June marks LGBTQ Pride Month, celebrating the impact that LGBTQ people have had in our community and the world. This past weekend our community rallied together, virtually, for Denver Pride. While we can’t celebrate these events like we might have last year, we can celebrate leaders who are making an impact.
We recognize that there are countless Leadership Foundation alumni who are creating an impact for the LGBTQ community. Today, I’d like to introduce you to alums Anthony Aragon, Justin Ball and Lydia McCoy.
Anthony Aragon – an alum of Leadership Denver 2018, Leadership Exchange 2019 and a 2019 9NEWS Leader of the Year finalist – has been active in the LGBTQ community for over 30 years. Anthony is a passionate connector who leads with his heart. He brings his passion to organizations serving the LGBTQ community in Denver, including The Matthew Shepard Foundation, Transgender Center of the Rockies, Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire and One Colorado. Anthony organized the PrideFest parade for 19 years and recently was crowned 2019 Miss Gay Pride Colorado, which raises money for charities in our LGBTQ community. Anthony believes in the importance of education and visibility of community’s history. “There’s a reason why we celebrate these communities, and the struggles that they have had,” he said.
Justin Ball – an alum of Impact Denver 2006, Colorado Experience, Legacy Denver, multiple Leadership Exchange trips and a former Leadership Foundation board member – is committed to elevating LGBTQ businesses and awareness in our community through his board service and company, Bespoke Event Group. Justin serves on the board of the Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute, helping underserved populations like the LGBTQ community have access to income and wealth generation through business ownership. His company is also helping LGBTQ organizations tell their story and encouraging clients to bring diverse voices to the table because “those voices are necessary, and we need to make sure they’re there,” he said.
Lydia McCoy – an alum of Leadership Denver 2016, Colorado’s Civic DNA Fellows 2019 and an incoming Leadership Foundation board member – finds passion working for organizations supporting anti-oppression in our community. Lydia recently joined the board of One Colorado to lend her voice to the organization’s advocacy work. One Colorado is the state’s leading advocacy organization, dedicated to advancing equality for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. She wants to challenge our community to think about how we think and talk about gender expression and sexual orientation in their families, workplaces and networks. “Demonstrating leadership in support of the LGBTQ community starts with the personal,” Lydia said. “The LGBTQ community isn’t the other. We’re a part of the beautiful whole.”
Join me in thanking these alumni for their work – and supporting them as they continue to lead and make an impact.
Dan Lewis is the executive director of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation.