University of Colorado law professor Violeta Chapin has been named the winner of his second annual Polly Baca Raíces Fuertes Community Service Award, U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse announced Wednesday, the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month.
The Democratic congressman from Lafayette established the award to recognize top leaders in his northwest metro district "who best exhibits commitment to the service of others and dedication to social justice."
Neguse is expected to present the award Wednesday night at a meeting of his Latino Advisory Council.
Chapin has a long record of service to the Latinx community as an educator and an activist, mentoring law students and speaking out on issues.
“From her pro bono service to the immigrant communities to her volunteer work with first generation Latinx law students, she immediately stood out as someone who exemplifies the spirit of service we seek to highlight with this award," Neguse said in a statement. "I am so thankful for Violeta’s phenomenal and selfless activism and advocacy on behalf of our immigrant communities and am proud to call her my constituent.”
The award is named for Polly Baca, the first woman of color to be elected to the Colorado Senate and the first Latina from Colorado to be a party nominee for U.S. Senate.
Baca also founded the Latin American Research and Service Agency.
The award in her honor recognizes those "who embody the qualities of service to others and the uplifting of the Latino/Latinx community that Polly Baca herself represents," Neguse's office said.
The first winner last year was Elena Aranda, a research assistant at the University of Colorado's Renée Crown Wellness Institute.