CIRC is grateful for an incredible team that enacts our mission to build a unified statewide voice to advance and defend justice for immigrants and refugees in Colorado.
Staff members are listed below by alphabetical order of last name:
Hameeda Abdul Kadir – Development Coordinator
Hameeda Abdul Kadir is a Somali-American who has called Colorado home since 2004. As a refugee she understands the plight and struggles of coming to America and uses that perspective to create change. Now a senior at Metropolitan State University of Denver as a student of the Human Service department with a concentration in Youth. Hameeda started her journey in change making as a participant of the Building Bridges MEUS (Middle East US) year long program 2013 cohort which focused on connecting through conflict by bringing together Israeli, Palestinian and American young women for a two week summer intensive. This sparked her awareness of global issues but also brought out the issues that we have right here in Colorado, motivating her to zoom in. This introduction to justice work fueled her to built those muscles for over 6 years and spoke out about what marginalized people face in Colorado as well as raise funds for inclusive programming. Since the age of 16 Hameeda has committed to the work of transformation by playing many roles at Building Bridges as a facilitator, a fellow, a recruiter, and now a Finance Committee member on the board. Today she serves at CIRC as our Development Coordinator and is excited to use her previous knowledge and to learn more about how to better serve Colorado immigrants and CIRC in creating long lasting change.
- Office: (303) 922-3344
Claudia Castillo – Legal Services Coordinator
Claudia is a recent graduate of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and graduated with a M.A. in the International Human Rights program. She also received the Joint Interdisciplinary International Law and Human Rights Certificate from Sturm College of Law.
Her passion is to advocate for migrant labor rights, immigrant legal support, and immigration reform. Claudia is a retired US Army Intelligence Officer with service in the United States and abroad, including South Korea, Kuwait, Iraq, Germany, and Honduras.
She received a Masters of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University and an undergraduate degree in Business Management from Jacksonville State University, Alabama. Her advocacy work includes interning at the Migrant Farm Worker Division, Colorado Legal Services conducting outreach conducting “know your rights” training in northeast Colorado. She also worked as a surveyor for the “Just Wages Project”, which investigated day laborers’ work and wage theft experiences in the Denver area to understand the wage theft climate. Claudia has participated in projects for the Human Trafficking Center, Korbel Asylum Project and the Korbel Immigration Research and Action Collective while in school. She is now a part of the CIRC team and looks forward to helping and advocating for immigrant rights.
- Office: 303-922-3344
- Citizenship Hotline: 832-492-9589
Victor Galvan – Director of Federal Campaigns and Engagements
Victor is a Rocky Mountain native, born in Chihuahua, Mexico and a graduate of North High School in Denver. He began organizing in the immigrant community in 2008 at age 16 through Padres Y Jóvenes Unidos. In 2012, Victor joined the CIRC team to help mobilize Latino and immigrant voters in the general election and was instrumental in the campaign to win ASSET in-state tuition equity in 2013. Victor’s voice helped to ensure that ASSET included state-funded scholarships for undocumented students. Victor is a directly impacted member of the CIRC staff and proudly calls himself a DREAMer. Victor dreams of one day finishing his college education, as he qualifies for ASSET.
Nelly García – West Slope Regional Organizer
Nelly F. Garcia Olmos moved from Mexico City to United States when she was 12 years old. She has lived in Grand Junction, Colorado since 2000 and graduated from Colorado Mesa University with a BA in Spanish Applied Professional and Spanish- Literature and Language. Nelly volunteered with the Hispanic Affairs Project (HAP), CIRC member organization in the west slope, which works toward a just and equitable society. She joined HAP board of directors in 2012, where she served as secretary. In the same year, Nelly also joined CIRC board of directors, serving as the secretary her first yar and the second year as the vice president.
Nelly has supported CIRC’s priority campaigns like Unite Colorado, as she represented HAP at the steering committee. She supported the work to repeal SB 90 and supported the work towards passing SB 13-251, which allow undocumented immigrant to obtain a state driver license. Nelly has travel to Washington DC, to advocate for immigration reform and Dream Act. When DACA passed in 2012, she worked in educating her community about the executive action and joined immigration attorneys in the effort to process DACA applications. Four the past 4 years, Nelly has worked for Migrant Education Program, enrolling families and providing instructional/support services for migrant families in 29 school district across the western slope of Colorado. She joined the team in 2018 as West Slope Regional Organizer.
Paola Grimaldo – Federal Campaign Organizer
Paola moved from Michoacan Mexico to the United States at the age of 2 and has called Denver her home ever since. She most recently graduated from the Community College of Denver with an AA in Political Science in 2018. She has started attending the Metropolitan State University of Denver to earn her BA in Political Science with an emphasis on communications.
As a DACA recipient, and daughter of immigrants fleeing extreme poverty in Mexico, Paola has a burning passion for equality of opportunity for all. Paola participated in the 2017 walkouts when the Trump Administration threatened to rescind DACA. This is when she knew she couldn’t stand by anymore, she had to take matters into her own hands and get her feet wet in the political arena. Since then, Paola has worked with multiple campaigns, fighting for abortion rights, climate, and immigrant rights. She is now one of the federal campaign organizers with CIRC and is fighting to get the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 passed so that she and other undocumented youth could live a normal life in the country they call home.
Gladis Ibarra – Hotline Manager & Denver Point Person
Gladis Ibarra, born in Zacatecas, Mexico, immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 8. From Boulder to Broomfield, she grew up in Colorado and graduated in 2008 from Vantage Point High School. Gladis has been an active volunteer with CIRC since 2012. In September of 2017 DACA was threatened and rescinded by the administration, Gladis participated in the massive Denver Public School walkouts where students marched to Metro State University. This year she joined the staff as a fellow for the Denver Region for 3 months. She is now joining the team full time as the new Hotline Coordinator and Denver Region Organizer support. As a DACA recipient, Gladis’ passion is the main thing that drives her in this fight to protect her family, her community. She is excited to be able to dedicate her time and energy to fight and defend people like herself.
Gladis Ibarra born in Zacatecas, Mexico, immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 8. From Boulder to Broomfield, she grew up in Colorado and graduated in 2008 from Vantage Point High School. Gladis has been an active volunteer with CIRC since 2012. In September of 2017 DACA was threatened and rescinded by the administration, Gladis participated in the massive Denver Public School walkouts where students marched to Metro State University. This year she joined the staff as a fellow for the Denver Region for 3 months. She is now joining the team full time as the new Hotline Coordinator and Denver Region Organizer support. As a DACA recipient, Gladis’ passion is the main thing that drives her in this fight to protect her family, her community. She is excited to be able to dedicate her time and energy to fight and defend people like herself.
Raquel Lane-Arellano – Political Manager
Joining CIRC as the Policy Manager is a dream come true! Ever since Raquel had her first taste of grassroots organizing as a high schooler on Obama’s campaign in 2012 to protect friends and loved ones who had just applied for DACA, she have been eager to help grow our pro-immigrant policy and political power here in Colorado. As a first-generation college graduate and Chicanx/Latinx major, she moved back to Colorado after college to empower her community and increase access to opportunity for all in our state.
In the 2018 midterm election, Raquel worked as a Family Defender Field Coordinator with CIRC leading CIRC’s civic engagement efforts in Aurora to promote sanctuary city policies and energize immigrant and POC voters. She looks forward to growing with CIRC and the immigrant rights movement in Colorado to continue crafting better realities and futures for our community together.
Mateo Lozano – Mountain Regional Coordinator
Originally from Bogota, Colombia; Brought to the USA when he was four years old. His family escaped from a country torn apart by a millennia of destabilization; A national history with roots stemming with endless imperialist abuses. FARC is holding his family’s country hostage to this very day.
Thanks to DACA, Mateo is a Colorado Mountain College graduate from Breckenridge, Colorado. He received his associate’s degree in psychology and will continue pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Communications and a minor in psychology in Metro State University. DACA has allowed him to involve himself with the Civic Engagement campaign during the 2016 elections, and has had the honor to involve himself with the HB-1206 license campaign as a DACA spokesperson and state coordinator for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.
Mateo Lozano currently has the honor of being the Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition; Assuring that the mountain regions of Colorado have safeguards and strong communities to defend against ICE.
Siena Mann – South Region Organizer
Siena has been active in justice movements since graduating from Haverford College with a B.A. in Spanish Literature. First educated in the OCCUPY movement in Philadelphia, Siena became deeply invested in immigrant rights issues while working in Mexico City at Casa de los Amigos, a non-profit focused on issues of immigrant and economic injustice. There, she worked in a coalition dedicated to addressing some of the root causes of forced migration: the failures of U.S. imperialism and neoliberalism. She then moved to El Paso, Texas where she worked supporting Annunciation House in their emergency migrant shelter program.
Siena moved back to Colorado to work at Joseph Law Firm, an immigration law firm, as a paralegal. Siena become an active local organizer in Colorado Springs in the deportation resistance movement. She helped found the Colorado Springs Sanctuary Coalition and is an active member of CIRC’s member group Grupo Esperanza. She joins the team at CIRC as the South Regional Organizer and is so excited to build a powerful movement in Southern Colorado for immigrant justice on local, state and national level!
Nicole Melaku – Executive Director
Nicole Melaku is the Executive Director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. Nicole was introduced to organizing and fundraising as a volunteer in Aurora public schools and was inspired to bring her skill set to the immigrant rights movement in 2010. In 2012, she joined the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition(CIRC) where she worked on CIRC’s immigrant integration programming in conjunction with national partners. Prior to taking this position, Nicole was on the staff of the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, where she oversaw grant-making and special initiatives including the Colorado Immigrant Funders Collaborative. She is first generation American and granddaughter of immigrants from Chihuahua and Guanajuato Mexico.
Nicole is an alumni of the University of Colorado, Boulder where she studied Latin American Studies and Spanish. Nicole currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) and the National Partnership for New Americans. S 2018 fellow of the Transformative Leadership for Change in Colorado, a select group of 19 leaders from diverse organizations working to build a more just and inclusive vision for Colorado.
Chau Phan – AAPI Community Organizer
Chau (Jo) is the Asian American & Pacific Islander Organizer for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC). She immigrated from Vietnam at the age of one and attends the University of Denver. She is working on her Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Computer Science and is multilingual in English, Vietnamese, and Mandarin.
Chau started her work in intersectional justice around the age of 18, focusing on anti-blackness in AAPI communities, gender equality, and LGBTQ rights. In 2018, she lobbied with the Friends Committee on National Legislation for clean energy and climate change policies in both Denver and D.C. She also worked at the Colorado State Capitol as a legislative aide, dedicating most of her time to bill research around the growing homeless community in Colorado. Chau is currently on the Executive Committee for the Rock the Boat Colorado AAPI Leadership Conference for three years running. She works to bring in high school and collegiate students to become civically engaged around (though not exclusively) Asian American & Pacific Islander issues on a local, national, and global scale.
Cristian Solano-Córdova – Communications Manager
Cristian is a Denver native, born in Chihuahua, Mexico and a graduate of George Washington High School in Denver. He began working for the immigrant community in 2015 when he ran and won an election to become a student body president at MSU Denver. After his work for undocumented students at Auraria Campus, he worked for immigrant communities at the Mental Health Center of Denver, but yearned for a more direct role. Cristian joined the CIRC team in 2017 as Communications Manager. Having benefited from the ASSET law for undocumented college students that CIRC had a hand in passing, he feels working for CIRC is his way of paying that forward. Cristian is a proud DREAMer and hopes to continue his education and one day becoming a medical doctor after his work for the immigrant justice movement.
Joshua Stallings – North Regional Organizer
Josh’s eyes were opened in 2015 and 2016 while spending a year working at La Sagrada Familia migrant shelter in Tlaxcala, Mexico. He met people who had been his neighbors in his hometown of San Antonio, TX and college-town Lakewood, Colorado and were then migrating back to the US after deportation. Their stories moved him and he realized that his own liberation would be bound to that of his immigrant brothers and sisters.
When he returned to Denver in the Fall of 2016, he got involved in the movement and in deportation resistance. Through work with CIRC’s Docuteam, he has been a part of our push for Virginia’s Law. He is proud of the collective success made to require an advisement of rights and end ICE holds and information sharing without a warrant. Moving forward, he will continue to push to end ICE notifications, inform people of their rights, increase access to legal and community resources, and provide a pathway to citizenship for ALL PEOPLE in the United States!
He is very, very excited to be the new North Regional Organizer! He’s looking forward to building new relationships, empowering movement leaders, and taking big steps toward making Colorado a more immigrant-friendly state as a part of this beautiful coalition. *
Stephanie Tanny – Development Director
Stephanie and her family immigrated from Indonesia to the United States when she was two years old. She grew up in Denver, and double majored in Ethnic Studies and Sociology at Colorado State University. She has been working in the social justice field for 8+ years and previously served on the CIRC Board of Directors from 2012-2015.
Stephanie has helped generate over $1 million for sexual violence prevention and has won national leadership awards including the Top 15 Asian American Women Leaders in 2011. She has been interviewed by MSNBC, the Westword, The White House Project, and has appeared live on C-SPAN. As an international speaker, she has shared the stage with public figures such as President Bill Clinton, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Actor Kal Penn, and John Oliver from The Daily Show.
One of the most comprehensive and intersectional projects that Stephanie has worked on was for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), where she completed a key investigative report (Turning the Page on U.S. Immigration Policy) that documented how current immigration policy affects Asian American women and families. She has worked for organizations such as Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, Organization of Chinese Americans, and Congresswoman Judy Chu.
Stephanie is passionate about creating more diverse and inclusive communities, and she is looking forward to continuing on her work with CIRC.
Caitlin Trent – Operations Coordinator
Caitlin is from Colorado, where she also received her Bachelor’s in Spanish and International Relations at the University of Denver. After graduating she lived in Peru, working at a development non-profit as a volunteer coordinator. For the following three years, she bounced between working in Breckenridge, Colorado and Latin America. During that time, she worked for Walking Tree Travel as a service guide in Peru, did journalism in Medellin, Colombia, and was a human rights intern at the Organization of American States (OAS) in the Dominican Republic. After the internship with the OAS, she moved to Hawaii for nine months, waiting tables before starting her Master’s Degree. For her Master’s, she returned to the University of Denver and studied International Relations with a concentration in transitional justice and received a Certificate in International Human Rights Law. During her Master’s, she worked in Sri Lanka with a Community Policing program that improves relations between post-conflict communities and the local police force. After graduating, she conducted research in Nepal on diverging agendas between victims, government and civil society organizations in its war-crime justice process. Her research is currently being published by the Sie Center at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. She started at CIRC in August, 2017 as the Operations Coordinator and has loved the team and the critical immigration work that it does in her home of Colorado.
Travis Harris – Data Fellow
Originally from Nebraska, Travis comes to CIRC by way of Los Angeles, where he most recently led the technology team for the veteran founded disaster relief organization Team Rubicon. Prior to working in the technology field, Travis was in the US Army for 5 years where he spent time in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, and England. During his time in the Army, Travis received his undergraduate degree in Physics, and is now attending school again for Fermentation Science. In addition to humanitarian/disaster relief technology work, Travis has been a tech advisor for local and congressional campaigns, focusing on data architecture and communications.
Karen Orona – Policy Fellow
Karen is currently a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she studies International Affairs and Political Science. Her family is originally from Durango and Chihuahua, Mexico, two regions devastated by crime, poverty, and corruption. This led her family to find a safer life with more opportunity in the United States. After watching her family struggle in America’s immigration system, Karen began to organize for immigrant and civil rights.
As a high schooler, she was named Diversity Director for the High School Democrats of America and organized minority students from across the country to help them find their political voice. As a 17-year old, Karen focused on environmental justice and helped organize middle school and high school students from different states to demand a Climate Action Plan from their local government. Since then, Karen has focused in on Colorado politics as a canvasser, a Legislative Intern, and now a Policy Fellow for CIRC. Karen is continuously motivated by her family, friends, and community who live in fear everyday because of their immigration status
Esmeralda Baltierra-Chavez – Hotline and Denver Organizing Intern
Esmeralda was born in Loreto, Zacatecas, but she has been living in CO for 18 years now. She is an undocumented immigrant living under DACA. She is a current student at Monmouth College in Monmouth, IL, where she runs and plays cross country, track, and soccer. She is double majoring in Communications and political science, where hopefully one day in the future, she will become a immigration lawyer. For her, CIRC was a great opportunity to get more involved hands on with the immigrant community. Although she is an undocumented immigrant and has held events of her own to reach out to the immigrant community, she felt like there was more that she could do. CIRC was the first step in the right direction for her. Being able to hear first hand cases and create files and documents passing information amongst immigrants, helps her see change and she loves feeling that she’s a part of this, whether it be small or big. She hopes that by doing this internship, she becomes aware of how it is; she wants to make a difference and then hopefully one day in the future be able to be the lawyer every immigrant deserves.
Emily Bruell – Communications Intern
Emily is a rising senior at Carleton College, where she’s studying English. Having grown up in the Roaring Fork Valley on Colorado’s Western Slope and seeing the effects of immigration policy and enforcement on her friends and community, she’s excited for the opportunity to use the understanding of writing and narrative gained in her major to contribute to CIRC’s work in the communications department.
Flor Canales – Legal Services Intern
Flor is originally from Baja California, Mexico but has lived in Denver for most of her life. Flor graduated from DSST: Cole High School in 2018 and is currently studying International Relations at Claremont McKenna College. After witnessing how the immigration system impacted her close friends and family at a young age, she decided to get involved in immigration movements in high school and college. In high school, she was a member of the Student Board of Education for Denver Public Schools, which sparked her strong interest in social justice movements and activism. Through this organization she got involved in food equity, student voting, college access, and immigration issues in Denver. In college, she is a member of Claremont for Refugee Rights, a student-led group aimed at spreading awareness and helping Latin American refugees. Additionally, she worked with Organeyez, an organization aimed at creating online tools and resources to empower and help activists and social justice movements. She decided to intern at CIRC this summer because of her passion for immigration reform and activism movements in the United States. She is extremely excited to continue the fight for immigrant rights and give back to the immigrant community in Colorado through CIRC.
Riley Renick – Legal Services Intern
Riley is entering his senior year at the University of Denver, where he is studying political science. Riley grew up in Los Angeles where he spent his summers working with labor and immigration groups. Currently, he is interning with the legal services team at the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition as well as preparing for the law school entrance exam with the goal of attending law school in 2021.