Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in Colorado Springs
With diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts receiving tremendous attention from businesses seeking to grow with diverse perspectives, regional demographics matter more now than ever. In the U.S., the Latino population increased from 50.5 million to 62.1 million over a ten-year period, according to the 2020 Census.
Diversity in El Paso County continues to see a similar upswing. The Hispanic community is now 18% of Colorado Springs’ population and represents nearly 85 thousand people, with the majority listing Mexico as their country of origin. Those who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino grew by 36,319 from 2010-2020, or 38% — the greatest increase of any racial or ethnic group. This shift also means that Hispanics are now the largest minority group in Colorado Springs, a fact that continues to translate into business ownership.
As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, join us as we look at the people, institutions, and events that drive business potential in this community.
The Colorado Springs Hispanic Chamber
A mainstay in the Pikes Peak region since 1989 is the Colorado Springs Hispanic Chamber. Operating through 2009, the original Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Colorado Springs worked to support minority entrepreneurs with a primary focus on Hispanic-owned businesses. In 2016 a new, grassroots initiative to grow small and Hispanic-owned businesses was born, called Concilio Hispano de Empresas de Colorado Springs, or simply Concilio.
Joe Aldaz, veteran, president and CEO of The Concilio, has been fostering support for the Latino community and businesses for many years. He was recently recognized by the Colorado Springs Business Journal with the 2022 Transformational Leader Award.
Also currently serving on the board of the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC and the Pikes Peak State College Advisory Council, Mr. Aldaz is an advocate for greater equity in decision-making in the region. His work as the program manager for Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) Onward to Opportunity program serves to strengthen prospective employment and opportunities for another vital part of the community.
Join Us in Celebrating Hispanic Heritage
Hispanic Heritage Month in Colorado Springs kicks off with the DEI Advocacy Awards on September 15 at 5 p.m. at Great Wolf Lodge. In addition to Mr. Aldaz, the awards ceremony will celebrate transformational leaders Anthony Perez and Wendy Birhanzel and champions of Hispanic advocacy Jennifer Horn, Patience Kilbawsa, and Julissa Soto. The Colorado Springs Leadership Institute will contribute to a panel discussion about the importance of diverse leadership.
On September 17, Fiestas Patrias will celebrate a diversity of Hispanic cultures with food, music, dancing, and performers from across the nation with activations taking place throughout the entire day, like the downtown history stroll. The walking tour educates guests about Hispanic heritage in the Pikes Peak region like La Fiesta Bonita, an annual community-building event celebrating Mexican culture held in Acacia Park from the 1950s until the 1970s.
Current and prospective business entrepreneurs can gain inspiration at The Concilio’s business luncheon on September 27 at 11:30 a.m. with internationally celebrated motivational speaker, author, and Ottawa Nation tribal member D.J. Vanas. Having served as an Air Force officer for a decade and on the Board of Directors for the National Board of Certified Counselors, D.J. has spoken to thousands across the country about resiliency in a changing society, with speaking engagements from the White House to Walt Disney and NASA.
As Colorado Springs’ Hispanic population continues to grow, the CSCEDC and The Concilio work to encourage entrepreneurship, business growth, and leadership among multicultural communities. Follow the Colorado Springs Hispanic Chamber on Twitter @CSHBCCOS and if you are a Hispanic business owner, contact them about joining or contact us if you have any questions.