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

Karla Loaiza

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Karla Loaiza is the Community Organizer for our Aurora upcoming Chapter at United for a New Economy.

Karla has 14 years’ experience in grassroots community organizing with Together Colorado.  Karla has had well-rounded exposure to the power of relationships, strategical thinking and action-oriented skills and abilities related to grass roots organizing.

Most recently she was part of The Civic Canopy’s Team. Stewarding the SHARE Network, working closely with the steering committee, community partners and overall building the capacity of resident leaders related to Healthy Eating and Active Living  in North East Denver.

Along Karla’s life journey she has been inspired by many, one person in particular gave Karla a 360-life course correction that changed her life and the life of her 2 sons, with the introduction to grass roots organizing. It was her dear friend, mentor and seasoned organizer Paty Lawless, who saw in Karla what she didn’t see in herself many moons ago.

Now, Karla strives to inspire others to find their voice and activate their gifts and talents, threw community organizing, like she was once inspired to do so!

Favorite Quote; “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” — Dr. Seuss

Celesté Martinez

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Celesté Martinez is the Organizing Director for United for a New Economy. She joined in 2018 to strengthen UNE’s commitment to being a powerful member led organization for Colorado.

Celesté’s family comes from the borderlands of South Texas and a long history of struggle with limited access to education, health care, and jobs to this day. Growing up with the awareness of how much suffering inequity and injustice can cause, she was struck by how the immigrant community in Colorado faced such blatant discrimination and violence. For this reason, Celesté committed her education to receiving a dual Bachelor’s of Arts in Philosophy and Peace & Justice Studies from Regis University.

Celesté lived in El Salvador in 2014, where she saw first hand how U.S. foreign policy contributes to poverty, gang violence and forced migration of Central Americans. Upon her return to Colorado, she worked for El Centro Humanitario para los Trabajadores furthering her passion to fight for racial, economic and immigrant justice. Over the past three years, Celesté worked as a Bilingual Organizer with Together Colorado. There she organized with multi-cultural Catholic parishes in the greater Metro-Denver area as well as led the local, state and national efforts for immigrant rights.

Celesté’s favorite quote: “I never thought in terms of fear. I only thought in terms of justice.” -Emma Tenauyca

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

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 5 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.

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.”