Introducing our Policy & Advocacy Manager, Jacqueline Argueta
Voces Unidas is growing and so is our team. We’re excited to introduce Jacqueline Argueta as our Policy and Advocacy Manager.
The child of a Salvadorian father and Mexican mother who emigrated to the United States, Jacqueline’s background inspired her to pursue a career in immigration law. Before joining Voces Unidas, Jacqueline served as a Deputy District Attorney in the 9th judicial district, becoming the first Latina prosecutor in the region. A graduate of Basalt High School, Jacqueline is passionate about using her legal background to help the community she calls home.
In her new role, Jacqueline is charged with advancing Voces Unidas’ federal, state, and local policy and advocacy priorities. She will work with local Latina and Latino leaders to tackle issues like immigration reform, affordable housing, food insecurity, rights of workers, reproductive justice, economic equity, criminal justice, healthcare equity and political equity. During the legislative session, for example, she will organize local community members so that they can use their voice and power to inform and shape public policy that impacts our community.
We asked Jacquline some questions, and here are her answers:
What made you pursue law?
The thought of law came to me in a sixth grade mock trial. I was the attorney for the witch in Hansel and Gretel, and I put up a really good fight as the defense attorney. All of my teachers said that although they knew the witch was guilty and had to vote that way, I put up a good fight.
So, that was your first foray into litigation?
Yes. And my focus on immigration stems from my parents. They're really the American Dream. They worked in a hotel in Aspen together. My mom was the maid. My dad was the handyman. They met there and ended up opening a really successful restaurant in our valley. Seeing them struggle and go through that whole process to become so successful was inspiring to me. I want to help create the conditions so that others can pursue their own American Dream.
What opportunities for change did you witness growing up in the area?
I saw a lot of opportunities for change. Unfortunately, it was often in the mistreatment of my parents. When they went to go buy a house, they were told, “we’re not showing you that house because you can't afford it.” They didn’t look at any of my parents financial statements. They didn’t know how much money they made. They just said, “we’re not showing you that house.” Like my parents, many members of the community experience mistreatment and I want to help make our valleys more equitable.
What brings you to Voces Unidas? What are you most looking forward to in this role?
I’m looking forward to getting to know Latino and Latina leaders within the community, creating opportunities for them to speak for themselves with policy-makers and supporting their advocacy journey. I really want to help them learn how to inform policy and understand existing law. Many times laws and policies are written so complicated that many people struggle to understand them or know how to go about changing the status quo. My role is to analyse the impact of policy, identify the people who will be affected, and find leaders in the group. Ultimately, I hope to create opportunities for them to feel self-empowered to seek the change that they want to see for themselves.
Jacqueline can be reached at email@example.com.