Welcome our New Executive Director

N Melaku March 2017 headshotColorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Announces New

Executive Director, Nicole Melaku


The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) has hired Nicole Melaku as its Executive Director, effective March 23rd, 2017.  Nicole will succeed Julien Ross who announced last year that he will step down at the end of March 2017 after ten and a half years of faithful service.

“The work of the search committee was comprehensive, intentional, and engaging over the entire four-month process. We conducted thorough conversations about the right candidates given our current strategic priority campaigns and long-term vision, and ended with the clear and unanimous choice of Nicole Melaku,” said Nancy Delgado, CIRC Board Treasurer and Search Committee Co-Chair representing Lamar Unidos in Lamar.

“Nicole is a deeply respected and trusted leader in the immigrant rights movement,” said Wendolyne Omaña, CIRC Board Secretary and Search Committee Co-Chair representing Compañeros–Four Corners Immigrant Resource Center in Durango. “Nicole brings a powerful vision for protecting the progress that we have made the last decade, and for growing our coalition to ensure that all Coloradans can thrive and live united with their families.”

For the past year, Nicole Melaku has worked with the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, an initiative of Rose Community Foundation, where she oversees the Immigrant Funders Collaborative. Nicole began her career in the telecommunications industry and was introduced to organizing and fundraising as a volunteer in public schools. Having been personally connected to immigrant issues throughout her life, Nicole was inspired to bring her skill set to the immigrant rights movement in 2010. Nicole served as Fundraising and Communications Coordinator for Rights for All People, and then as CIRC’s Director of Programs and Administration from 2012 to 2016. Nicole’s return to CIRC and the immigrant rights movement is an inspirational homecoming.

“As the proud granddaughter of a bracero who came to the United States seeking a better life and a first generation Colorado Latina, I am incredibly honored and humbled to take on this role working alongside our members, leaders, and stakeholders in the struggle for immigrant justice.” said Nicole Melaku, CIRC’s incoming Executive Director. “Together, we will will protect CIRC member policy wins and ensure that Colorado will be a state where immigrants and refugees can live free of fear, united with their families, and with allies that will stand with us to protect dignity and justice for all.”

“We are elated to have Nicole return to CIRC as our new Executive Director,” added Pedro Carrillo, CIRC Board President and Chair of the Search Committee representing Services Employees International Union, Local 105. “Nicole is a visionary leader who will bring depth of organizational experience and strong working relationships within immigrant and refugee communities.”

“I have worked closely with Nicole over the past 7 years, and her commitment to the justice, dignity, and wellbeing of immigrants and refugees is unwavering,” said Gina Millan, CIRC Board Vice-President and Chair of the 2022 Strategic Planning Team representing the organization COLOR in Denver.

“I could not be more confident and proud to pass the baton to Nicole,” said Julien Ross, CIRC’s outgoing Executive Director. “I know that Nicole, together with CIRC’s incredible staff, members, board, partners, and donors, will lead CIRC to greater heights of power and progress to achieve a welcoming and thriving Colorado for all.”

Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) 

Since 2002, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) and its statewide member organizations have worked to build a more welcoming Colorado for immigrants and refugees, and helped to advance more successful integration of our newest Americans and receiving communities so that all Coloradans can thrive together.  CIRC’s programs include non-partisan civic engagement, public education, and advocating for workable, fair and humane immigration policies, with offices in Montrose, Pueblo, Carbondale, Longmont, and Denver. Today, Colorado is a national model for immigrant integration, trust, and opportunity.  www.coloradoimmigrant.org

Nicole Melaku, incoming Executive Director, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition