Who is Your Hero?

By Anne Trujillo, Anchor, Denver7

Anne Trujillo Denver7

It’s a simple question that gets complicated when you think how easily and quickly that word hero is thrown around. The answer for me wasn’t hard. My friend Sherri Vasquez is one of my heroes. My lovely friend just passed away April 25th, she was just 56 years old. Gone much too soon. We didn’t shop together, meet up for lunch or do girl things together. We were fellow journalists who had a mutual respect for one another. Sherri and I both earned our Journalism degrees from the University of Colorado. She went to the print side; I worked the broadcast side. She worked at the Rocky Mountain News; I worked at Denver7. Our paths crossed because we were both members of the Colorado Hispanic Media Association. There were very few Latinos working in the news media in the 80’s and 90’s, and CHMA provided some professional support in an era when it took work to get women hired into newsrooms; it took thick skin to stay there.

During her time at the Rocky, Sherri won the Positive Images Award two years in a row from the CHMA because she was fearless in delivering news about her community. 

She wrote a weekly column in the Rocky called “Que Pasa” because she was determined to tell the stories about a community no one else was writing about, featuring the characters, the people, the culture and events that weren’t being covered in mainstream media. That was a risky move for a local newspaper and not a popular path to take. Sherri was a trailblazer who wasn’t afraid of backlash because she knew what she was doing was meaningful and important. As readers, we needed those articles to remind ourselves that our history is important too. In a time when news organizations were more likely to interview officials and specialists about issues in our minority communities, Sherri was raising the bar and showcasing the very people most directly impacted. She wanted people, especially young people to know we don’t all think alike and don’t all fit under one heading. We may call ourselves Latino or Hispanic, but if you delve deeper we all identify in a more meaningful way as Chicanos, Spanish, Mexicans, New Mexicans, Hondurans, Puerto Ricans and so on.  We are not the same and Sherri wanted her readers to know it too. In our community, there are Latinos who are doctors, entrepreneurs, lawyers and professionals but for a long time no one wrote about them or interviewed them, except for Sherri. 

According to the Society of Professional Journalists, we believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy.

Journalism doesn’t always have to be about politics, or crime or business. It is a marker of our history, the archives of our lives. Sherri Vasquez made sure we knew our history so we could learn from the past and help build a better future. And that is the kind of public enlightenment we all deserve.

It’s a simple question that gets complicated when you think how easily and quickly that word hero is thrown around. The answer for me wasn’t hard. My friend Sherri Vasquez is one of my heroes. My lovely friend just passed away April 25th, she was just 56 years old. Gone much too soon. We didn’t shop together, meet up for lunch or do girl things together. We were fellow journalists who had a mutual respect for one another. Sherri and I both earned our Journalism degrees from the University of Colorado. She went to the print side; I worked the broadcast side. She worked at the Rocky Mountain News; I worked at Denver7. Our paths crossed because we were both members of the Colorado Hispanic Media Association. There were very few Latinos working in the news media in the 80’s and 90’s, and CHMA provided some professional support in an era when it took work to get women hired into newsrooms; it took thick skin to stay there.

During her time at the Rocky, Sherri won the Positive Images Award two years in a row from the CHMA because she was fearless in delivering news about her community. 

She wrote a weekly column in the Rocky called “Que Pasa” because she was determined to tell the stories about a community no one else was writing about, featuring the characters, the people, the culture and events that weren’t being covered in mainstream media. That was a risky move for a local newspaper and not a popular path to take. Sherri was a trailblazer who wasn’t afraid of backlash because she knew what she was doing was meaningful and important. As readers, we needed those articles to remind ourselves that our history is important too. In a time when news organizations were more likely to interview officials and specialists about issues in our minority communities, Sherri was raising the bar and showcasing the very people most directly impacted. She wanted people, especially young people to know we don’t all think alike and don’t all fit under one heading. We may call ourselves Latino or Hispanic, but if you delve deeper we all identify in a more meaningful way as Chicanos, Spanish, Mexicans, New Mexicans, Hondurans, Puerto Ricans and so on.  We are not the same and Sherri wanted her readers to know it too. In our community, there are Latinos who are doctors, entrepreneurs, lawyers and professionals but for a long time no one wrote about them or interviewed them, except for Sherri. 

According to the Society of Professional Journalists, we believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy.

Journalism doesn’t always have to be about politics, or crime or business. It is a marker of our history, the archives of our lives. Sherri Vasquez made sure we knew our history so we could learn from the past and help build a better future. And that is the kind of public enlightenment we all deserve.

Leave a Reply