By Chanel Ward
The Community College of Denver (CCD) recognized Magdalena Gallegos as its’ CCD Champion at their 10th annual Celebration in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 23rd, St. Cajetan’s Center, where a packed house celebrated the lifelong accomplishments of three distinguished honorees, was lively with familiar greetings and warm embraces.
Vice President of CCD’s Student Government, Lorraine Seals-Williams welcomed and introduced guests as the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” followed, performed by mother daughter duo and CCD students, Aubree Spahn and Natasha Vasquez on the vocals; while Dean of the Center for Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences, Bob Studinger played along on the piano.
One of the three saluted was Sid Wilson, President of A Private Guide, Inc., a prominent touring service company in Colorado since 1991, and in 2013 was inducted into The Denver & Colorado Travel Hall of Fame.
Wilson was awarded the Community Leader award and with his long list of service in various fields, it’s a very well-deserved salute. Wilson, a decorated Vietnam War Veteran, graduate from the RCA Institute of Technology, he served as Commissioner for the Denver Public Library and is a father of two college graduates. He served on several boards including, the Colorado Historical Society’s African American Advisory Council and the Colorado Scholarship Coalition, to name just a couple.
The Living Legend Award was presented to Charleszine “Terry” Nelson, highly respected Five Points District local expert and Denver Public Library’s first female African American Manager of Special Collection and Community Resources Development at Colorado’s Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.
Nelson has been recognized numerous times for her ongoing and consistent endeavors; in 2016 she was granted an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Denver Institute of Urban Studios and she received recognition as a Pioneer from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated for her historic documentation and archival processes.
Gallegos, a displaced Aurarian and University of Colorado-Denver graduate, used her first hand knowledge and degree to develop a career in oral history through writing, where she founded and co-published Southwest Magazine. Later becoming a reporter, featured columnist and theater critic for The Urban Spectrum and El Semanario, Gallegos continued as a counselor for the community college’s Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) until she retired in 2004.
She wrote and produced the play, Sueños, performing at Su Teatro in 2003. Her work is included in the Dictionary of Literary Biography and she is the author of the biography Florence and the Butterflies; a novel that is her own interpretation of the stories that her mother used to tell.
“I am truly overwhelmed,” began Gallegos. “Thank you to everyone from CCD for believing I am worthy of this great honor,” she expressed to the crowd of current and former students, faculty, staff and President of CCD, Dr. Everette Freeman, who were all engaged in her speech after watching the impactful tribute video.
In closing, Gallegos wanted to leave the room with a message, “The men and women living on the streets today need us, the children being separated from their parents need us, the young men and women being racially profiled need us,” said Gallegos. “We must be there for them…today, tomorrow and forever.”
To learn more about the celebration, the honorees or past recipients you can visit the Office of Student Development & Retention at ccd.edu/MLK.
Chanel Ward is an Independent Reporter for The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.
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