Alex is the Field Director for our sister organization, CIRC Action Fund, 501(c)4.
What does immigrant rights mean to you?
For me, immigrant rights means realizing that we’re not alone in this movement and we shouldn’t think alone. That’s really what this work means to me, to work harder every single day than I did the day before to create a better environment for my family members and my peers in the undocumented community.
What’s the biggest challenge in your work?
I would say the biggest challenge for me is just the fact that I take this work so personally. When I don’t get something done, it’s very personal for me because I know that, let’s say for example if we don’t win a race or if we don’t pass a specific policy, I know the direct impacts of being an undocumented individual in this country. I know my family members also have to go through that. So for me it’s the fear of failure, and knowing the real effects that has on our communities. That’s what I’ve struggled with the most, but I feel it’s also what’s pumped me up the most, what’s motivated me the most, because I know that there is no option for failure.
What’s a moment you’re proud of?
This year, we had a very big contentious city council race in Denver. It was for city council, mayor, and the clerk and recorder seats, and at CIRC Action Fund, we believed that if we elected a pro-immigrant, POC led council in city council, then we’d be able to get policy victories for immigrants. So CIRC Action supported four individual members who were elected into city council: Amanda Sandoval, Jamie Torres, Candi Cdebaca, and Paul Lopez. That’s historic, because for the first time in Denver city council history, 30% of that city council is Latinx, which is reflective of the overall Latinx population in the city of Denver.
And what kinds of policy impacts are you seeing from this more diverse council?
One really big one that I’m extremely happy to highlight is with GEO, a private, for-profit entity which basically runs detention centers not just here in Colorado but also throughout the country. One of our council endorsees, Candi Cdebaca, actually led the fight for the city of Denver to cancel its contract with GEO, and because of the members we helped get elected, because Jamie Torres and Amanda Sandoval also were a part of that, that contract was terminated and Denver no longer does business with that horrible industry.
This post is part of our Staff Spotlight series, highlighting some of the amazing people on the CIRC and CIRC Action Fund team! Follow the series on facebook at www.facebook.com/coloradoimmigrant or instagram @co_immigrant. Or, search “Humans of CIRC” on our website to read interviews from more staff!