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Latino Advocacy Day to Spotlight Immigration, Environmental Justice

Latino Advocacy Day activists are urging Colorado lawmakers to pass House Bill 1157, which would strengthen requirements for the oil and gas industry to report accidents, spills and harmful emissions. (Getty Images)
Latino Advocacy Day activists are urging Colorado lawmakers to pass House Bill 1157, which would strengthen requirements for the oil and gas industry to report accidents, spills and harmful emissions. (Getty Images)
March 12, 2018

DENVER – Some 200 people from across Colorado gathered in Denver over the weekend in preparation for the 12th annual Latino Advocacy Day Monday at the State Capitol.

Hilda Nucete, program director for Protégete, funded by the Conservation Colorado, says while participants are taking seriously a proposed ballot initiative that targets elected officials who support so-called sanctuary city policies, the Latino community is not a single issue voting bloc.

"We're really going to be talking about environmental justice, immigrant justice, reproductive justice, economic justice, and then how they're all tied together as the intersectional community," she states.

House Bill 1178 would make it a Class 4 felony if state or local officials create, enforce or implement policies that protect undocumented immigrants from racial profiling and other forms of discrimination.

Proponents of the Colorado Politician Accountability Act say the measure is necessary to get the state's municipalities to fall in line with federal immigration policies.

Nucete also is keeping an eye on House Bill 1157, which would strengthen requirements for the oil and gas industry to report accidents, spills and harmful emissions.

She says because a disproportionate number of Latino families live in neighborhoods close to refineries and industrial areas, companies need to be held accountable for operating at the highest possible standard, and inform the public when they're at risk.

"Our Latino children are three times more prone to having asthma than any other ethnic group in the United States,” she points out. “So we really want to make sure that our community has a seat at the table."

A Latino Advocacy Day rally is scheduled on the west steps of the Capitol at 12:30 p.m. Monday. After that, activists will spread out to meet with their representatives.

The House Transportation and Energy Committee is scheduled to HB 1157 on Wednesday. And the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee will hear HB 1178 the same day.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO