Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Distinguished Alumnus: Alumni Award Recipient Michael Miera reconnects Latino youth to the community

While working for Metro State in 1991, alumnus Michael Miera (’80, bilingual Chicano studies) recognized the community needed a method of reconnecting Latino/a youth. So, he and other activists founded LaRaza Youth Leadership Program, which holds conferences and now hosts more than 1,500 Latino/a youth participants each year. The focus of the program is to teach youth about their history, their communities and how they can make an impact in the world.

Not long after, he helped launch the Excel Program, which sends current Metro State student ambassadors into high schools with a high percentage of students of color. Ambassadors work with the prospective high school students to assist them with the application process and eventually with the transition from high school to college.

After leaving Metro State, Miera continued working for change as a Community Development Representative of the City and County of Denver for Housing and Neighborhood Development. He works with the Brownfields Redevelopment division. Brownfields are real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or perceived presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.

He lives with his wife, Veronica, who has worked for Metro State since 1976, and he is an accomplished Latin dancer. You might also occasionally see him in an El Centro Su Teatro performance, as he is an ardent supporter of that community theater. In addition to receiving this year’s Distinguished Alumnus award, Miera received the Spirit of Tlatelolco Awards with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 for his work with the Chicano Movement.

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