“When I moved to this area of Commerce City next to Suncor, I thought this was the perfect place for my family. There was a new high school on Quebec Street and a park behind my house. But it smells like rotten eggs here, all the time. My son started getting bloody noses. My daughter started getting stomach aches. They started missing a lot of school. My mom, who is a diabetic, kept getting more sick. At first I thought it was my fault. When I realized Suncor was making us sick, I looked at everything in a whole new light. There was a murderer next to me.
So I started going to events. I started talking to these scientists, sociologists, and doctors. I learned about how fracking was hurting the children in the whiter neighborhoods up north. I thought, my community has been a sacrifice zone for pollution for 70 years and no one ever seemed to care. But I wasn’t going to wait for someone to tell me what to do about this. I speak two languages, thanks to God, and I’m gonna use my voice until I die.
I started knocking on doors. I started making a stink at the local city council, and then testifying in commissions and boards. I ran for office.
We’ve changed policies. We’ve elected leaders that know how their communities are being impacted, who can bring bold policies to protect them. I am proud to say Colorado has an opportunity to become leaders in this movement on a national and global manner. People are looking to us on environmental justice.
But we are running out of time and industries are banking on human misery. Self-regulation does not work. They’ve been doing that for decades, and that’s why we don’t trust our government entities that have allowed these industries to poison us. The only way we can fight them is through policy and the law. I always say, the problem is where the solution lies—we are the solution.”