Movimiento Poder: Inspiring students to be an active part of their communities

November 30, 2023

When Jacobo Gracia Meza was first introduced to Movimiento Poder, he was inspired to be an active part of his community.  

Gracia Meza is a youth leader both in his school and within the organization. He’s an example of the transformational leadership Movimiento Poder does. Gracia Meza’s dream is to become the next Executive Director of the organization and continue the safe space of growth for others in his community.  

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Movimiento Poder states in their website that they are, “led by working-class Latine immigrants, youth, women, and families, and builds power through community organizing, leadership development, and civic engagement.”  

“If people feel comfortable in their own skin, they take up space and speak truth to power,” said Elsa Bañuelos-Lindsay, the executive director of Movimiento Poder. “They can work collectively with other community members and make a big impact.” 

Movimiento Poder focuses its efforts on four main topics: police-free schools, immigrant rights, voter protection rights, and COVID-19 rights.  

For three decades, Movimiento Poder has worked to ensure that every child has access to a safe, nurturing environment where they can thrive. Through their work, they, “help build access to schools that uplift and nurture students by abolishing all forms of policing, surveillance, and harm and provide quality education, mental health services, and access to holistic care,” reads their website.  

A big part of their work is civic engagement and voter protection rights. “We serve as a point of convergence and a power-building vessel for young people, migrants, women, and the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado,” reads their website. Over the years, our work to build community power has meant that members don’t only get to shape our vision, but they also have the power to turn it into reality.”

This organization has helped Gracia Meza use his voice for positive civic impact and to build confidence.  

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Bañuelos-Lindsay said many of their students go from being shy and not really speaking to any of their peers to speaking at rallies and leading marches to the state capitol to advocate for issues they’re passionate about. 

The Denver Foundation believes that access to a well-funded and racially equitable K-12 education system is critical for communities in Metro Denver to thrive. That is why we support Movimiento Poder’s commitment to investing in our future generations.

This nonprofit has been a grantee of the foundation and its donors since 1998, including as a Community Grants Program and Strengthening Neighborhoods grantee.   

“With the support of The Denver Foundation and its donors, we can expand our work and do so much more,” said Bañuelos-Lindsay. Part of their goals on the policy level is to ensure our children have access to mental health services, housing, and access to healthcare. 

Gracia Meza believes this organization brings hope of a positive future for him, his friends, and his family. 

Photos courtesy: Armando Geneyro