Forum 2019 Speakers & Performers
David Ayon, Keynote Speaker, author of
Power Shift: How Latinos in California Transformed Politics in America
David R. Ayón is a political analyst, writer and lecturer specializing in Latino politics within the United States and Mexico, as well as relations between these two countries. His work has appeared in ten edited books and reference works, including Foreign Affairs Latinoamerica where he also serves on its editorial board, The American Prospects, the op-ed and Sunday Opinion pages of the Los Angeles Times and several other outlets.
Educated at Princeton, Stanford and El Colegio de Mexico, Ayón has taught courses on politics, U.S.-Latin American relations and Latino Studies at six colleges and universities. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a director of the U.S.-Mexico Foundation. Ayón is senior strategist and advisor at Latino Decisions and a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.
SLVIRC, SOL Awardee
The San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center (SLVIRC) launched in 1987 as one of several programs created by San Luis Valley Christian Community Services. Originally created to serve low-income immigrants' need for assistance in filling out essential applications for political asylum, amnesty and other legal status. SLVIRC is now an independent nonprofit located in Alamosa, Colorado. It educates and empowers immigrants through advocacy, education and immigration legal assistance.
Dominick Moreno, Civic Power Presenter, Community Engagement
Born and raised in Adams County, Dominick Moreno graduated as valedictorian from his public school and then attended Georgetown University where he graduated with a degree in American Government. Dominick was elected to the City Council in Commerce City at the age of 24, becoming the youngest member in the city’s history. He has successfully passed bills to require universal breakfast in all low-income schools and to help families pay for the cost of providing school meals for their children. Dominick was elected to the Colorado Senate in 2016. He previously served in the Colorado House of Representatives for two terms.
Gina Millan, Civic Power Presenter, Community Voice & Narrative
Gina Millán earned a degree in computer science at the Technological Institute of Zacatepec in Mexico. She an immigrant community leader from Morelos, Mexico. She has been involved in the social justice movement since 2007, after having experienced firsthand the abuses against the immigrant community. She has worked with several organizations who defend the rights of immigrants and fighting for justice is her passion. She currently works as a contract organizer with COLOR; this organization gives her the opportunity to continue working for justice and helps women and children in the community.
Gina teaches workshops for Spanish-speaking parents on how to address taboo topics in our Latinx community such as sex and sexuality, abortion, domestic violence, among other topics. She also trains other organizers and health promoters about working with the Latinx community. She also produces and hosts the award-winning radio show "Mujeres de COLOR." Gina moved to Colorado in 1998 and currently lives in Denver with her beautiful daughter, Gianella.
Jesse Ramirez, Civic Power Presenter, Community Action
Jesse Ramirez is a first generation Mexican-American. His dad came to the United States from Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico, at the age of thirteen. His mom was born in Pueblo, Colorado, and her family comes from the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado. Jesse feels his Mexican and Chicano roots have shaped the leader he is today. He is a first generation college graduate having earned a bachelor of arts in political science, minor degrees in Chicano studies and Latin-American studies as well as a master degree in educational leadership from Colorado State University.
Angell Perez, Civic Power Presenter, Community Healing
Angell Perez serves as Executive Director for Circles of Change Colorado, an organization dedicated to creating a pathway for youth to discover sacred relationships with self, family and community to reduce juvenile violence and incarceration. Angell has vast experience providing diversity, inclusiveness, racial equity training and technical support to a variety of nonprofit organizations, private businesses and government agencies. Areas of expertise include providing trainings that build knowledge, develop skills and shift organizational culture within an equity framework that focuses on shared power.
Laura Soto, Bilingual writer, Performer, Interpreter, Activist,
Cultural Broker and Community Leader
Laura Soto is a bicultural community leader from Chihuahua, Mexico, who lives and works in Longmont, Colorado. She is currently the operations manager at Philanthropiece Foundation, serving as a cultural broker, activist, professional interpreter and translator. She is an active member of the Saint Vrain Valley School District Parents Involved in Education taskforce, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Community Language Cooperative and is an artist who shares her activism via performance, spoken-word and written poetry. Laura infuses her poetry with her unique experience as a child growing up in the U.S. undocumented, a young single mother fighting for education and equal opportunity, a DACA recipient crying out for the human rights of all immigrants and a multicultural Latina honoring her intermixed identities.