Milo Marquez holding his Cesar Chavez Award.

CU Denver’s Milo Marquez Honored with City’s Cesar Chavez Award

May 21, 2024

The City of Denver recognized Milo Marquez with the Cesar Chavez Award in late April for his decades of community work to improve the lives of Latinos in Denver and throughout the state. “The award isn’t about me,” Marquez said from his office in downtown Denver. “The award is really a result of the community coming together and elevating their voices to make an impact that is about the community. I’ve been able to help that process and I’m humbled by the recognition.” 

Marquez, who became the Director of Community Engagement for the Latino Research and Policy Center at CU Denver in December 2023, has dedicated most of his adult life to working with various groups focused on advocacy and public policy that affects the diverse Latino communities in our area. He helped launch the Latino Education Coalition and was one of the first members of the Latino Action Council. Those groups have advocated for increasing Latino voter participation, providing equitable education, and creating business opportunities, among other focus areas. The groups continue to work on affordable housing and equitable healthcare access.  

Marquez also serves on several boards and advisory groups, including the America 250, Colorado 150 Commission, which is organizing events around the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Colorado’s 150th birthday, both of which occur in 2026. 

Marquez said he is inspired by the Latinos in Denver and Colorado to keep working and that his passion for community work is in his genes. Marquez is a fifth-generation Denver resident, although his family ties run much deeper. His hobbies include genealogy, and he can trace his family across the city and region for generations. Part of his family has ties to native communities in Colorado. Another part of his family was in the region before Colorado was even part of Mexico.

Before joining CU Denver, Marquez worked with various groups conducting community embedded research relevant to the Latino community. His focus has been education, environmental justice, and addressing health disparities. But it’s not enough to generate good research, he said, adding that we need to help bridge the gap and get the information into the hands of those who can create impact.

The opportunity to harness the research strength of CU Denver and work with the community in an authentic way is what drew Marquez to the university. “To really make impact, you have to work collectively with a community, go into the community, listen, and include their voices,” he said. “That’s what we are doing here now. We’re laying the foundation and building relationships to be able to generate good research that can impact policy and change lives.”