Latino Forum extends olive branch-invite to Hickenlooper, pushes police reform

The Colorado Latino Forum made it clear today that they haven’t forgotten Gov. John Hickenlooper’s controversial statements on immigration reform last month, in which he suggested young latinos would prefer “a robust guest worker system” to a pathway to citizenship.

“We welcome the governor to our annual Statewide Policy Summit to hear directly from the Latino community about our views regarding the importance of citizenship as a means to fully participate in all aspects of society and daily life,” Julie Gonzales, the Board Chair of CLF, wrote today in a public invitation.

The governor’s office has not officially confirmed whether Hickenlooper will attend.

The CLF is also looking at other ways to localize major national issues next session, with a specific policy focus on responding to police-excessive force after events in Ferguson, Missouri; Staten Island, New York; and in Denver.

“In Colorado, Latinos comprise 20.7 percent of the general population yet 32.9 percent of the prison population,” CLF asserted in a declaration on human rights last week urging reform of Denver’s Public Safety Department. The group added that one in three black men will go to prison and one in six Latino men. This, compared to one in seventeen white men.

The CLF says they plan to “explore ways to build trust and confidence between police and minority communities nationwide and recommend ways the government can support accountability, transparency and trust in law enforcement.”

This policy platform comes as state lawmakers reportedly are discussing police reform bills that would require Colorado law enforcement to wear body cameras and that would change how excessive force cases are prosecuted.

[1,000 Denver East High School students walked out to protest events in Ferguson and New York on Dec 3. Image via DAM Collective.]