Community Food Systems Manager, Hunger Free Colorado
I have a Bachelors of Arts in Ethnic Studies and in Political Science from Colorado State University, and I have a Masters of Education in Urban Education with an endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education from Regis University
Most recently, in my current profession, I worked with state legislators on hunger relief issues, as well as local government officials. I worked with our team and legislators to pass the Food Pantry Assistance Grant Program (HB20-1422) this past session, and have worked with dozens of officials on COVID response grants and programming. In my prior position, as a community organizer, I worked with community groups and community members to advocate for environmental issues at all three levels of government, most notably SB19-181. In that same position, I also supported the campaigns of several candidates for Denver City Council, of which Chris Hinds and Candi CdeBaca won their elections. I have always been an activist and advocated in various forms and fashions on numerous issues my entire adult life. The only time I have donated to a campaign was for the Aurora City Council elections in 2019, to Bryan Lindstrom.
Professionally - I have worked for Hunger Free Colorado, Food and Water Watch, the Colorado Department of Human Services, and Aurora Public Schools. Personally - I have volunteered with community groups like 350, Colorado's People Action, Mijente, Dream Corps, Power Shift, and numerous others. I have never been a dues paying member to any of these groups, with the exception of being a Union Representative when working in Aurora Public Schools.
I have been doing community organizing since I was in college, I am very familiar and passionate about working for and with community. In all facets of my life, personally and professionally, I strive to ensure community voice is centered, community members have agency, and that there is collaboration among all stake holders. Currently, I lead a network of 100 food pantries from across the state - some big, some little, some urban, some rural, some religious, some secular. Collectively, we find common ground in our collective work to eradicate hunger. I help manage and lead our network to work together with numerous partners and achieve results. I have been doing similar work like this for over the last 15 years and elucidate further in my resume and other answers.
I believe representation matters. The way our districts are constructed is critical to ensuring there is a fair process for communities to decide their elected officials - not for elected officials to decide their voters. I overwhelmingly supported both Amendment Y & Z back in 2018 and want to continue in my trajectory of serving my community by fulfilling our ideals of democracy to its fullest potential through serving on the commission to ensure Coloradans are able to participate in fair elections. I believe as a younger person who is very engaged in both my community and politics, with a thorough understanding of both, that I bring a holistic perspective and level headedness that will allow me to do this work successfully. I am born and raised here in Colorado. I am a Democrat, but I work in rural communities with folks who are aligned differently than I am politically. I have a wide range of professional experiences and have spent significant time in various communities across our beautiful state. I believe I am fully equipped to handle this work, and 100% committed to doing so.
I was an educator for seven years and there is no other experience that enables one to do more in working with people from an array of backgrounds and beliefs. It is also, in my opinion, the greatest profession at building consensus and collaboration. While often that skillset and those experiences are devalued, I believe it is the most powerful profession for learning how to motivate people, how to bring them together to solve issues, how to analyze and critique issues in multiple perspectives, and how to ensure all voices are heard. I took that skillset and have applied into the political sphere the last few years, as a community organizer and now working on community food systems. In my current work, I work with elected officials, government staff, non-profit partners, farmers, community members and so many more. To be successful in my work, it is imperative that I build trust, that I listen first and always, that I treat everyone with dignity and respect, and that I follow through with my word. I believe it is these experiences, skills, and characteristics that will enable me to work with other commissioners and be fair and impartial in doing the work for all Coloradans.
I am a systems thinker. Since my time in university, where I learned to think critically, eradicate any fallacious reasoning, and ensure that I had all the information from a variety of sources, I have continued to hone those skills. As an educator, I taught students how to do so as well. And, more recently, I have proven in my professional work that I have the capacity to handle large amounts of information and data, to understand relationships and system processes, and to evaluate, synthesize, and analyze problems effectively.