Multicultural Action Committee, Unity in the Community Award
In 2003, the Longmont City Council established the Community Unity Award in memory of "Woody" Palasek who served as the first Co-Chair of the Longmont's Multicultural Strategic Plan steering committee. In his work, he exemplified: dedication to the Longmont community; optimism in the ability to achieve an inclusive/diverse community; enthusiasm; a sense of humor; vision; and generosity of spirit and heart. Woody died unexpectedly in 2003 and, in his memory, the Longmont City Council presents an annual "Community Unity Award" to community leaders who are working to ensure that Longmont is a caring, inclusive community that embraces, respects and celebrates our diversity.
Each year, members of the community have the opportunity to nominate an individual they believe embodies the above attributes, as well as displays a passion for working with all segments of the community to truly unite, embrace, respect and celebrate each person in our community. Nominations are reviewed by a committee appointed by the Longmont Multicultural Action Committee, who then recommends an award recipient to Longmont City Council. Awards are presented by City Council during the Inclusive Communities celebration.
Previous Award Recipients
2004 / 2005 / 2006 / 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011
2011 Community Award Winner
Norma Fuentes has worked for Intercambio Uniting Communities in the Longmont Office for over three years. During her time with Intercambio, Norma has created new partnerships with several Longmont schools (Central, Spangler, Skyline and Rocky Mountain), faith communities, and nonprofit organizations in order to expand locations that offer English classes. She has led cultural trainings and “Living in the US” workshops for hundreds of immigrants and US born Americans. She helped start computer classes in Spanish at the Intercambio Longmont Office, and over 40 people have learned basic computer literacy skills. Norma is an integral part of “Parents Involved in Education” and tirelessly promotes their educational workshops.
Norma is an incredible leader and connector in the Longmont community. She has the ability to bring together hundreds of diverse people for trainings, classes and events. People respect Norma for her strong work ethic and passion for education and intercultural harmony. Her friendly smile and welcoming attitude makes everyone feel at home within the Intercambio organization and the Longmont community. Longmont is so fortunate that Norma Fuentes is an involved member of our community.
2010 Community Award Winner
Perla Delgado- Her dedication towards building a community that is inclusive and equitable is evident in her professional and personal life. She has served tirelessly the Longmont community. She served on the Multicultural Action Steering Committee and Education Taskforce, and lead the development of the leadership training class named PERL (People Engaged in Raising Leaders). Perla works closely with St. Vrain Valley Schools and Latino parents, supporting their rights and responsibilities. Created SASSE which was a group of young Latino’s working to inform and empower other Latino to go to college. In collaboration with St. Vrain Valley School District and Front Range Community College created college fair, parent information session and other opportunities to find out what resources and options are available for higher education. Perla is respected in both the majority community and the communities of color. She knows from personal experience the importance of feeling welcomed, valued and appreciated for what you have to offer. Perla believes it is important to give back to the community.
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2009 Community Unity Award Winner
Bob Norris - Has worked tirelessly on inclusion and immigration issues at the national, regional and local levels. He is a member of the El Comité Board of Directors, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, St. Vrain Latino Coalition, Hispanic Education Foundation, as well as many other non-profit and advisory boards and committees. He has been active in voter registration and has personally volunteered many hours staffing those booths himself. He has been a vocal advocate for the Dream Act and Tuition Equity legislation, and has been instrumental in organizing grass root efforts and voices in contacting our state and national legislators in support of these pieces of legislation. Bob volunteers at citizen workshops sponsored by El Comité to help immigrants complete their applications for citizenship. He has also been a strong advocate for more inclusive participation on local boards and commissions and has worked with local officials and state legislators to help bring about change.
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2008 Community Unity Award Winners
Marta Moreno - Marta is the Executive Director of El Comité de Longmont. She not only dedicates her time to the Longmont community through her work with El Comité, she also volunteers her time for many other community organizations and causes. Marta works with people from all parts of the world and works tirelessly toward reaching her vision that all people in Longmont live together in harmony, without racism or prejudice, and that everyone is treated with equality and not judged by their skin color. Marta will make the time to help anyone out whether it be spiritually, helping to access resources, or just engaging in a heartfelt, one-on-one talk. Marta has received many regional and county-wide awards and recognition for her leadership and contributions.
Louie Lopez - Louie has dedicated his personal and professional life to helping youth overcome barriers and challenges and learn new skills, so that they can be successful in their lives. At the same time, he works to build the community's capacity in connecting with youth, families and each other. For the past ten years, Louie has been working with you at the Longmont Youth Center - in the after school program and most recently with the gang prevention and intervention program. Louie always give selflessly of his time and talents for the community - volunteering for youth activities and going above and beyond in his work everyday to help create positive connections for youth at home, within their neighborhoods, schools and the community so that they will receive support and recognition from positive influences in their lives. He is passionate about making sure that our neighborhoods and community embrace and respect people from all different cultures, so that everyone feels that they belong and have pride. Not long ago, the City of Longmont received an All-America City award. The judges commented that of Longmont's strengths was its work with youth and that the community authentically valued their voice and participation. That is a clear reflection of Louie's efforts every day to make a difference in the lives of youth in the Longmont community.
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2007 Community Unity Award Winner
Mary Vigil - Mary has been contributing her incredible talent, energy, enthusiasm, collaboration, leadership and compassion to the Longmont community all her life. For the past 17 years, Mary has worked for Alternatives for Youth and is currently the program director of Celebrando la Familia. In her role, she designs, manages, and facilitates homework clubs in different schools, summer youth programs, the Folklorico Dance Troupe, parent meetings and numerous community partnerships. As part of the homework clubs, she works closely with school principals, teachers and parents. She brings so much support to children and their parents - helps them understand how the school system works, how to participate in their child's school, how to talk with teachers about their children, and how to get involved. Besides being the backbone of Alternatives for Youth, Mary is very involved in the Longmont community- helping to organize the Cinco de Mayo, Diez y seis de Septiembre, and Dia de los Muertos events.
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2006 Community Unity Award Winner
Ed Green - Ed served the Longmont community in many ways. His association with the Longmont Sister Cities Association and community events like Cinco de Mayo demonstrated his strong belief in the youth and diversity of the Longmont community. He viewed these efforts as opportunities to bring individuals from all segments of the community together in a positive, safe environment to foster cultural understanding. He was a strong advocate for the Sister Cities student exchange program believing that if the youth of our community had the opportunity to meet youth from Mexico and Japan this too, would lead to cultural understanding. When Ed heard about budget problems that Ciudad Guzman has having and that they were unable to send students to Longmont for a cultural exchange, Ed paid for the students' airfare, using life insurance money he had recently received when his wife, Christiane succumbed to cancer. Cancer also cut Ed's life short in 2006, but those who were touched by his kindness established the "Ed Green Scholarship" so that the Longmont community can carry forward Ed's acts of generosity to make sure that other students who wish to visit Longmont through the Sister Cities Program will be able to do so.
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2005 Community Unity Award Winner
Marietta Gonzales - Marietta truly values, honors and embraces our community's diversity. Marietta believes that a strong community is built through strong education and planning. To foster these beliefs she volunteers her time to the Longmont Multicultural Plan effort where she serves as co-chair of the Education Task Force and a member of the steering committee. Marietta is a volunteer teacher for Intercambio de Comunidades teaching English as a second language.
Marietta recently served on the Coordinating Team for Longmont's strategic planning process - Focus on Longmont. She was instrumental in recruiting community members to participate in this unique planning process that involves the Longmont community to focus on its strengths for a strong and prosperous future. She also served on the committee that planned and coordinated the Education Summit, which brought together over 600 people to work on how we make sure that all members of our community have access to lifelong educational opportunities that can help them be successful in life.
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2004 Community Unity Award Winner
Emma Peña-McCleave - Emma is an enthusiastic and visionary teacher, social worker, dancing coach, community organizer, fund raiser, mentor and leader. She promotes inclusion and participation in everything she touches. In all of these areas she has proven her dedication and generosity to the entire Longmont community regardless of age or background. She has trained and mentored elementary and middle school students in folklore dances in her work with Danzantes Del Sol Dance Troop with tact, gentleness and a sense of humor. Her dedication with pre-adolescents and teens was evidenced in her work with the pregnant teens in the Genesis Program of the Boulder County Health Department. She has mentored and raised funds for pre-college Latinas in her work with the Boulder County Latina Women's League. She began the yearly Student Ambassador Exchange with Ciudad Guzman, Mexico sponsored by the Longmont Sister Cities Association and guided it through its early years to the 8th yearly exchange which will take place in the summer of 2004. All of these activities promote inclusion of the Latinos in the total community as well as participation and multicultural awareness for the community at large.
Emma has touched the lives of young teens and adult Latinos and promoted fairness and inclusion in her leadership role as President of El Comité and her involvement in the day-to-day operations of the organization. El Comité teaches the Spanish speaking community how to operate within the US systems in education, employment, social services, social security, justice, immigration, etc. Through El Comité she works with SOMOS which reviews the interactions between the Longmont Police Department and the Latino community.
She has organized and been a founding member of several associations, most notably the Hispanic Alumni Association of the University of Colorado. During her presidency she lead the group to raise over $140,000 in scholarship funds. She has been on the Board of Directors of LOS AMIGOS for over 17 years focusing on at-risk students.
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