Author Archives: Deyanira Zavala

Reimagining Our Future

A Message From Deya

Dear Friends and Allies:

I must admit, as I sit with the events of the last several months – from pandemic to protest – I am struggling to find the words to convey the cascade of emotions I feel. The steady increase of Coronavirus cases in my home state of Texas weighs heavily on my mind. Many family members and friends aren’t – and haven’t been – able to stay at home. They work in factories, packing and shipping products across the country as we sit at home purchasing them online, as childcare providers working reduced hours and trying to make ends meet, as hospital cleaning staff with limited personal protective equipment, and as solopreneur nurse aides caring for those in home health centers.

My family and friends are not unique, nor is this a new phenomenon. Inequitable economic opportunities, and lack of affordable, accessible housing opportunities in communities where families have long lived are not new; its normal. These are the jobs that many Black and brown folks find themselves in, essential employees that are overworked, underpaid, and housing insecure. 

You can’t win. The game is fixed. So when they say, “Why do you burn down the community? Why do you burn down your own neighborhood?” It’s not ours. We don’t own anything. We don’t own anything.” – Kimberly Latrice Jones 

The truth is I am angry and frustrated. Calls for normalcy fall on my deaf ears. We cannot go back to a normal. There’s an urgency to demand justice and systemic change. These extraordinary times call for us to come together to reimagine a truly racially equitable, resilient Denver region. 

In March, we quickly transitioned to ignite conversation and action in support of our communities as you’ll see from our newsletter. The inspirational work of Mile High Connects members, our partners, and our region’s leaders serves as a reminder that justice begins in community. From Montbello Organizing Committee’s COVID-19 Response Network’s mobilizing our region’s most precious resources to 9to5 Colorado’s eviction defense training to Denver Race and Social Justice Initiative’s push for increased testing in Black and brown communities– now is the time to act on big ideas, to heal with justice leading the way, and to redesign our region to center health, safety, and economic opportunity where all may thrive.

I hope that as you read about the work of our collaborative you find inspiration and the light to keep you on the road to justice that lies ahead of us.

In solidarity,


Categories: Uncategorized

Supporting Culturally Relevant Businesses through COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on businesses of color will be felt for generations to come. Mile High Connects hosted a special discussion with leaders from across the country to lift up early best practices in supporting businesses of color.

Guest speakers included:

  • Storm Taliaferrow with NALCAB, National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (National/San Antonio)
  • Makisha Boothe with Sistahbiz (Denver)
  • Maribel Garcia with Inclusive Action for the City (Los Angeles)
Categories: Uncategorized

Responding to COVID-19’s Stressors: Our low-income workers and entrepreneurs need us – now more than ever

By Deyanira Zavala, Executive Director

This week has been a whirlwind of activity as Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) continues to dominate headlines and our meeting agendas.

Community organizers, nonprofits, and others in our network are responding with tremendous heart and courage. They are issuing calls to action in support of protecting our front line workers – those living paycheck to paycheck – from the ripple effects of this public health crisis. Folks who were are already feeling the anxiety of a paycheck stretched beyond the numbers on it due to rising rents, higher monthly transit costs, and stagnant wages. Mom and pop entrepreneurs who turned side hustles into full-fledged, full-time businesses when they couldn’t secure a job and are now worried that the next client that walks through the door for a pick up order may be their last.

Mile High Connects will be compiling resources and updates on our website, so please visit for the latest news. We will also update our Facebook and Twitter regularly to share what we’re hearing and seeing in the communities we are a part of, and the opportunities we have in front of us.

We’re calling on you, our Community, to stick with us as we reflect on the inequities that this crisis has highlighted for us as a region – inequities that we have long known and felt, but are now facing the bright light of day.