Meet Featured Leader Jessie Ulibarri

Jessie Ulibarri is a father, a partner, and an LGBT and Latino activist. He’s also a One Colorado supporter and a community leader in our work toward a fair and just Colorado.

Meet Jessie in the first edition of The Weekly ONE’s “Featured Leader,” a regular column highlighting the community leaders who make our work possible.

Jessie Ulibarri and his familyGrowing up in a working class family in Adams County Colorado, Jessie Ulibarri quickly learned the harmful outcomes of cycles of oppression. By the time he reached high school, Jessie’s activist work was deeply immersed in the political process, beginning with an internship with Mark Udall. At age 17, Jessie launched a major voter registration drive that was highly successful in registering first-time voters in his high school and community.

As a student at CU Boulder, Jessie discovered an intersection of communities that brought him closer to his own identity. He found both a community of LGBT students and people of color, and more importantly, mentors and intersections that helped solidify his identity as an LGBT person of color. Jessie immediately began activist work on campus with a campaign to give university employees domestic partnership benefits. In the uphill battle of fighting for basic protections, Jessie realized the importance of changing hearts and minds. Jessie and his allies eventually succeeded in bringing domestic partnership benefits to university employees. It was at this point that Jessie felt the tangible results of his success.

To Jessie, LGBT equality faces many of the same challenges as racial and economic justice. These communities all face similar enemies that breed both internal and external racism, classism, homophobia, and transphobia. On a policy level, Jessie understands the importance of coalition building and working towards the common cause of social justice. Yet Jessie also affirms the importance of doing work beyond the capitol.

“We need to invest in other communities outside Denver,” says Jessie. “Engaging community members in a personal way is ultimately the key to changing hearts and minds.”

Jessie is the incoming Public Policy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado. For over 50 years, the ACLU of Colorado has defended the civil rights and civil liberties of all Coloradans, through litigation, legislation and public education. With the creation of a full public policy department, the ACLU’s capacity for legislative and organizing work will increase dramatically, and Jessie is very eager to lead this effort.

In addition to Jessie’s work and activism, he is a One Colorado supporter because he believes this state is ready for a fair and just future.

“Featured Leader” is a new, soon-to-be-regular column in The Weekly ONE, One Colorado’s weekly e-mail newsletter. The column seeks to highlight One Colorado supporters who are making a difference in their communities while supporting and empowering our work to create a fair and just Colorado.