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The Denver Latino Commission's mission is to oversee, recommend and influence policies that affect the Denver Latino community while maintaining and encouraging a constituent focus.

The purpose of the commission is to:

  • Respond to state or local legislative issues impacting the Latino community
  • Advise the Mayor on suggested political positions
  • Respond to emerging issues identified by the Mayor on a timely basis
  • Respond to new or existing Latino issues/initiatives by communicating with the interested parties and serving as a sounding board to understand their issues/initiatives and take positions to relay to the Mayor in support of common goals identified.

2016 Commission Goals

  • Community Engagement: convene community forums to gain input from residents to identify community issues and solutions
  • Research: utilize the community input to focus research on the community issues and solutions
  • Utilize the input and research to advise the Mayor on pressing community matters

Commission Meetings

When: 3rd Wednesday of each month

11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.  

Ashland Recreation Center, Conference Room
2475 W Dunkeld Pl.
Denver, CO 80211

2018 Meeting Dates:
Jan 17
Feb 21
Mar 21
Apr 18
May 16
Jun 20
Jul 18
Aug 15
Sep 19
Oct 17
Nov 21
Dec 19

Community Input:
The Denver Latino Commission meetings are open to the public and they reserve the final 15 minutes of each meeting for community comment, announcement and input. The Commission welcomes your participation.

Commission Members

Monika Celado-StengerBorn and raised in the Dominican Republic, Monika Celado-Stenger immigrated to Denver, Colorado in 1990.

She earned her B.A in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Today she is a successful business woman working in a male dominated industry. In 2000, she founded Servitech, Inc. an Electrical Contractor and Professional Services company.

She understands and has overcome the obstacles that our Denver community faces, as a woman, immigrant, single parent and business owner; her insight is a valuable contribution to the Denver Latino Commission. 

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Tony EnciniasTony Encinias has more than 25 years of experience in public relations and video production, the majority of which focused on health care communications at Denver Health, an integrated health care system.  Encinias was responsible for public relations planning for Denver Public Health, Behavioral Health Services and Community Health Services, including special events.

During his tenure, Encinias was also responsible for employee communications, writing Annual Reports, fact sheets, media and public relations materials. He also wrote and edited a monthly employee newsletter, expanding circulation from 2,700 to 4,500. His writing expertise resulted in a Bronze Quill Award for writing excellence from the International Association of Business Communicators. Encinias also served as director/technical director and commercial videographer for small market television stations.

Encinias also represented Denver Health on city-wide disaster planning organizations. As part of the City of Denver team, he participated in Public Information Officer training in advance of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, he is a FEMA-certified Public Information Officer.

In addition to serving as a member of the Denver Latino Commission, Encinias is a member of the Denver Health Medical Plan/Elevate Health Plan Advisory Committee.

Encinias has an undergraduate degree in Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master’s degree in Applied Communication from the University of Denver. 

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Arrah GallaherArrah Gallaher, M.A., currently serves as a GoodGuides Mentoring Manager with Goodwill Industries of Denver in their Youth Career Development Services department. Mrs. Gallaher oversees one of the largest mentoring grants Goodwill Denver has ever received, through U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and Goodwill International. Mrs. Gallaher has worked for Goodwill Industries of Denver for over 10 years supporting the effort to increase the enrollment and retention of underrepresented students into college.  Mrs. Gallaher obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Colorado-Boulder in political science and educational practices and policies, respectively, finishing graduate school with highest distinctions. Mrs. Gallaher is a Colorado native, and a first generation college student and is a graduate of Northglenn High School located in Northglenn, Colorado.

Mrs. Gallaher is currently the board president for Low Income Family Empowerment Center (LIFE). LIFE was created through a partnership with Adams County Housing Authority in 2007 to address low-income individuals' and families' unmet basic needs. In addition, Mrs. Gallaher is on the board of directors for the Denver Hispanic Chamber’s Foundation as well a committee member for the Denver Foundation’s Philanthropic Leadership Committee, and a member of LatinasGive!, Denver’s 1st Latina giving circle.

Mrs. Gallaher has found all of her experiences volunteering to be extremely rewarding, humbling, and valuable. As an individual whose current job relies heavily on the support of volunteers, she is constantly motivated to find ways that she can support her community in meaningful ways.

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Kathryn GroveKathryne Grove is a graduate of University of Denver’s Strum College of Law. She has held positions with the University of Denver, Mountains States Employers Council, the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.  Currently, she works at Level 3 Communications, LLC as Corporate Counsel.  Kathryne also holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University y of Northern Colorado and was a social worker prior to attending law school. 


Omar GudinoOmar Gudino, PhD, ABPP is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Denver. Dr. Gudino directs the Services for At-Risk Youth & Families (SAYF) Lab, which conducts research on patterns of risk and resilience in immigrant and Latino youths; evidence-based mental health interventions; and ethnic/racial disparities in children’s mental health services. In addition to conducting research, Dr. Gudino teaches undergraduate and graduate courses focusing on culture and mental health, psychological assessment, and clinical psychology. Dr. Gudino is also a Board Certified Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologist and a licensed psychologist in private practice.

Victoria LovatoVictoria E. Lovato, Esq. is a Director at Silver & DeBoskey.  Ms. Lovato is a graduate of Colorado College (B.A. Mathematics, 1990) and the Arizona State University College of Law (J.D., cum laude, 1997), where she served as Managing Editor of the Arizona State Law Journal. Throughout her legal career, Ms. Lovato has provided a broad range of legal services to individuals, institutions and business clients in both Colorado and Arizona. Her practice at Silver & DeBoskey focuses on representation of health care professionals and legal professionals in complex civil litigation and health care matters, including regulatory and disciplinary matters. 

Chy MontoyaChy Montoya is the Chief of Staff for Councilman Albus Brooks in Denver City Council, District 9. She has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice & Criminology from Metropolitan State University of Denver and a Master’s in Public Administration with a Local Government Concentration from the University of Colorado Denver.

In her current position, she provides an array of services and assistance to Councilman Brooks for the successful operation of the Council office in District 9. This includes managing scheduling requests related to the Councilmember's priorities and district needs, responding to constituent inquiries/cases on behalf of the Councilmember, conducting research to collect relevant information for the Councilmember and preparing the Councilmember for meetings by drafting documents and briefing Councilmember on relevant information.

Along with the above duties, Chy coordinates specific functions within the district including scheduling and/or attending events and working with the community to achieve the Councilmember's goals. She also manages the office's budget and expenditures, including procurement and travel card reconciliation and provides justification for budget requests.

She works with many different agencies to assist the constituents within District 9. One of her many passions is helping young adults get back on track to become contributing members of the community. 

Joseph MontoyaJoe Montoya was raised in the Harvey Park Neighborhood of Southwest Denver.

He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1981 and continued his education at Whittier College in Southern California. In 1985 Joe found his calling and left school to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Joe currently works for the Denver Police Department as the Commander of the Internal Affairs Division.

He and his beautiful wife have been married for 28 years and are the parents of two wonderful adult daughters.

I grew up in a family that took pride in our Latino Heritage and I was taught the values of tradition and respect. I am proud to serve as a board member of the Denver Latino Commission.

Tariana Navas-NievesTariana Navas-Nieves is the Director of Cultural Affairs for Denver Arts & Venues. Arts & Venues is the City and County of Denver agency responsible for the city’s cultural affairs and publicly owned venues. The agency operates some of the region’s most renowned facilities, including Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Colorado Convention Center, Denver Coliseum and McNichols Civic Center Building. 

Navas-Nieves has over 23 years of experience in non-profit and project management, museum work and communications, most recently as Public Information Manager for the Gold Line commuter rail transit line, which along with the line to Denver International Airport, is part of the largest transportation project in the United States. She also served as Curator of Hispanic and Native American Art at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center during their 25 million dollar expansion project. Navas-Nieves’ experience spans into television, translation and lecturing, as well as extensive curatorial services to art collectors and museums.

Navas-Nieves serves on multiple boards and advisory groups including but not limited to the Mayor’s Latino Commission, DPS Bond and Mill Oversight Committee, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Leadership Team working on building diverse audience engagement, the Denver Art Museum’s Latino Audience Alliance, and Denver Shared Spaces City Strategy Advisory group. She is also a graduate of Leadership Denver (class of 2015). She was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Yolanda OrtegaYolanda Ortega has been a Denver resident since 1972, the same year she began working at Metro State University of Denver. Since her retirement from Metropolitan State University of Denver as Vice President of Student Affairs, Yolanda has remained active in the community and at MSU.  She serves on the MSU President’s Community Cabinet.

She serves on the Board of Directors for Escuela Tlatelolco, a Latino Montessori K – 12 private school. Yolanda is the Governor’s appointee to the Auraria Higher Education Center Board of Directors.  She also served as an appointee for the Denver Mayor’s Commission on Cultural Affairs and currently on the Denver Latino Commission.

Yolanda co-hosts Cancion Mexicana on KUVO 89.3 FM on Sunday mornings.

Yolanda has been an actor, director, and musician with Su Teatro, a Chicano theater company based in Denver, for 40 years.

Yolanda graduated from Jonesboro State University with a BA in History and German.  She has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver.

Abenicio RaelAbenicio is the Program Director for the CU Pre-Health Scholars Program and Assistant Director in the Office of Inclusion and Outreach at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He has been a professional with the University of Colorado System for over 12 years. Abenicio has led the program in providing academic services, educational planning, and college access to historically underserved populations. In 2012, Abenicio was awarded the Chancellor’s Diversity Award for his leadership and dedication to diversity. His expertise lies in strategic planning, academic program development, and fostering community relationships. As a Chicano born and raised in Denver, Abenicio was a non-traditional student and the first person in his family to graduate from college. He has presented at several national conferences and has held positions with organizations that promote educational access and equity.

Benjamin Roldan holds master’s Degree on Urban and Regional Planning with emphasis in community engagement and public participation. A bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in Economy; both from the University of Colorado Denver. Born and raised in Bogota Colombia Benjamin immigrated to the United States of America in 2001. Ever since lived in Denver Colorado. His professional career has been focus on community engagement and increasing the civic participation of underserved communities of Denver while working with public and nonprofit entities.

His professional background includes working as a Council Aid for former councilwomen Judy Montero in district 9, also as a community engagement coordinator for the office of Family and Community Engagement in Denver Public Schools; and as a community organizer for Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea (GES) Live Well.

While working as a Council Aid, he supported the initiatives of the office of Community Planning and Development of Denver by increasing meaningful public participation and the use of innovative techniques of outreach in the drafting of the Neighborhood Plans of GES neighborhoods. He was also a crucial person for the drafting of a more socially just City Council Proclamation in support of the I-70 East Project. Benjamin has also been involved in the creation of the Health Impact Assessment, the Odor Ordinance, a strong advocate for infrastructure improvements in the neighborhoods of GES. Some of the projects include the 47th ave and York st pedestrian bridge in which he was part of the design team, Washington street improvement, National Western Complex, Brighton Blvd and also the improvements of bus stops and sidewalks in the community.

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Angelina Sierra-SandovalAngelina Sierra-Sandoval is a 5th generation Coloradoan, born and raised in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Northwest Denver. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Colorado Denver in Political Science and Public Policy in 2014 and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Local Government at the University of Colorado Denver. Angelina serves as the Legislative Assistant to House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran.

Before serving as a Legislative Aide, she held numerous fellowships including  Denver City Council, the Colorado General Assembly and the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C.  She currently serves as Board Co-Chair for the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights Board of Directors and also serves as a board member for the Sunnyside United Neighborhood Inc.

Her expertise includes public policy, state-level legislative process and youth empowerment. Being from a working-class family she understands the needs of her community and hopes to offer her leadership skills to her role on the Denver Latino Commission. 

Jose SilvaJosé has been an advocate for youth, education and the community for over 20 years, serving as a Political and Education Consultant helping to develop curriculum, testifying before congress on College Access in 2003, and as a foot soldier knocking on doors to get those that support the greater good elected.

Throughout his tenure José has pursued Policy and Educational practices that would not only set higher standards for Denver’s minority populations, but increase their capacity to be at the forefront of reform and success. José co-wrote the Youth Leadership Development Curriculum (The Piton Foundation) for the Beacons after school program as a sophomore in college which was implemented across the country in 5 states including Denver’s own Rishel, Lake and Cole middle schools.

José’s Denver has given him the national experience and exposure that is needed to lead. José has committed the last 22 years of his life to his community and will continue to do so for decades to come. Jose also hosts a news and public affairs show on KGNU/FM, Boulder/Denver and is currently in his second term, as a Denver Mayoral Appointee to the Denver Latino Commission.

Nicole TaylorNicole Taylor is a Student Conduct Officer for the Community College of Denver. In her current position she strives to bring awareness of cultural competencies, social justice, and its impact within the realm of student conduct to faculty, staff and students. 

As an undergraduate she completed research that explored topics related to access and equity in higher education; teaching and learning in racially diverse college classrooms; and the examination of Inclusive Excellence and Diversity in and out of the classroom. This passion stems from Nicole’s early work at Denver Department of Human Services where she discovered her fervidness for public service. 

Her experience has driven her to serve in many capacities as a change agent, such as a board member of the Montbello Organizing Committee, as a Denver Grand Jury Foreperson, and maintaining active membership in the Aurora Chapter of the NAACP.  Through these community efforts Nicole maintains a proven ability to drive innovation, creativity, thoughtful leadership, and collaboration with all stakeholder groups.

Nicole received her BA in Law and Society from The University of Denver, and her Masters in Criminal Justice from CSU-Global. 

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For questions, comments, or more information please contact:
Derek Okubo, DLC Liaison

Are you interested in joining the Latino Commission?
Apply online today!



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