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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Magdaleno Rose-Avila

Magdaleno Rose-Avila with Rick Halperin and Bill Pelke
Magdaleno at the Mike with Sonia Jacobs, Steve Earle,

The son of immigrant parents and one of 12 children, Magdaleno Rose-Avila began his working life in the onion fields of southeast Colorado at the early age of 11. By 13, he was traveling the migrant stream picking fruits and vegetables. Today, he serves as Executive Director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle, Washington.

The road from the dusty ‘campos’ of the Southwest to international advocate for human rights was not an easy one. It was a journey filled with countless obstacles, great faith and the support of numerous friends and family.

The difficult work of thinning onions as a child provided the background and impetus needed to advocate for workers rights at a very young age. After spending several years organizing workers in Colorado, Rose Avila took on the position of lead organizer and spokesperson for the efforts of Cesar Chavez’s United Farm workers Union in the state of Colorado. He was a leading voice and figure in the Chicano Movement of the 1960’s and ’70’s and ran for public office for La Raza Unida Party.

Throughout his career, Rose-Avila has been a United States Peace Corps Country Director in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Paraguay and Micronesia. He has run congressional campaigns and worked for the Democratic National Committee, worked for Colorado Legal Services and The Colorado Migrant Council, taught theatre and sociology at the University of Colorado, and sociology at Colorado College. Between 1985 and 1993 he worked in a variety of administrative and leadership positions for the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights organization Amnesty International USA. He was the Western Director for Amnesty International’s Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty and served as the inaugural Executive Director for the Cesar E Chavez Foundation.

A gifted public speaker, he has inspired thousands throughout his career speaking at high schools, colleges, universities, meetings, conferences, and various public events.

With Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, author of Dead Man Walking he founded The Moratorium Campaign. He also co-founded The Ahora newspaper and bookstore in Colorado, and is the founder of Homies Unidos.

He holds a degree in communications from University of Colorado in Boulder.


  • National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Abolitionist of the Year 1994
  • Board of Directors Amnesty International USA 2005-Present

Joined the following journeys

1999 Tennessee

  By Magdaleno Rose-Avila

It’s a Journey. For many it’s a Story of Hope
It’s the History of Strong Individuals…
Of a People Speaking in More than One Tongue
It’s their Song of Pain Over Pain, Lose Over Loss
Tears Becoming Rivers Running Off to the Sea
Washing Away Revenge.
It’s a Journey of Hope, of People Reaching Out With Their Stories
With Their Arms, With Their Hearts, Telling of Their Memories
Letting the Inside come to the Outside
Bringing us Closer than Close Can Be
It’s a Journey of Hope Turning Our Pain Into Promise
Helping Us to Heal Our Wounds
Smoothing Over Scars of Yesterday
It’s a Journey of Hope, Parts of a Rainbow Coming Back Together
Showing Us Where to Find
A Better Time
A Better World
A Safe House
A Place Where We Can Free Our Spirits
And Let Them Fly and Sing
This Journey of Hope Runs Against the Dark Cold Stormy Clouds of Violence
This Journey Pushes Against This Dark Blanket of Oppression…
Opening Up the Skies
Letting the Sun Shine Down
On Our Faces
On Our Dreams
Turning Our Whispers Into Loud Choruses of Freedom
Turning Our Candles Into Bonfires of Justice
Turning Our Actions Into a Forest of Flowers
This is a Journey of Hope
A Time for Dreamers
A Time For Forgiving
A Time For Understanding
A Time For Reconciliation
A Time For Giving
A Time For Receiving
This is a Journey of the Heart
A Time to Find New Friends
To Travel Uncharted Roads
To Open Up New Doors Into the Future
This is a Journey
For Life
And Redemption
This is a Journey
For Them as Well as for US
This is a Journey of Hope