Friday, Sabor, hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver, filled the Denver Botanic Gardens with food, fun and some incredible fashions in the sold-out crowd of 3,000 guests. But one face was missing: Jeffrey Campos, the ex-Chamber head who'd resigned a week earlier.
Greeting guests instead was interim president and CEO James Mejia, who didn't make Denver's mayoral runoff and so was available to temporarily head the organization that he has directed before. "I've been involved with the Hispanic Chamber for more than fifteen years, and I'm proud to help the organization move forward during a time of transition," Mejia had said when the move was announced at the end of July.
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And just a week later, the organization seemed to be moving forward very smoothly, with a sold-out event and no evident snags, despite the fact that earlier that day, the Denver Post reported that Campos had been charged with misdemeanor assault in connection with an altercation with a female member of the chamber with whom he'd been in a relationship -- a charge that was quite a come-down from the original reports that Campos was suspected of felony kidnapping and assault. Prosecutors now describe this is a domestic violence incident.
The changes at the Hispanic Chamber, Denver's first minority chamber and its largest, are not the only developments in the Latino community. The Colorado Latino Forum Leadership Center just joined forces with the Latin American Research and Service Agency, a 47-year-old non-profit, to create the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization.
"By combining the advocacy and research legacy that LARASA brings to the table and the mission of the CLF Leadership Center, we aim to build a Colorado without disparities in educational achievement, economic opportunity, social integration and civic representation," says Olivia Mendoza, executive director of what's now known as CLLARO. "By combining both organizations, we increase the likelihood of having our voices heard and creating real, long-lasting change."
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