Nita Gonzales was raised to be an activist. Alongside her father, the legendary Chicano activist Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, Nita learned early on the importance of culture, tradition and the strength of Latino leaders. A proud Chicana born on the eastside of Denver, Nita credits her father’s influence for steering her course in the world, down a path for social justice and human rights. She also credits the influence of her mother, Geraldine Gonzales, her grandmother and her tías.
With such strong philosophical and intellectual influences, Nita became a teacher and a community activist. She is the president/CEO of the national model for Chicano/Mexicano and indigenous education at Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios, a school she co-founded with her father in 1970.
As a community organizer, Nita was the founder of the Denver Youth Employment and Education Task Force, a founder of the Chicano/Mexicano Education Coalition and a co-founder of the Colorado Latino Forum. She has sat on many boards including Denver Community Oversight and Clínica Tepeyac. She is a member of the President’s Cabinet for Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Nita has received numerous awards for her work and her advocacy, including the 2008 Colorado Pioneer Women’s Award, 2005 Metropolitan State College Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Award, 1999 Families First Pat Schroeder Award and the 1995 U.S. Department of Justice Community Service Award.
In March 2012, Nita was named one of President Barack Obama’s Champions for Change. She says her proudest accomplishments are her son and daughter and keeping Escuela, an organization founded by, for and led by Chicanos, alive for more than four decades.