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“No way, you’re actually from Denver?” This is a common refrain I hear out and about the Mile High City—be it at a coalition meeting for work, or waiting for my coffee at the local shop at the end of my block. I try not to roll my eyes so far back into my head they get stuck (Liz Lemon style), or to let out an exasperated sigh.
Indeed, I am from Denver. I grew up in the Mexican barrios of Athmar Park on the west side, taught, and now organize in the Five Points area before it was called RiNo. I have seen Denver shoot up to the top of the charts as a city where young millennials move after college, and it makes sense. The fact that we live in a city with more sunshine than any other state, have a diverse and vibrant population, a strong economic outlook, and mountains to-boot was bound to get out sooner or later. The sudden influx of the young and gainfully employed has contributed to the economic gains the city and state have made in the last five years. Forbes identifies Denver and its metro-area as #4 in Best Places for Businesses and Careers.
However, the sudden spike in population has also created a progressive call for stewardship in the Mile High City.Among the issues that plague our fair city include a shortage of affordable housing for low-income families, the Colorado Paradox and state of our public school system, and constitutional restraints on the state’s economy (TABOR) that jeopardize the quality of life and infrastructure for our fair state. The founding chapter of New Leaders Council seeks to train and develop such leadership in our community. Sustainable growth in Colorado requires great care, and also a progressive call to action. In the spirit of homegrown pioneers like Justina Ford and revolutionaries like Corky Gonzalez, stewardship is what being from Denver is all about.
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