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.
I grew up in West Denver and attended Denver Public Schools graduating from George Washington High School. I continued on to Colgate University for undergrad.
After graduation, I joined Puerto Rico Local 610 with the New York Hotel Trades Council as one of my first jobs where I organized hotel workers. I saw the power in bargaining for a better, more equitable working environment and for communities to come together and fight for their needs.
When my father passed, I returned to Denver to take care of my mother 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.
ROOTED IN COMMUNITY
When my parents came to the U.S. over 40 years ago, they arrived in poverty. Eventually, they built a small business and a rewarding life through hard work and their connection to community.
I helped my parents navigate systems of business, education, and society. The intricacies of the immigration experience taught me that we do not succeed on our own. Our success depends on a caring community. 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.