My father was an immigrant and my mother a refugee. Both came to the U.S. with dreams of a better life – a life filled with opportunities, where hard work is rewarded, and aspirations can be realized.
ROOTED IN DENVER
When my parents came to the U.S. over 40 years ago, they arrived in poverty and eventually built a rewarding life through hard work and the connection to community that Denver is famous for. Helping my parents navigate systems of business, education, society, and the intricacies of the immigration experience taught me that none of us makes it on our own. It takes a caring community to succeed. From resource workers, new neighbors, and unbreakable bonds we forged in resettlement camps, my family has crossed paths with so many people who have imparted a piece of their unwavering belief in Denver in my heart. It is through this sense of community and growing up as a first-generation American that I understand family is more than blood – it is the people who root for and support us, and who we care for and support in return.
This core value of community paired with first-hand knowledge of what it is to live at the intersection of cultures has guided my education, career, and my civic engagement. After graduating from George Washington High School and Colgate University for undergrad, one of my first jobs was organizing for hotel workers in Puerto Rico. I saw the power in bargaining for a better, more equitable working environment and for communities to come together and fight for their needs. It was frustrating to see employees fighting still in a modern era for equal pay, benefits, safety, and paid leave.
When my father passed, I returned to Denver and worked at the Denver Public Library leading the New Americans Project directly alongside the City and County of Denver to develop programs that support the economic mobility of our most vulnerable residents in the most marginalized neighborhoods. This work has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career. But Denver is rapidly expanding and uncovering new challenges every day. There's still more to be done and Denverites still struggle in their everyday lives. It should not be so hard to live, work, and play in Denver. Solving these problems requires creative thinking and to ensure everyone has a seat at the table as we plan and build tomorrow’s Denver. After all, we are at our best when we come together.
Denver’s growth has prompted many questions in our future and how we answer them will have impacts on generations to come. We have the potential to retain our small-town sense of community, while tackling big city problems in a way that can benefit all our residents equitably. We want our city to grow in such a way that people will stay and build something special for their families and communities, like my parents did. We need leaders who will meet our residents where they are: we need to get City Council out of the City and County Building and into our neighborhoods. We need to do our best to understand our residents' most urgent needs, and include them as we plan efficient and sustainable services.
I know how it feels to be invisible and unheard. I have lived a life surrounded by families struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof above their heads. I know the frustration of not being able to access public systems designed to support them. But I also know that when we come together, we can drive big change and build a city that works for everyone today, while being sustainable for the world tomorrow. I want to put my lived experiences, my skills, and my love for this city to work for my fellow Denverites. As your next Denver City Council Member At Large, I commit to continue to be your public servant.
Together, we will build a Denver where we all contribute to Denver’s “biggest little city” community, while ensuring housing becomes more fair, jobs turn into profitable careers, and families feel safe and secure in their homes. Together, we will build a Denver that serves everyone. But I can’t do it alone. I hope you’ll consider donating to my campaign or joining our team to volunteer.