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One Colorado honors LGBTQ community allies 

Queer&There

click to enlarge From left to right: Dawn DiPrince, Daniel Ramos and Stephany Rose Spaulding - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • From left to right: Dawn DiPrince, Daniel Ramos and Stephany Rose Spaulding

On Saturday, Feb. 2, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization One Colorado hosted its Southern Colorado Ally Awards, a third-annual celebration of the straight and cisgender activists in our region who have used their influence to step up for LGBTQ equality.

Hosted at the Mining Exchange hotel, the Ally Awards brought together an impressive cadre of local LGBTQ and allied celebrities: Reverend Nori Rost of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, Rep. for Colorado District 18 Marc Snyder, tireless activist Jane Ard-Smith, realtor and activist Carolyn Cathey, Inside Out Youth Services director Jessie Pocock and many more, including the night’s honorees.

click to enlarge Dawn DiPrince accepts her Southern Colorado Ally Award. - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • Dawn DiPrince accepts her Southern Colorado Ally Award.
Dawn DiPrince, the current director of El Pueblo History Museum, received the first of the event’s two awards. Introducing her, Tommy Farrell told stories of her compassion and passion for her community, including and especially the LGBTQ community of Pueblo. Among her many accomplishments, DiPrince helped push the city of Pueblo to offer benefits to city employees’ same-sex partners back in 2012, long before marriage equality became a reality. More recently, as director of El Pueblo History Museum, she has offered the museum’s lawn to Pueblo’s pride celebration.

DiPrince accepted the award with an emotional speech, calling it one of the highest honors she has ever received.

Springs residents should be imminently familiar with the night’s second awardee: Stephany Rose Spaulding. Many know her from her recent candidacy for Colorado’s 5th Congressional district, where she was the Democratic candidate opposing Republican Doug Lamborn in 2018. Though that bid was unsuccessful, she has kept characteristically busy. In addition to her role as a professor of Women’s and Ethnic Studies at UCCS, Spaulding is also a reverend and prolific activist, who recently spoke at Colorado College’s All People’s Breakfast in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

In her impassioned acceptance speech on Saturday, Spaulding said: “If we allow the oppression of one, we allow the oppression of all of us.”

click to enlarge Stephany Rose Spaulding gave a passionate speech about equality. - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • Stephany Rose Spaulding gave a passionate speech about equality.

On the whole, it was an inspiring evening, not only calling attention to the allies making a difference in our community, but also recognizing the impact One Colorado continues to have on our state’s legislation and wider culture.

In his opening and closing remarks, One Colorado executive director Daniel Ramos reaffirmed One Colorado’s commitment to serve the LGBTQ community of Colorado, including our own area of the state. Though One Colorado’s former organizer for Southern Colorado, Jessie Pocock, left last year to become the executive director of Inside Out, the organization plans to find another organizer for this region in the coming months.

With a great deal of legislation in this session set to affect LGBTQ people — from so-called religious liberty bills to the long-awaited ban on conversion therapy — allies and organizations who have the backs of our LGBTQ community prove more important than ever.

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