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Latino/Latina Advocacy Day In Colorado

Hundreds of young men and women marched to Colorado's capitol building on Monday for Latina/Latino Advocacy Day. This is the fifth annual rally and lobbying effort by a number of activist groups in which Latino voters spend a day learning and discussing hot-button issues with lawmakers.

The rally began with a short march up the hill of the Capitol, as a large group carried signs and chanted: "Today we march, tomorrow we vote." 

Maria Teresa Kumar, executive director for Washington D.C.-based Voto Latino, addressed the crowd. 

"Colorado, your organizing has effectively created a firewall saying, 'We are not Arizona. We are Latinos, but we are Americans first and not in our backyard are we going to pass legislation that defunds us, that dehumanizes us and fundamentally does not recognize us as citizens,'" Kumar said to a roaring crowd.

Colorado's State Assembly has a number of hefty measures on its plate, including a Republican proposal to place more restrictions on illegal immigrants.

"I always call Colorado a microcosm for what's happening in the rest of the country," Kumar told Fox News. "There's been a growth in the Latino population in Colorado, there's been growth throughout different states, but Colorado is more of a moderate independent state ...however legislators treat them, they're the ones that are going to be benefiting from the Latino vote at the end of the day."

In the Rocky Mountain State, Census data show that as the population here is becoming more diverse, the primary group that identifies themselves as Hispanic grew from 17 to 21 percent. And with that data, Colorado legislators are now beginning the task of re-drawing electoral district lines. 

"Latinos very much look forward to being part of the discussion around redistricting," Julie Gonzáles, Director of Organizing for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, or CIRC, tells Fox News. "This is not an issue of parties, this is not an issue of playing one side up against another. This is about making sure that all Coloradans have a voice in these efforts and that our state's maps get drawn in a way that make sure our Latino community voice is heard."

For more on Latino/Latina Day, watch the video: 

Alicia Acuña is a reporter for Fox News Channel based in Denver.

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