across the country.  We will do that with each of you by our sides because together will find the support, the community and the strength to achieve a shared vision of empowerment, equality and justice. " 

Aguilar is a longtime Colorado resident dedicated to building bridges across movements and issues in order to create true and lasting change.  As the director of a national, early childhood education program with Head Start, she supported language and culture retention for immigrant, migrant, and refugee children and families. Cristina serves as a member of the political action committee for One Colorado, the state’s premier LGBT advocacy group where she also co-founded the People of Color Caucus.  She was also a mayoral appointee to the Mayor of Denver's LGBT Commission, where she was twice elected as vice-chair and also served as public policy chair.

Aguilar has been honored for her leadership and achievements. She was just named one of Top 25 Most Powerful Women of Colorado 2017 by the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. In 2015, she was selected to be a Livingston Fellow and a German Marshall Fund Marshall Memorial Fellowship where she travelled to five countries exploring reproductive justice approaches and innovation through a global lens.   She has been recognized as an Influential Woman of Color 2015 by the Colorado Black Roundtable and received the 2015 NEWSED Civil Rights Award, the 2012 Circle of Latina Leadership (CLL) Juana Bordas Leadership Legacy Award and was named to the 2012 Out Front Colorado Power List.

Neha is the daughter of South Asian immigrants and has supported social justice and community organizing work for over 15 years.  Locally she has served as Co-Director of the Chinook Fund, Colorado’s only community-led social justice foundation, and Survivors Organizing for Liberation, a statewide organization dedicated to LGBTQ justice and youth organizing. She is also on the board of GIFT and a member of Standing in Our Power, a national network of women of color committed to transforming leadership for social justice movements.

Best Advice Received/Given: Any healing that you can undertake in your lifetime extends backwards to generations of ancestors and forwards to the generations to come.

Favorite Quote: “They said: ‘You are a savage and dangerous woman.’ I am speaking the truth.  And the truth is savage and dangerous.” – Nawal El Saadawi

9to5 has also been a local and national leader in fighting for Equal Pay for women - especially highlighting the inequities for women of color (i.e. Latina women make 56cents to every dollar a white man makes).  We will be doing lots of actions around Equal Pay Day this coming April

Christine AlonzoCLLARO (Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization) Board of Directors

Christine Alonzo was born in Las Vegas New Mexico; she has three children and an 8 year old Granddaughter. She is a former President of LULAC Council #3043 in Pueblo Colorado, and the former Vice President of the LCLAA Denver Chapter where she served for 4 years. As a former Executive Director at the Colorado Latino leadership Advocacy Research organization; the oldest Civil Rights Organization in Colorado she worked with other leaders, Government, and organizations advocating for the Latino Community. Christine is currently the Director of Internal Property Services at SEIU Local 105, she comes with a wealth of experience in Labor and Community Advocacy; she also serves on the State Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission Representing Colorado and sits on several different boards and commissions. 

Felicia Griffin -  FRESC Executive Director

I believe in our shared humanity.  I believe we can re-define the American dream into a dream that provides real equity and opportunity for all!  But I know that we won't accomplish it -- if we don't unite, if we don't talk, if we don’t love each other and extinguish our biases against each other.  We must wake from the corporate program that consumes us and our earth. This will be the fight of our lives -- what happens now -- will define the future of our great grandchildren.  I will do my part.  Will you?

Felicia Griffin is the Executive Director for FRESC: Good Jobs, Strong Communities. She joined FRESC in 2013 after working as the Operations Director for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. Felicia started her work in social and economic justice in 2002 and has worked as a research associate, deputy director, consultant, interim director, president and program manager since then. Felicia has worked on economic security policy on the state and national level (in partnership with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) and has worked on statewide organizing campaigns to increase Medicaid enrollment for children in poverty. She also has led a campaign funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation called “Race Matters: Policy through a Racial Lens” that focused on reducing disparities for communities of color in housing, employment, health and education. She represents FRESC on the board of the Partnership for Working Families, the national network to which FRESC belongs. Felicia is also the current Chair of the Aurora Human Relations Commission.

PatriciaBarela RiveraFirst Latina District Director for the United States Small Business Administration

"I am proud to be an American, Hispanic and Female. I'm passionate about continually fighting and advocating for respect, dignity, humility and equal access for all people. I was raised on a small ranch in New Mexico and I was taught as a young girl that I MUST be of service to people that have not had the opportunities that I have had.  

To quote a Latina Heroine of mine, Dolores Huerta, a Civil Rights Activists:

"The great social justice changes in our country have happened when people came together, organized, and took direct action.  It is this right that sustains and nurtures our democracy today. The civil rights movement, the labor movement, the women's movement, and the equality movement for our LGBT brothers and sisters are all manifestations of these rights."

Patricia has received numerous accolades including; 2014, Vale La Pena Award, Boy Scouts of America, 2013, KeyBank Achieve Award, 2013, Civil Rights Award, Anti-Defamation League, 2012, 25 Most Influential Women in Denver, Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, 2010, Professional Women of the Year, Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, 2009, Martin Luther King, Jr., Business Social Responsibility Award, 2008, Life Time Achievement Award, Escuela Tlatelolco, 2008, Life Time Achievement Award, Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 2008, Life Time Achievement Award, Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, 2008, Outstanding Leadership Award, Vote No on 46 Campaign, 2007, Be Bold Award, Denver Women’s Foundation, 2007, Athena Award Recipient, Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, 2007, Leadership in Business Award, Black Economic Summit Annual Conference, 2006, SBA Administrator’s Award for Excellence, “100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States”, Hispanic Business Magazine and many more.

Patricia sits and has sat on a tremendous amount of boards including; the University of Denver Latino Leadership Institute, Colorado Women’s Circles of Influence, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Denver Zoo, Black Chamber of Commerce, Denver Biennial of the Americas, National Hispanic Cultural Center, to name a handful.

Beth McCann – First female District Attorney for the City and County of Denver

Beth McCann was sworn in on Tuesday Jan. 10, 2017 as the first female District Attorney for the City and County of Denver. Prior to this position, Beth served as the State Representative for House District 8 of central and northeast Denver. In that role, she successfully passed several bills related to criminal justice reform and equal treatment of women in health care. She plans to make Denver a leader in criminal justice reform including providing alternatives to jail for young people and those suffering from mental health and substance abuse. Mass incarceration is another issue she plans to address She will make the office transparent and accountable and welcomes community input and engagement.

Beth served as a deputy and chief deputy district attorney here in Denver for many years, trying all levels of criminal cases. She also served as the Deputy Attorney General in charge of Civil Litigation and Employment Law in the Colorado Attorney General’s office, supervising 33 trial lawyers. She was Denver’s first female Manager of Safety in the early 1990s under Mayor Wellington Webb. She started the Safe City Program to help kids stay out of gangs, drugs and violence, which contributed to reducing juvenile crime by 20 percent here in Denver.


For Emmy Award winning journalist, Tamara Banks, the statement, “One Person Can Make a Difference,” is more than just words.

Ms. Banks is currently using her 25 years of journalism experience to evoke positive social transformation in our local community and globally through excellence in journalism and civic engagement.

As a freelance correspondent for a number of news organizations including Al Jazeera America, PBS, BBC Tamara focuses on stories about social injustice. And as an independent documentary filmmaker she travels to conflict zones like South Sudan to shine a bright light on crimes against humanity and genocide. Ms. Banks is also the Video Producer at the University of Denver.

Lannie Garrett is a singer and recording artist who has been a Denver entertainment icon for decades. In 2016, she was inducted into both the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and the Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame.

For 10 years, she owned Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, where she not only performed her many eclectic shows, but also booked premiere local and national acts of all kinds. She previously owned and operated the popular Ruby Nightclub.

Lannie is a long-time supporter of a wide variety of local organizations including The Denver Kids Program, Project Angel Heart, Step 13, and Excelsior Youth Center

Luella Chavez D'Angelo - Vice Chancellor Enterprise Development CU Office of Chancellors
As vice chancellor for enterprise development since February 1, 2016, Luella Chavez D’Angelo leads the extraordinary CU South Denver enterprise, working to maximize its full potential and impact as a unique and innovative education delivery model and valued asset of the CU system. This includes the management of its people, partnerships, promotions and academic programs all four CU campuses, the Liniger Building facility and The Wildlife Experience community services: a museum, K-12 education, community programs, and event hosting and space rental.

Prior to becoming CCO, D’Angelo served as Western Union’s senior vice president, Social Ventures, where she developed and executed strategies to address corporate social responsibility, sustainability and philanthropic strategies. She also served as inaugural director of the First Data Western Union Foundation and president of the Western Union Foundation for 11 years.

Earlier in her career, D’Angelo led the creation of the Western Union/First Data Foundation and served as its president for 11 years. Luella previously served as chief marketing officer for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and vice president of institutional development for the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

In 2014, D’Angelo was recognized by the Denver Business Journal, receiving a lifetime achievement award as an Outstanding Woman in Business. She was also named as one of the Top Ten leaders by Hispanic Executive Magazine and was recognized by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce as one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in 2013 and for Lifetime Achievement in 2010.

Nita is the President/CEO of Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios, a nationally recognized model for Chicano/Mexicano and indigenous education located in Denver, CO. Escuela Tlatelolco was originally founded over forty six years ago to provide culturally competent and socially conscious education to predominantly Latino youth. Nita also has a long record of supporting causes and activities that promote the economic, political, social, and educational strength of Latinos and underserved populations. She is a founder of the Chicano/Mexicano Education Coalition, the Denver Youth Employment and Education Task Force, and co-founder of the Colorado Latino Forum. She also is a board member of numerous organizations working to promote the welfare of the Latino community including Clinica Tepayac, the Denver City and County Community Oversight Board, and a member of the President’s Cabinet for Metropolitan State College. 

 Instrumental in the assisting with the creation of the Red Earth Women’s Alliance, a coalition of women from a variety of communities, but whose core is Chicana/Indigenous, Ms. Gonzales works collaboratively with TroyLynn Yellow Wood to provide a liberatory model of progress for a different future from a women’s perspective. She has also provided essential leadership in the All Nations Alliance (ANA), a coalition of over eighty social justice organizations from Denver-Boulder.


In response to several cases of police and Chicano/Mexicano community conflicts, Ms. Gonzales 1997- 2009 organized “United Families,” a community-based organization to monitor police behavior. Initially developed to watch police interactions with Chicano youth during the annual Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) celebrations in Denver, “United Families” positioned parents, grandparents and other committed community members on street corners along Federal Blvd. to work in concert with police for different events throughout the year.


Ms. Gonzales is the recipient of many awards and honors for her work in educational and community empowerment which includes this year’s Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce 2015 Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Denver, 2012 White House Cesar Chavez Champion Award, 2010 Latina Chamber Trailblazer Award, 2008 Colorado Pioneer Women’s Award, 2005 Metropolitan State University Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Award, 2003 LARASA’s Bernie Valdez Award in Education, 2003 Girl Scouts’ Woman of Distinction Award, 2001 Judy Kaufman Award, 1999 Families First Pat Schroeder Award, 1996 Hunt Alternative Fund Individual Leadership award, 1995U.S. Department of Justice Community Service Award, the 1985, 93, & 95 Benito Juarez Award for Community Service, and the 1992 NEWSED Civil Rights Award.

Lizeth Chacon, an immigrant from Chihuahua, Mexico, came to Colorado at the age of 12. During her first years of school, Lizeth noticed the injustices and difficulties many immigrants face; from that moment she began volunteering at her school and got involved in the immigrant

rights movement. Lizeth was the first one of her family to graduate from college; she graduated in 2010 from the University of Colorado. In 2015 she led the creation and became the Founding Executive Director of Colorado People’s Alliance (COPA), a racial justice, member-led organization working for economic, climate, immigrant and racial justice.

Pat Waak - Former chair of the Colorado Democratic Party

Pat Waak is a nurse, a psychotherapist and a theologian whose has been fighting for women's reproductive rights and the environment as a Peace Corps Volunteer, an international development worker, environmental activist, author, film maker and political strategist. She was the Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party from 2005-2011. She currently serves as the President of the Colorado Women's Leadership Circles of Influence and Chair of the Board for the League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradans

TamraRyan - CEO Women's Bean Project

Tamra Ryan is the CEO of Women’s Bean Project, a nationally-recognized social enterprise based in Denver, CO that provides transitional employment, while operating manufacturing businesses, to women attempting to break the cycle of chronic unemployment and poverty. She was recently named one of the 2017 Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Colorado. Ms. Ryan is the author of The Third Law, a book which highlights the societal obstacles and internal demons that must be overcome for marginalized women to change their lives. The Third Law has won multiple awards for women/minorities in business and social activism.


Juana immigrated to the US from Nicaragua on a banana boat. The first in her family to complete college, she joined the Peace Corps and later received the US

Peace Corps’ Franklin Williams Award for her life-long commitment to advancing communities of color.

Juana is a founder of Mi Casa Resource Center and founding President of the National Hispana Leadership Institute. In 2002 she founded Denver’s Circle of Latina Leadership – 165 young Latinas graduated. Many are now in leadership positions. Latina Style magazine commended her for “Creating a nation of Latina leaders.”

She is the author of two- award winning books The Power of Latino Leadership and Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age


Morgan Carroll is the second woman in the history of Colorado to serve as the Colorado Senate President, and the only woman to also serve as the Majority Leader and Minority Leader.  She is a civil rights and disability attorney and began her career in one of the only mother-daughter law firms in the country.  She is the author of Take Back Your Government:  A Citizens Guide To Grassroots Change and has dedicated her career to empowering others to participate in the political and legislative process.  She has focused on lobbying reforms, campaign finance reforms, women’s equality, climate change and civil rights legislation.  She ended gender discrimination in health insurance rates, and ended the practice of forced co-parenting between survivors of sexual assault and their rapist in Colorado.

SisterAlicia Cuaron

As a motivational speaker, Cuarón has focused on empowerment, particularly of Latinas, through leadership development and education. She is a founder of Adelante Mujer, which promotes the education and training of multigenerational Latinas. She chaired the Colorado Council on Working Women and designed a leadership program, EXITO, to provide assistance for women in professional and personal development. She is also one of the founders of the Circle of Latina Leadership, created to develop the women leaders of the future.


In her fifties, already a successful entrepreneur and prominent Latina leader, Alicia Cuarón entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity. This gave her the opportunity to concentrate fully on her spiritual and personal mission to help those who were most in need. Sister Alicia founded and was the first director of Familia Franciscan AIDS Ministry. She established Centro Bienestar, which became a ministry of Centro San Juan Diego of the Archdiocese of Denver. Today the Center serves more than 10,000 families per year, offering citizenship, GED, computer and English classes, leadership programs, and supportive social services. Sister Alicia is a pioneer in visualizing, implementing, developing, and institutionalizing efforts to help immigrants transition into mainstream society. She started Faith Action, now a program of Historic Denver, to preserve sacred landmarks in Denver. Her service extends to many other community organizations, including the American Red Cross, Woman’s Forum of Colorado, and Mile High United Way, and her activities continue to minister to people across Colorado.

LucilleEchohawkLucille Echohawk – Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA), Spirit of the Sun, Inc.

Lucille Echohawk is a citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. She has lived in the metro Denver area for more than 35 years, working both locally and nationally on behalf of vulnerable Native families with both the grant seeking and philanthropic sectors as well as with tribal nations and urban Native communities. Though semi-retired Lucille remains active both nationally and locally. 

Lucille is co-founder of Native Americans in Philanthropy, The Denver Indian Center and the Denver Indian Family Resource Center and served as board chair of these three non-profit organizations as well as a donor for each. Currently as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), she is assisting with the creation of an Indian Child Welfare Act Court, which will be the third such court in the country. In her role as a VISTA with Spirit of the Sun, Inc. she is serving as project lead for an Empowering Native Youth in Metro Denver project funded by the Rose Community Foundation. Also in conjunction with that work she is lead convener for the local planning committee assisting the United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY), which national organization is bringing its 2017 conference to Denver in July, 2017.