A Community Leader and Founder of LARASA Passes Away

Lena Archuleta Presente...

April 4/2011


The Colorado community suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of one of the original LARASA founders and civil rights leader Lena Archuleta at age 90.


Lena was one of those extraordinary leaders who in 1964 came together to create the vision for the first Latino non-profit organization in Colorado.  


Current and past staff and board members all were blessed to have Lena provide insight and advice over the years, even after formally retiring from the board several decades ago.


Lena gave generously of her time, effort and wisdom for LARASA and the many other communities she cared for and worked for. There is no doubt that her contributions, energy and tenacity will be missed dearly by those who she mentored and those who will continue to celebrate her life and accomplishments. Our thoughts and prayers are with all her family and dear friends.



Alex Sanchez



Estevan Flores, Ph.D

Executive Director



Lean Archuleta sitting with other LARASA founders circa 1964 ready to sign Mile High United Way papers.

Latina Hero: An outstanding educator and community activist with an impressive list of "firsts"... 



Lena Archuleta

Photo courtesy of Sister Alicia Cuaron 


This dedication to Lena is on display with her photo at LARASA:


Ms. Lena Lovato Archuleta was the first hispanic female to be a DPS principal in the Denver Public School District. Ms. Archuleta was the first Secretary of the LARASA Board of Directors and a founder of both LARASA and Mi Casa Resource Center for Women, Inc. This former teacher, librarian, and administrator was also the first Hispanic president of the Denver Classroom Teachers' Association, the Colorado Library Association and the Latin American Education Foundation.


In April 2002, the Denver Public Library Commission unveiled the Cesar Chavez Leadership Hall of Fame and created the Lena L. Archuleta Community Service Award. Her portrait is in the gallery of Latinos(as) at the Woodbury Branch Library.


In October 2002, the Denver Public Schools dedicated and named a new elementary school in Montebello after Mrs. Archuleta. She is the first Denver Hispanic woman to have a school bear her name. In 2004, LARASA awarded the first Lena L. Archuleta Education Service Award in her honor. For six years, Mrs. Archuleta served on the national Board of Directors of AARP, following and lobbying on state legislative issues.  


A personal reflection
As Executive Director I was blessed to have Lena provide insight and advice over the past 14 months. But this wasn't the first time as Lena was on my Advisory Council of the Latino/a Research & Policy Center in the 1990s. Over the last year, Lena would call regularly and stopped by the office a couple of times, yes, she was still driving. She brought some of her LARASA archives with her and offered to help more, but she said she was just so darn busy. And she was...    
Lena was like an old Jesuit friend of mine, Father Tomas Marrero, in Santo Domingo. I asked him, when he was 85 and still working 12 hour days for youth development and education, "when will you retire?" His response, "Jesuits don't retire...I will stop when I can no longer breathe." Lena was like that venerable Jesuit friend. Only the stopping of her heart could slow her down. Rest in Peace. 
                                                             -- Estevan Flores