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Local Motion: Equity in Latino Health Care, Cinco de Mayo and the history of labor in Colorado

 Julissa Soto, consultant on Latino health care
Photo courtesy of Julissa Soto
Julissa Soto, consultant on Latino health care

What does equity in healthcare look like for Latinos? The question may seem big and abstract, but Julissa Soto has dedicated more than two decades to accomplishing equity in latino communities. KVNF's Cassie Knust hosts this Local Motion centered around the Latino community.

In this Local Motion, you’ll hear from Soto, a health equity and social justice consultant and advocate for Latino immigrant equality, inclusion and health equity in Colorado and throughout the United States. She has pioneered a wide range of health equity and social justice programming and community-based interventions for which she has earned a plethora of local and national awards, including recognition from U.S. Senators, the Governor of Colorado, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Throughout her career, Julissa has worked to create lasting systemic change by promoting positive visibility for Latino immigrants and marginalized populations, and raising awareness about the important issues impacting health equity and access. Most importantly, Soto likes to get it done.

You’ll also hear about the City of Delta’s Cinco de Mayo event this week from Angeles Mendez. Mendez is the director of the Western Colorado Migrant and Rural Coalition and helped organize the City of Delta’s upcoming celebrations this Friday, May 5.

According to 2020 Census data, Hispanics living in the United States represent almost 19 percent of the total U.S. population, making up the nation's second largest racial or ethnic group after non-Hispanic whites. The 2022 U.S. Latino GDP Report found that if Latinos living in the United States were an independent country, the U.S. Latino GDP would be the fifth largest GDP in the world, larger even than the GDPs of the United Kingdom, India or France.

Soto mentions paisano. A paisa is a fellow countryman, or someone from your region or community. In this case, she seeks to meet fellow latinos in a paisano, or community-based way. In other words, she wants to meet her fellow community where they’re at already.

For Julissa Soto, while Cinco de Mayo can be a fun time, it’s not a holiday largely celebrated in Mexico, but for Mendez, the holiday is a time for celebration and education. Cinco de Mayo marks a period in history where two countries united and won The Battle of Puebla against the Second French Empire in 1862.

The City of Delta’s Cinco de Mayo celebration is Friday, May 5th from 6pm until midnight in downtown Delta. Main Street will be closed for this event and it’s free to attend.

International Workers Day was May 1 and conversations around labor history in Colorado popped up. Exactly how much did the labor battles of Colorado coal workers contribute to the legal gains of the New Deal Era? Perhaps more than you think. A new book out from University Press of Colorado details how a labor movement in Boulder County’s backyard provided much of the social context leading up to the major progressive gains of the 1930s. For Rocky Mountain Community Radio, KGNU's Shannon Young spoke with Leigh Campbell-Hale, a former high school history teacher and author of the new book "Remembering Ludlow but Forgetting the Columbine."

Cassie moved to Montrose from Texas in April 2020, right before COVID changed the landscape of the world as we knew it. She brought her love of people and a degree in broadcast journalism to the Western Slope, where she built a strong foundation in local print news. She’s excited to join the KVNF family and grow as a reporter. For Cassie, her job as a journalist is to empower the community through knowledge and information. When she’s not researching and reporting, Cassie loves to spend time with her cat, Jasper, and paint something new.<br/><br/>