Our Founding Executive Director, Lizeth Chacon after 12 years of being with us is transitioning out of her role with CPA. See the transition announcement here. We are looking for our new Executive Director to join us and lead us into the next chapter of our work – you can find the position posting here.

Crystal Murillo, DeputyDirector
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Crystal Murillo, is from Aurora, Colorado where she and her brother were raised by a single mother and Mexican immigrant who did everything possible to provide a safe and stable life for her two kids. Crystal was the first in her family to graduate from high school and in 2015 she was the first to graduate college earning a Bachelors in International Business from the University of Denver.

Due to her own experiences and that of her family, Crystal has been working to ensure that the economy and our government works for all of us. She has been volunteering and organizing in Aurora since 2015. In 2016 Crystal decided she wanted to do more and made the bold decision to run for office. In 2017 with the help of Colorado People’s Action she made history by becoming the youngest and first Latina city council member for the City of Aurora. She currently serves as a board member of the State Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Council and is an alumna of Emerge Colorado and the Latino Leadership Institute.

Crystal has continued her journey for a better Aurora and Colorado for all through her role as a city council member and as a member of our organization. And she is looking forward to continuing that work in the inaugural role as the Deputy Director of Colorado People’s Alliance.

Hobbies: “I love going on adventures with my two dogs – Iggy and Mila – and when we are not binge watching a good TV show you will find us hiking or at a lake kayaking. I also enjoy traveling and experiencing different cultures and have recently found a love of exploring more of the wonderful local places in Colorado.”

Lara Brand, Development Director
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Lara Brand, was born and raised in Austin, Texas as an only child, and grew up in a biracial household. She studied Clinical Psychology at University, where she began having a passion for mental health and how it affects all aspects of life.  Specifically for her, getting involved in the animal field aided her mental health and began her career in the non-profit sector.  For 14 years she participated in animal education teachings, emotional support animal trainings, child mentoring, and animal therapy sessions.  Through these experiences Lara began wanting to do more and expand her outreach towards environmental and climate change movements. Four years ago she moved by herself to Colorado, and hopes to continue making an impact in her community.

Hobbies: “I love working out in many forms such as Yoga and Zumba, horseback riding, I started a book club with my out of state friends, and once more places open up I hope to return to singing performance.”

Azria Arroyo, Operations Director
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers 

Azria Arroyo is an Afro-Latina Activist, Organizer, and Artist, born and raised in Denver, Colorado’s Northside community. The stories of her grandfather’s experience as a Mexican immigrant and migrant farmworker in America, in tandem with Azria herself being raised in a low-income single parent household, were incredibly formative in her drive to advocate for and advance racial justice and economic equity. She has been a fierce advocate for the communities she serves, through her organizing of direct actions, abolition work, and mutual aid. She is dedicated to creating impactful, sustainable solutions to uplift, advance safety and equity for, and create cycles of empowerment within BIPOC communities. Azria brings that same dedication into her work with CPA.

Hobbies: “I spend most of my free time investing in my various creative endeavors as an artist, practicing self care for spiritual and physical well-being and growth, and spending time with family and friends”

Ananiya Asrat

Ananiya Asrat, Organizing Director
Pronouns: He, Him, His 

Ananiya Asrat was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and immigrated to America at the age of 8. After spending a short year in Virginia he moved with his family to Colorado. Finishing his high school education at Smoky Hill High School he attended CSU-Pueblo where he majored in Political Science and minored in Homeland Security, Non-Profit Management and Business Administration.

After falling in love with organizing during his time as an intern on Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, he began his organizing career on then Senator Mark Udall’s 2014 reelection campaign.

His passion for organizing grew as he traveled the country working on the Bernie Sanders campaign. After spending time traveling the country, Ananiya is back home to work on issues he holds near and dear to his heart.

Hobbies: “I enjoy trying to juggle and I love cloudy days.” 

Jaquikeyah Fields, Communications Director
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers 

Jaquikeyah Luvly Fields was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. At a very young age she began organizing and participated in many protest. Issues such as the school-to-prison pipeline and police brutality catalyzed her will to become an activist at the age of 14. Since then, she interned and volunteered as a youth activist in the Northside community encouraging DPS schools to understand students of color outside the stereotypical lense. She later graduated in 2017 from Denver North Highschool and became a Viking Alumna.

With the help of many great mentors and educators she then moved to Fort Collins to start her college career as a first generation student. In college she participated in an undergraduate research program that highlighted the impact of Intergenerational trauma of Black women and BIPOC students at CSU. In 2020, she graduated Colorado State University with a Degree in Women and Gender Studies with a minor in Political Science. Jaquikeyah continues to position herself in spaces that allow her reconnect to her ancestors as a political act of resistance; while expanding her feminist praxis through organizing with communities!

Hobbies: “Outside of work I enjoy dancing, painting, singing, watching anime and working as a spiritual healer for BIPOC folks!” 

Caleb Pykkonen, Community Organizer
Pronouns: He, Him, His 

Caleb Pykkonen was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Boulder, Colorado from the age of 2. Caleb moved to Boston at the age of 18 to attend Tufts University, and lived in Boston until the end of 2018. Upon returning to Colorado Caleb gradually became radicalized by his work in consulting, as well as the political climate created by then-President Donald Trump.

Since then Caleb has worked as an organizer and activist in the Denver Metro area to attempt to address the problems he sees in his community. Caleb has volunteered with the No Eviction Without Representation Denver 2022 ballot measure campaign to attempt to provide free legal counsel for any tenant facing eviction in the city. He has spent time deep canvassing residents of Aurora regarding Economic Justice issues that are most important to them. Caleb has also worked as an labor organizer with a group of ride share employees attempting to form a union in Colorado.

Hobbies: “When not working, I enjoy spending as much time as possible outside. I can be found hiking, road biking, fishing, or skiing, depending on the season. I am also an avid reader and my favorite genre is non-fiction. Finally, I am a life-long Denver Nuggets fan and can’t wait for the team to finally bring the championship trophy to Denver.”