Retiring from AARP Colorado, Bittersweet

Posted on 05/15/24 by Angela Cortez

Angela Cortez Pic.jpg

For the last 14 years, I've promoted AARP Colorado's work to improve the lives of older adults and their families, help them age in place, get the services they need in their communities, and yes, bring more Latinos into the AARP family through the media, public relations and volunteer outreach.

As AARP Colorado communications director, I am going to miss the job. And I'm going to miss you — the members and volunteers, the staff and community partners, the reporters and editors, as well as the sales reps. Some have become friends and I hope to continue our connections. AARP has been a wonderful employer, and I greatly appreciate having this outstanding opportunity to help others.

When I began my career so many years ago at La Voz de Colorado newspaper, it was my goal to give a voice to those often overlooked, not heard, or misunderstood. As a cub reporter at The Greeley Tribune, I took it upon myself to find those voices and bring them into mainstream news.

As the only Hispanic reporter in the newsroom at that time, it was common to have to "explain" to the editors who Henry Cisneros, Delores Huerta, Little Joe, Sandra Cisneros, and Norma V. Cantú were and why it was important to cover their visits.

Strong community leaders, as well as regular everyday people, were the sources of the stories I’ve told over the years, especially during my time at The Denver Post, where I was the first Hispanic to be named to the editorial board of either of the Denver dailies.

Covering the Latino community was never my beat, but it was my responsibility. I was the only Latina, or one of few, in Colorado journalism. The same became true during my time reporting in Southern California, of all places. I wanted our stories to be told. I wanted our beautiful culture celebrated.

When I left newspapers during the Great Recession and joined AARP, I was already familiar with the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, born of an educator's concern for teachers without pensions. Ethel Percy Andrus, the founder of AARP, was an amazing woman. A high school principal, she discovered a retired teacher she knew was living in squalor in a chicken coop and did something about it. She founded the National Retired Teachers Association and later AARP entered the scene. Now, that was a story that spoke to me.

From my first day at AARP, I knew I found a home. The AARP culture and social mission aligned perfectly with my values. The AARP priorities to support family caregivers, ensure affordable health care, protect financial security, fraud prevention, closing the Digital Divide, and access to dignified, affordable housing speaks to my sense of compassion and equity.

And so, I'm going to miss AARP, but it is time for me to have new and different experiences. Thank you all so much and keep fighting for the voice of people who continue to be overlooked.

Adelante!

This story is provided by AARP Colorado. Visit the AARP Colorado page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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