Felicia Griffin

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Felicia Griffin is the Executive Director for United for a New Economy. She joined UNE in 2013 after working for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. She has worked on economic security policy at the state and national levels and on statewide organizing campaigns to increase Medicaid enrollment for child poverty. She has also led a campaign funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation called “Race Matters: Policy through a Racial Lens” that focused on reducing disparities for communities of color in housing, employment, health and education. She represents UNE on the board of the Partnership for Working Families, the Center for Popular Democracy Action and is the current Co-chair for Mile High Connects.

Felicia grew up in Aurora, Colorado and was raised by a single mother. In her first job, she was a member of UFCW Local 7 (King Soopers) and became a union steward at 16 years old. She is committed to opening the doors of opportunity for all workers and their families. Felicia believes in UNE and feels her experience and passion has led her to this awesome organization. In her free time, Felicia loves to travel and spend quality time with her husband and beautiful children.

Lorrine Banzie

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Lorrine Banzie has been the office manager at UNE since 2015. Her role is to manage the day to day organizational operations; from admin and bookkeeping to human resources.

Lorrine’s passion for this work stems from her personal experience as an immigrant from Zimbabwe; she came to the United States in 2000 for a better life in the midst of her own country’s internal military conflict and the desire to protect her family. This experience has guided her to be a fighter, if you want a better life you have to go out and get it. Or in the words of her favorite South African, “It Always Seems impossible until it’s Done!”-Nelson Mandela. Lorrine became a naturalized citizen in 2016!

Prior to coming to UNE, Lorrine worked 15 years at Union Taxi. While there she fought for over two years for a union and won the fight for OPEIU local 30 in 2013.

Lorrine loves to travel, enjoys watching sports such as soccer, her favorite team is Manchester United, the Denver Broncos and Basketball.

Desiree Westlund Cindric

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Desiree Westlund Cindric is the Deputy Director of Policy & Operations at United for a New Economy.  She joined UNE in 2011 to build out UNE’s grassroots organizing capacity and forward UNE’s efforts to integrate organizing and policy into local power-building for justice.

Desiree came into community organizing work through immigrant justice solidarity and coalition building in Denver.  She worked previously as a labor organizer with SEIU and community organizer with Together Colorado. She led the coalition that won passage of the Wage Protection Act in Colorado in 2014 and is a founding member of Mile High Connects, a collaboration of more than 20 philanthropies and nonprofits dedicated to ensuring that all people benefit from the Denver region’s transportation expansion.

Desiree is now raising the 4th generation of her family to live in Adams county and has weekly dinners with all 4 generations under one roof. Desiree works for UNE to form part of a community that is fighting and resisting oppression, while also building the systems and change that we do want.

Favorite Quote: Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public- Cornell West

Lucas Da Silva

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Lucas Da Silva is a Community Organizer with United for a New Economy. He joined UNE in late 2017 and is responsible for organizing the Aurora chapter. Lucas is Undocumented and Unafraid and currently has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Before joining UNE, Lucas worked in DC as the National Field Data Coordinator for United We Dream. 

His past experiences include organizing in Florida, Texas, Alabama, California, and Nevada predominantly for immigrant’s rights. In 2012, he co-founded the Campaign for an American Dream. In 2013, Lucas moved to Washington D.C. to work with data in organizing, going on to the develop the Dream Connect platform, a data collection tool for over 54 immigrant youth led affiliates across the country. 

Lucas finds his passion rooted in his own immigrant experience. His father was deported in 2010 to Brazil for driving without a valid license and passed away two years later. Unable to bury his father, he remains committed to justice for families everywhere. His favorite quote is from MLK Jr: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” 

Shanta Farrington

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Shanta Farrington is the Digital Campaign Strategist for United for a New Economy. She is responsible for internal and external communication strategies via traditional media relationships, organizational messaging and maintaining a visible social media presence to advance our campaign priorities.

Originally from North Carolina, her path in the movement began by advocating for voting rights and environmental justice. Growing up in the South and seeing firsthand injustices of brown and black communities, is what keeps Shanta motivated and invested in building power to win. She has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with immigrants and refugees in rural Colorado. Shanta currently sits on the executive committee for the Colorado Sierra Club and serves as Vice President of her local union.

In her free time, she loves to travel, reading and hiking the Colorado mountains. Shanta holds a B.A. in Politics and M.A. in International Relations-Politics from the University of Manchester UK.

Shanta’s Favorite Quote: “Nah.”-Rosa Parks.

Laurel Hayden

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Laurel Hayden is the Lead Organizer with UNE and is responsible for the local Westminster/Adams County chapter has been organizing since September 2015.  Highlights of her experience include meeting leaders in all corners of the community and working with them to build up their skills to lead their own organizing committees. Prior to joining UNE, Laurel earned her Masters in International Human Rights from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Laurel’s passion for workers rights and immigrant rights was exemplified through projects with the day laborer community in Denver fighting for stolen wages and their rights in the workplace. Before that, Laurel lived in Quito, Ecuador where she worked for the Federación Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indígenas y Negras (FENOCIN), a grassroots organizing group dedicated to mobilizing people to fight for Indigenous land and water rights.

Her passion for fighting for working families and immigrant rights stems from experiences within her own family, especially watching her Father navigate the role of an ally in his own life and workspaces. In her free time, Laurel loves to fly fish, hike, camp, ride horses, and snowboard. A quote that Laurel holds close comes from an Ojibwe ceremonial song, “We will stir the waters until one remembers.”

Eric Leveridge

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Eric Leveridge is a policy analyst at United for a New Economy. He joined UNE after interning with the policy team, and he works closely with the organizing team and UNE’s partners to provide research and analysis in support of their campaigns.

Originally from Oklahoma City, Eric began his career in law, focusing on immigration law and policy and international human rights. Frustrated with the legal profession, he moved to Denver in 2015 to support grassroots social justice movements. He previously interned as an immigrant rights organizer with Coloradans for Immigrant Rights in Denver. Eric is passionate about economic justice and believes that everyone is his community deserves to live and work with dignity. He holds a law degree from American University in Washington, D.C. and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver. He lives in Denver with his partner Amy and their corgi Arlo.

Favorite quote: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” – Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s

Jazmine McGill

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Jazmine McGill is a Community Organizer for United for a New Economy. She’s a recent college graduate from the University of North Texas where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology. She is a national scholar who dedicated her educational career to studying racial inequalities and stratification in the United States.  Growing up in a low-income area, learning and living the struggles of her community, and working with people from cultures all over the world has inspired her to become a community organizer.  She is particularly passionate about race relations, racial justice, issues of class, and gender equality.

She is committed to UNE’s work because she believes in people power and knows that no one is better suited to resolve the issues in a community better than its own members. She deeply respects UNE’s membership-led design and looks forward to collectively working towards liberation with the communities being served.  This work is especially important to her in today’s hostile political climate where there is massive abuse of power at all levels of government, an increasing gap in the concentration of wealth, and strained relationships between people from different demographics. She sees UNE’s work as a positive force and unifier in the communities that we serve.    

Melissa Pluss

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Melissa Pluss is the Organizing Director for United for a New Economy since 2015. Melissa is responsible for driving, supervising and developing organizers for our vision and overseeing day-to-day development of UNE campaigns.

Melissa fell in love with grassroots organizing in 2008 via the DART network, in Louisville KY; where she was instrumental in organizing hundreds of community members fight for school bullying policies and systemic solutions to end the school to prison pipeline. Together they won anti-bullying policies and mandatory staff trainings for restorative practices in schools. As a mentoring coordinator for the Kansas re-entry program, she helped ex-offenders safely integrate home following incarceration. She is motivated by the urgency of injustice and believes that the healing of our nation will come through building powerful grassroots movements.

Melissa’s favorite quote is by indigenous activist Lilla Watson “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine then let us work together.” In her free time Melissa enjoys live music, camping, healing, hiking, ecstatic dance, and yoga. Melissa also serves on the board of directors for Colorado Circles for Change, a restorative justice organization serving youth and their families.

Pamela Reséndiz Trujano

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Pamela Reséndiz Trujano is the Deputy Director for United for a New Economy. They’re responsible for the membership organizing components and oversees digital strategies in the organization.

Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, they grew up in the suburbs outside of Dallas, Texas. Pamela has been a community organizer and leader since high school; but became heavily involved in the movement after detainment and deportation proceedings in March 2010. Upon release from the Don Hutto Detention Center, they co-founded and lead a Texas university hunger strike that launched at the national level for passage of the DREAM Act. Pamela is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio, and holds a B.A. in Political Science. Post-graduation Pamela completed an internship with the Mexican American League Defense and Educational Fund and begin working with the labor movement in Albuquerque and Dallas. Pamela enjoys making art in their free time and decompressing.

Pamela’s Favorite Quote:

I believe in life.
And i have seen the death parade
march through the torso of the earth,
sculpting mud bodies in its path.
I have seen the destruction of the daylight,
and seen blood thirsty maggots
prayed to and saluted. And i believe that a lost ship,
steered by tired, seasick sailors,
can still be guided home
to port.

>>assata shakur

Quinntavious Williams

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Quinntavious Williams is a policy analyst at United for a New Economy.  Quinn moved to Denver to join UNE in 2015 after finishing a Masters in Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in Minneapolis.  He is from Camilla, Georgia, a small town in Southwest Georgia that is over two-thirds black.  Quinn came to this work because he wants to see communities like his own do more than live on the brink of survival.

He first became involved in social justice work in 2012 when he interned with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.  UNE is the third Partnership for Working Families affiliate that Quinn has worked with.  He strongly believes in the work of the Partnership for Working Families and he now serves on the board.  In his spare time, Quinn likes to bike around Denver, travel to other cities, and hangout with his friends.

Favorite quote: “While there is a lower class, I am in it; and while there is a criminal element, I am of it; and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” – Eugene V. Debs