Meet our Board of Directors!
Madison Cassels grew up in Salida, Colorado. She knew that rural, small town life was not for her and decided to pursue college in a completely new environment. She graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Politics and Policy in 2009. While in undergraduate studies, Madison discovered her passion for politics and policy, especially how it impacts individuals’ lives. Directly from Tulane, Madison entered the Pennsylvania State University-Dickinson School of Law. During law school, Madison assisted indigent clients in the Family Law Clinic and saw how policy can be interpreted or misinterpreted by the judicial system. Upon graduation, she understood that people and corporations influencing policy in government was a large problem. She joined several political campaigns from 2012 through 2013, including fighting against recall elections over gun policies.
Political work introduced Madison to the world of organized labor. She realized she shared the same values as labor such as a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s labor; having a voice on the job; empowering working people and their families; health care for all members; and many other social justice issues. When a career opportunity with the Denver Area Labor Federation became available, Madison jumped at the opportunity. She has been with the organization since late 2013, serving as the Community Labor Liaison.
In her work, Madison endeavors to help the 60,000 affiliated union members in the Denver Metro Area as well as all working families in several areas of work. She is committed to the fight for social justice, especially racial and economic justice. Madison joined the Colorado Peoples Alliance Board in December 2015 in order to support the great work of the new organization.
Hobbies: “When am not kicking ass for the working class, I am a homebody who is an avid fiction reader and enjoys crocheting while watching Netflix.”
Michael Ramirez is a Colorado native, born in Longmont to immigrant parents from Durango, Mexico. When Michael was 7, his family moved to the small town of Frederick, Colorado in southwest Weld County. The first time Michael saw how race and class intersected in his life was when in Elementary School, he would be placed in the ESL classes even though he was proficient in English. He was first activated politically in 2006 when his whole family made the drive to Denver on May 1st for the infamous immigrant rights march. Michael graduated from Frederick High School and then went on to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder where he studied Political Science. While at CU-Boulder, Michael ran for and won a seat on the Arts and Sciences Student Government. This is where he first got his itch to work on political campaigns. Michael currently works as a electoral campaign professional, most recently working on the Sen. Julie Gonzales campaign for State Senate District 34 and during the 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary for Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Before working in electoral politics, Michael worked for Servicios de La Raza, a non-profit in Denver, Colorado as a Youth Case Manager and as the Co-Chair for the La Raza Youth Leadership Institute. Michael has also served on the board for the Colorado Latino Forum and was in the inaugural class of the Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy and Research Organization (CLLARO) Capitol Fellowship.Hobbies: “My hobbies include going to live music shows, going to the Improv or Comedy Works for a comedy show, playing basketball, golf, video games, or reading a good book. I also love spending as much time as possible with my family, specifically my 2 nieces and nephew.”
Regan Byrd is an award-winning community activist and non-profit professional with over 10 years of experience in grassroots and social justice non-profit organizations,
including The Arc of Jefferson County, 9to5 Colorado: National Association of Working Women, and Hunger Free Colorado. Her current position is with The Bell Policy Center, working in fundraising, operations, and financial management. Regan is a former commissioner on the Aurora Humans Rights Commission, and former board member for the youth mentorship non-profit “YESS Institute”. She is a recent graduate of the Transit Alliance’s Citizen Academy.
Regan has a deep commitment to social justice, institutional systems change, and collective liberation. She believes this is best done through self-reflexivity, knowledge cultivation, intentional inclusivity, coalition building, and centering marginalized perspectives.
Regan Byrd is an alumni of the University of Denver’s undergraduate program, with dual degrees in Public Policy and Sociology, and minors in Gender and Women’s studies, and English. Regan has been named a “Woman to Watch” by the Denver League of Women Voters, and is the winner of the 2015 Lilly Ledbetter award from 9to5 Colorado.
Hobbies: “I enjoy making fun of bad movies, exploring the Denver dining scene, competitive video gaming, and fawning over new technology.”
Felipe Vieyra is an immigrant from Mexico. He came to the states when he was 2 along with his parents and grew up in Northern Colorado (Greeley and Fort Morgan). He is currently a Director of Organizing Strategy at Leadership for Educational Equity. His previous positions include working as a Bilingual Organizer with Together Colorado where he led organizing teams around the statewide minimum wage increase, transit equity work, local school organizing and various other campaigns. He was also a Program Director at the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club where he implemented and expanded an outreach program for low-income Latinx players to join and grow as athlete-scholars and as the Southwest Denver Community Organizer for Stand for Children.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver where he triple majored in political science, Spanish literature and language and international relations. Felipe is the first in his family to graduate from high school and college and advocates for higher graduation rates for Latino students and better English learner policies.
He was appointed to the Immigrant and Refugee Commission of Denver by Mayor Hancock and served on the commission for 4 yrs. He coaches youth soccer and is originally from Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico. He’s grateful to be on the board having been undocumented and knowing how important it is to build power to tackle the issues that affect oppressed communities.
Hobbies: “I love to spend time with my family, friends and pup. I also really enjoy playing pickup soccer throughout Denver. I love to read fiction books and finding fun coffee shops throughout the city. I also really enjoy to eat, snowboarding, and the mountains.”