Ramón Del Castillo, PhD
At a time when the nation seems to be ripped apart by the insensitive politics of the day, many politicos have lost the courage to stand up for what is right. On the horizon there seems to be a rising star unafraid to focus on the real issues that are causing this chaos. She does so when standing up to the elite and powerful can be frightening. She is running for Colorado State Senate District #34 and her name is Julie Gonzales. She has vowed to stand up to the power brokers whose fear tactics can become threatening. As she states, “I am running for office because I believe that every person in this district has the right to live their lives in dignity, empowered with a voice in the Capitol and a seat at the table.” She has become a voice for the voiceless, guided by a passion for democracy of the people, by the people and for the people; something that seems to be missing in many political circles.
El Semanario is announcing its support for Gonzales, who is replacing term-limited Lucia Guzman who emphatically supported Gonzales, stating that Gonzales has demonstrated leadership and an ability, “to listen to all voices and bring about concrete policy change,” in a district that has experienced rapid change particularly with issues of gentrification. She is aware of the gritos de liberación by men and women who had lost faith and hope in a system that kept them at the bottom of the gigantic pyramidal structure. Her organizing skills, coupled with her charisma have been heard loud and clear for at least two decades. Her work is equally respected as she fights with the courage of a jaguar, with trials and tribulations that can be traced back to a time when workers were trapped in las barracas of big industries, with merciless middle managers using 17th century tactics to exploit workers. Gonzalez knows no borders. She organized “a 58- member coalition of low-income families, unions, community organizations, and environmental activists that passed a community benefits agreement at the Gate Rubber Factory,” insuring workers that tax dollars were shared with those most in need.
With a belief that all people have a right to an education, Gonzales has agreed to carry the Multicultural Education Bill that has failed for the last 3 years in the Senate. A controversial bill, initially proposed by term-limited Representative Joe Salazar. This piece of legislation strikes at the heart of the racial division that permeates our society. It is a healing process for families and communities suffering from the degradation of racism preached by a federal administration that taken us back to the 1950’s, when segregation was the norm. To carry this bill requires courage, something that Gonzales has demonstrated in her leadership style. Coming from a working-class family that equally struggled to become educated, she organized students from the local high schools to bring to the community’s awareness, a school-to-jail pipeline where prisons have become warehouses for disenfranchised youth. With outdated policies that immediately label youth for miniscule violations, Gonzales saw the writing on the prison walls and pressed for more humane policies.
Ms. Gonzales is sensitive to the many perils suffered by immigrants. Her passion includes fighting for immigrant rights; those people who are often invisible but whose labor continues to put food on América’s table. She has carried the banner for social justice on many occasions to ensure that human rights are not violated by insensitive ICE agents and a broken immigration system. The power of her pen was one of many that were used to co-draft the ASSET Bill, “which allowed Colorado undocumented students to attend college and pay in-state tuition. She stood behind Jeannette Vizguerra, una luchador that claimed amnesty at a time when politicians were afraid to even mum the word. Vizguerra’s picture was used in Time Magazine, as one of the most influential women in América. The coalition of organizations involved with drafting the policy included Mi Familia Vota, the Colorado People’s Alliance, Together Colorado, Padres y Jovenes Unidos, the Meyer Law Office, the American Friends Service Committee, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, and the University of Denver’s Criminal Defense Clinic.
As one of the co-founders of the Colorado Latino Forum, whose mission is to develop political power in the State of Colorado, she provided leadership against the daunting forces that continue to demoralize our communities. Organizing policy institutes and action-oriented rallies, Gonzales’ passion for justice is something she will bring to the Colorado State Legislature. Her community based collaborative style is genuine, always with the interests of the oppressed as a guiding principle. Her platform includes fighting for health insurance for all of Colorado’s residents.
Without reservation, El Semanario supports Julie Gonzales for Colorado State Senate District #34.
Dr. Ramón Del Castillo, Independent Journalist. ©10-16-2018 Ramón Del Castillo.
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