The Resident Leadership Council (RLC) is a group of community leaders dedicated to improving the quality of life of residents in Aurora and the surrounding neighborhoods by promoting equitable access to education, health, and economic opportunities.  The RLC was established in 2014 as a grassroots volunteer organization associated with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in order to represent and be a voice for residents who live in Aurora, especially those from immigrant, refugee, and under-served communities.

Resident Leadership Council hosts multilingual Community Action Meeting with city representatives to increase inclusive collaboration for addressing youth mental health, safety, and gun violence
Press Release - March 30, 2023 Contact: Gabriela Jacobo, Ph: 720-435-3806. Email:

Aurora, CO. --The Resident Leadership Council (RLC) spent 2022 planning and facilitating a series of Learning Sessions and Community Academies, addressing the issues that came up in the Winter 2021 Connection Campaign. These meetings have explored issues of gun violence, youth mental health, school closings, and access to healthcare, and providing opportunities for community members to discuss their concerns with representatives from various institutions and community organizations.

After researching these topics and the ways that representatives are involved in preventing gun violence and promoting youth mental health, the RLC took action to ensure that the voices of the immigrant and/or non-English speakers would be heard in the planning to address these issues.

On March 25, 2023, the RLC hosted a Community Action Meeting that provided live simultaneous interpretation in four languages for over 235 community members. At this meeting, the RLC addressed a panel of representatives to share their concerns, propose solutions, and extend an invitation for collaboration. These representatives included Aurora City Mayor Mike Coffman; City Council Members Crystal Murillo (Ward I) and Ruben Medina (Ward III); Aurora’s Youth Violence Prevention Program Manager, Joseph DeHerrera; Interim Police Chief Art Acevedo; Aurora Public School’s Executive Director, District Policy & Strategy, Christie Imholt; and Rebecca McClellan from the Colorado State Board of Education.

The RLC demanded that representatives include Aurora’s diverse community in their decision-making processes and highlighted that community engagement efforts should not exclude Aurora’s non-English speaking communities. Entities such as the police department must work to build trust with residents of Aurora by showing transparent evaluation results. The RLC also called for the implementation of a comprehensive plan to reduce youth violence in Aurora Public Schools.

The RLC received commitments from several representatives to work together to come up with better community-driven decision-making processes to identify priorities and allocation of resources. These processes must include members of Aurora’s non-English speaking communities. Both school-based representatives (Imholt and McClellan) committed to attending a presentation on CU Boulder’s Safe Communities Safe Schools program and collaborating with the RLC to work towards a comprehensive evidence-based plan for Aurora Public Schools.

Other notable meeting outcomes and commitments:

  • Christie Imholt, Aurora Public Schools: along with the above, a commitment was made to update the new superintendent on this RLC Community Action Meeting and further agreed to set up a meeting in their first three months of hire to explore gaps and solutions with the RLC on how to support non-English speaking families on mental health issues. Additionally, to connect about the issue of supporting restorative justice programs in Hinkley High School and in other areas of APS. 
  • Interim Police Chief Acevedo: Commitment to work with RLC to share evaluations and lessons in building trust and transparency and explore adjustments with community input. And to address the need for greater transparency and rebuilding of trust with community, and to build better accountability with city leaders and police force.
  • Joseph De Herrera: Youth Violence Prevention Program: Willing to collaborate with community on priorities and such as allocation of resources for the program. Also, to commit to developing a clear timeline for implementation of priorities from community.
  • Ward I Councilmember Crystal Murillo:  Committed to working with the RLC to come up with a better community-driven decision-making process on allocation of resources, including looking for more resources for interpretation and community engagement.   (supported by Councilmember Medina). Committed to participation and in co-governing with the RLC, especially in understanding the budget. (supported by Councilmember Medina). And to prioritize prevention programs and raise issue to re-look at priorities in the next budget meeting.

RLC Initiatives

Improving educational attainment was identified as a key community priority in the RLC's original Connection Campaign.  As a result, the RLC organized and facilitated more than 30 public community meetings from 2016 - 2018 to which they invited a variety of school and district leaders and candidates for the Aurora district of the State Board of education to engage with Aurora residents on a variety of school issues.  This effort drew significant interest from the North Aurora community, and in addition to the RLC members themselves, over 45 residents participated in one or more of these community learning sessions.

The RLC hosted a public forum for the State Board of Education candidates for the Aurora district which was attended by over 150 community members, providing interpretation services for five different languages.  The purpose of the candidate forum was to further the community members' knowledge and understanding of how the State Board of Education is related to education issues, actions, and policies at the local level.  The candidate forum was a great success and the RLC has since been able to build a strong relationship with the eventual winner, Rebecca McClellan.

Along with the candidates forum, the RLC trained and guided parents for public comment at monthly Aurora Public Schools board meetings.  The board meetings give parents the opportunity to publicly share what they have learned and demonstrate their support for establishing quality school options in North Aurora.  Through the efforts of the RLC, there are now a significant number of residents ready with the knowledge and capacity to collaborate with school leaders and other community organizations to build a broad, sustainable community organizing effort to improve academic achievement across North Aurora.

The RLC's education work has been supported by many important collaborators including:

  • Colorado State Commissioner of Education
  • Colorado State Board of Education
  • Colorado's Sixth Congressional District
  • Aurora Public Schools
  • Community College of Aurora
  • Climb Higher Colorado
  • Rocky Mountain Prep
  • Academy of Advanced Learning
  • Vega Collegiate Academy
  • A+ Colorado
  • Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism
  • 2040 Partners for Health
  • Community Language Cooperative

This initiative began in 2017 when Aurora residents contacted Gabriela Jacobo, the Community Connector from the CU Anschutz Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement.  They wanted to start a catering business but did not have access to commercial kitchens or start-up financing.  Residents stressed the lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate business development services in the area.  To address this, Gabriela and other community leaders brought stakeholders, non-profit organizations, and entrepreneurs together to establish El Alba Cooperative.

El Alba's mission is to support, incubate, and nourish Aurora-based food entrepreneurs and small business owners.  It offers culturally appropriate business incubation, shared business services via a co-op model, and shared access to a commercial kitchen and food truck to economically disadvantaged business owners.  Co-op members are primarily immigrants and refugees living in Aurora with 90% identifying as people of color.

El Alba represents a powerful alternative to current norms of economic development and combats harmful gentrification of North Aurora.  Worker-owned cooperative businesses are widely recognized as a powerful model that supports community wealth building and economic stability.  By combating gentrification and creating economic opportunities for current residents, El Alba is preserving the rich diversity of Aurora and building wealth in immigrant and refugee communities.

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RLC Members and Collaborators

Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Community Engagement

CU Anschutz

Fitzsimons Building

13001 East 17th Place

Suite CG001

Aurora, CO 80045

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