Our Founding Executive Director, Lizeth Chacon after 12 years of being with us is transitioning out of her role with CPA. See the transition announcement here. We are looking for our new Executive Director to join us and lead us into the next chapter of our work – you can find the position posting here.
Crystal Murillo, Deputy Director
Crystal Murillo, is from Aurora, Colorado where she and her brother were raised by a single mother and Mexican immigrant who did everything possible to provide a safe and stable life for her two kids. Crystal was the first in her family to graduate from high school and in 2015 she was the first to graduate college earning a Bachelors in International Business from the University of Denver.
Due to her own experiences and that of her family, Crystal has been working to ensure that the economy and our government works for all of us. She has been volunteering and organizing in Aurora since 2015. In 2016 Crystal decided she wanted to do more and made the bold decision to run for office. In 2017 with the help of Colorado People’s Action she made history by becoming the youngest and first Latina city council member for the City of Aurora. She currently serves as a board member of the State Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Council and is an alumna of Emerge Colorado and the Latino Leadership Institute.
Crystal has continued her journey for a better Aurora and Colorado for all through her role as a
city council member and as a member of our organization. And she is looking forward to
continuing that work in the inaugural role as the Deputy Director of Colorado People’s Alliance.
Hobbies: “I love going on adventures with my two dogs – Iggy and Mila – and when we are not binge watching a good TV show you will find us hiking or at a lake kayaking. I also enjoy traveling and experiencing different cultures and have recently found a love of exploring more of the wonderful local places in Colorado.”
Jaquikeyah Fields, Communications Director
Jaquikeyah Luvly Fields was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. At a very young age she began organizing and participated in many protest. Issues such as the school-to-prison pipeline and police brutality catalyzed her will to become an activist at the age of 14. Since then, she interned and volunteered as a youth activist in the Northside community encouraging DPS schools to understand students of color outside the stereotypical lense. She later graduated in 2017 from Denver North Highschool and became a Viking Alumna.
With the help of many great mentors and educators she then moved to Fort Collins to start her college career as a first generation student. In college she participated in an undergraduate research program that highlighted the impact of Intergenerational trauma of Black women and BIPOC students at CSU. In 2020, she graduated Colorado State University with a Degree in Women and Gender Studies with a minor in Political Science. Jaquikeyah continues to position herself in spaces that allow her reconnect to her ancestors as a political act of resistance; while expanding her feminist praxis through organizing with communities!
Hobbies: “Outside of work I enjoy dancing, painting, singing, watching anime and creating all-natural products for BIPOC folks!”
Elizabeth Wamukoya, Policy & Organizing Director
Elizabeth Wamukoya was born in Nairobi, Kenya and came to the US when she was four with her mom and older brother to join her father who had been living there for about three years. Within the eight years that followed, she experienced and observed disparities within society and was puzzled and frustrated by the discrimination she and others faced based on skin color and immigrant status. This, and her father’s avid passion for politics and government, led to her interest in reading and researching on history, politics, and government, as she endeavored to find ways to have a positive impact that combated inequities, racism, and injustice. Engaging in discourse and debates with her father, she would be challenged by him to think critically and have awareness and in-depth understanding of politics and government and recognize the need for legislative and policy change for true, lasting impact to occur.
In 2007, Elizabeth moved back to Kenya with her family, where she would attend and complete high school, start a business, and actively engage in her community by volunteering with various organizations, learning the power of grassroots initiatives and organizing. Because of the work of her parents, she got the privilege to travel and live in various locations and countries. After her first year at university, she made the decision to return to the US on her own to complete her degree and spent time in the east coast, primarily in Pennsylvania, before making the return to Colorado. Elizabeth has a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies, with focuses on International Politics and Government as well as Development and Health from the University of Denver. She spent time working in the nonprofit sector, including a tenure in Brussels, Belgium in 2016, as well as participating in local political campaigns before pursuing her Masters degree in Organizational Leadership.
Elizabeth hopes to leave a legacy of being a stepping stone to the next generation by positively influencing the political and governmental spheres. She believes that just as her parents sacrificed and fought to ensure her and her brother had a better life and opportunity for success than them, she has the same responsibility to the coming generations in playing her part to push society in the right direction.
Hobbies: “Music is my greatest passion and I have been singing for as long as I can remember and playing/learning to play a few instruments as well. I grew up in church and was so enthralled by the creativity and gifting of others and have stuck to it since. I also love sports, working out, dancing, being outdoors – basically anything that gets the body moving.”
Chris Rhodes, Community Organizer
Leading: Economic Justice Work
Chris Rhodes has a degree in social studies education. Since graduating he has spent time working with at risk youths in various group homes and residential facilities in Baltimore, Los Angeles and in Indiana. He has also worked as a server, done tech support for Apple products, worked in call centers, food service, and most recently union organizing. He was raised by a single father and seeing how hard he had to struggle to just get by while raising him drives him to be an economic justice organizer.
Hobbies: “As for hobbies and outside of work joy…I love soccer (go Liverpool), college basketball (go Hoosiers), enjoy comedy, learning about the history of other cultures, enjoy remote nature, and love different architecture styles across the country. I also love dogs and hip hop.”
LeeAnn Gott, Program Coordinator
Leading: Citizenship Education
LeeAnn Gott grew up in southern New Mexico. At an early age, she got involved in politics and social justice issues, and in high school, spent an entire summer walking door to door, registering voters to vote. In 1982, Leeann moved to Aurora, CO where she got her teaching certificate and began teaching first grade at Kenton Elementary. After receiving her Master’s degree in ESL, she began teaching English to immigrant students and their parents, and joined the fight for immigrant justice. LeeAnn was a founding member of Coloradans for Immigrant Rights, and of the Aurora Education Association’s English Language Acquisition (ELA) Caucus, a group of teachers working to improve the education of immigrant students. Working with parents who wanted a stronger voice in the educational system, LeeAnn helped organize a district-wide ELA parent advisory group, and joined our legacy organization, Rights for All People in 2003. LeeAnn began teaching bilingual Citizenship Classes as members of Rights for All People asked for them. COPA’s program continues to help people become U.S. citizens and to be more deeply engaged in the community and the political process. “I was born with the rights and privileges of a white, middle class U.S. citizen. Therefore, I believe I have the responsibility to work to ensure that everyone has those rights. My involvement with Colorado People’s Alliance has provided me a way to work effectively towards the goal of equal rights and opportunities for all people.”
Hobbies: “I love playing piano in a jazz trio, and backyard farming – growing food, flowers, and raising chickens.”
Luis Xoy, Citizenship Educator
Luis E. Xoy is originally from Guatemala and has been living in the United States for over 20 years. Luis found Colorado People’s Alliance (COPA) through the Citizenship Classes and has been helping with the classes as a member for over four years. “They have given me the opportunity to work within the organization as a US Citizenship teacher and to me that is very important, as a part of the community.”
Hobbies: “I like to swim and love music so much that I am also a professional DJ.”
Ayla Bullock, Community Organizer
Leading: Climate Justice Work
Ayla Bullock went to Florida State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental & Societal Studies. Growing up in Florida, she was aware of the devastating effects anthropogenic climate change had on neighboring communities and environments.
Specifically, how it continues to affect low-income communities of color at a disproportional scale. After the 2016 election, she felt it was imperative to pursue environmental and political activism for a handful of organizations and coalitions. She believes that the best way to encourage positive, necessary change in this world is through organizing people.
Hobbies: “I love expressing myself through so many different mediums of art and am always open to learning new skills. I enjoy drawing, painting, hiking, live music, supporting local businesses, and engaging in volunteer work.”
Ben Wilson, Community Organizer
Leading: Climate Justice Work
Ben has been organizing for six years around issues such as factory farming, migrant farm workers rights, clean water, election integrity, Medicare For All, and elections. Ben is devoted to creating a better tomorrow for the future generations. Ben has also served as a local politician after winning election to serve on the Viroqua Wisconsin City Council.
Ben grew up in rural Iowa in a family owned bar and supper club. The family income always reflected the economy because people naturally eat out more when they have more money. Unfortunately the family business was forced to close during the 2008 economic collapse. Ben attended college for theater in Wisconsin. Soon after college he landed a dream job, traveling the country non stop for three years.
After coming off the road and settling down in Seattle Ben got the news that he had contracted HIV. This was a huge blow to both his worldview and stability. After a period of self destruction he knew that he wanted a career making the world a better place. He wanted to make sure that he was making a living making sure that no one with recent medical “bad news” ever has to worry about the cost or accessibility. He wants to do everything in his power to make sure that everyone in this country has a full belly, a roof over their head, a quality education, a functioning democracy, a habitable planet, a criminal justice system that treats everyone equally, and the healthcare they need.
Ben moved to Colorado in July 2022 to join the team at COPA. He is proud to be a member of the COPA family as an climate justice organizer!
Hobbies: “In my free time I am an avid dog lover, my canine companion is named Rave and she is an 8 year old rescue Boxer. I also love the outdoors, dance music, comic books, and stand up comedy. I am deeply invested in street art; Banksy is my favorite artist of all times.”