Felipe Viayra Escalera
Lyra Denver Director at Lyra Colorado
Greeley Central High School, 2008 University of Denver, 2012: Bachelors in Spanish Literature and Language, Political Science and International Relations
I am an incredibly values driven person and I've made it my goal to serve the people of Colorado in the best way possible because this state has given me so much. I am an immigrant to this state from Mexico. I came to this country when I was 2 and grew up in Fort Morgan till the age of 12 and then moved to Greeley Colorado. As the first of my family to graduate from high school and college, I've been incredibly passionate about educational equity and immigrant rights. That has led me to have had a career in organizing and advocating with and on behalf of the most vulnerable in our communities and also for more equitable policies that will give every person in Colorado, regardless of where they come from, a fighting chance to achieve their own American Dream. That is what drove my parents and that is what drives me. I've worked with Stand for Children Colorado as an organizer to fight more more equitable educational policies. I've worked with Together Colorado to push for human dignity to be at the forefront of every policy conversation. I've worked with Colorado Peoples Alliance that strives for equity when it comes to climate justice, economic justice, immigrant rights, etc. I've worked with Leadership for Educational Equity to advocate for more equitable education policies alongside teachers in Denver. I'm currently working at Lyra Colorado to elevate the voices of parents, teachers and students regarding educational equity. I also helped found the Padres y Jovenes Unidos Action Fund so that people of color could have a vehicle by which they could endorse and advocate for elected.
I have donated to various campaigns since 2015. I've only donated to democratic campaigns. I've donated to the Julie Gonzales campaign, the Iman Jodeh campaign. I have donated to political organizations like Emerge Colorado and NARAL Colorado and Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. I've also donated to the Colorado Peoples Alliance.
Appointed by the Mayor of Denver to the City and County of Denver’s Immigrant and Refugee Commission. Appointed by the Denver Clerk and Recorder to the ACCESO Spanish Advisory Board I was on the Denver Young Democrats Executive Board for two years I am the CO-chair of the Young Latino Philanthropist Board, a giving circle through the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado. New Leaders Council Colorado Executive Board Appointed by the mayor of Denver to the Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board I was on the Asbury Elementary Collaborate School Committee as a Community Member in Denver Karasi preparatory School · Outreach Board Director Denver, CO · 2014 – 2015 I am on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Peoples Alliance I was one of the founding Board members for the Padres y Jovenes Unidos Action Fund I was on the Philanthropic Leadership Committee for the Denver Foundation Board member of the Ricardo Flores Magon Academy Alumni Board member for the Puksta Foundation
I want to serve on the committee because I want to offer my experiences working with a diverse group of Coloradans to ensure their voices are at the table as well. As a naturalized citizen, I was so excited to vote and be engaged in our democracy when I became a citizen and this process is incredibly important to making sure we have congressional districts that represent ALL Coloradans.
As a life-long community organizer. I understand greatly the need to have strong relationships to be able to move the needle forward for progress. With that in mind, I'll make sure to listen to my fellow commissioners and take their perspectives into account. I also think I bring an interesting perspective having grown up in Northern Colorado, still having family there, having lived in Denver and now living in Aurora. I would bring that perspective and energy to this space and will make sure that diplomacy leads me in making sure I have a strong foundation by which to work with the rest of the commissioners. An example of my ability to be fair and impartial relates to my time starting the Padres y Jovenes Unidos Action Fund. As a board member, I had no voting rights as to who we would end up endorsing and when they time came for our members to endorse candidates, I disagreed with who they ended up endorsing. I preferred other candidates but I respected the process and led the digital advocacy afterwards for the candidates to the school board that our members endorsed. I respected their involvement in our board and valued it greatly, beyond what my own beliefs were because that's how it should be.
As a community organizer, I've had to develop strong analytical skills to understand how systems work, what's the root cause of issues that our communities want to tackle and also how to best develop strong teams. Like I mentioned, the biggest thing is the ability to fully research to understand issues, situations, relationships, etc. so that can inform the teams that I'm guiding and organizing. As a strong organizer, I need to be a few steps ahead of the folks that I'm organizing.