Diana Romero Campbell’s Southeast Denver roots run deep. This community nurtured her as a child and prepared her to become a community leader respected for her expertise in education and known for her trademark openness, kindness, and can-do collaborative spirit.
Diana is the daughter of two teachers who were each the first in their families to graduate from high school and college. As a young girl, she rode her bike at Bible Park across the street from her house and jumped rope at Whiteman Elementary—the school she was bused to as Denver, like the rest of the country, grappled with educational and residential segregation. She came of age at Hamilton Junior High and Thomas Jefferson High, and often caught the latest movie with friends at Tamarac Square. The Highline Canal Trail holds a special place in her heart, because her dad ran it daily, rain or shine, for the past 45 years.
Growing up, Diana was taught the importance of equity- she is a firm supporter of reproductive rights, combating climate change, and breaking down barriers for all to ensure a more even playing field for all of those in District 4.
As an adult, after her Peace Corps service in Honduras, she came back home to Southeast Denver to start her own family in a home less than a mile from where she grew up. Just as it had done for her, this community continued to provide and care for Diana’s two children, who today are young adults ready to carry their own Southeast Denver legacies out into the world.
This community has been good to Diana and her family. Diana’s career has been dedicated to ensuring that all children and families have access to the same opportunities that she and her family have enjoyed. She is running for City Council to ensure that District 4 residents have every resource and opportunity to pursue their own dreams and make their mark on their community.
Diana’s professional life has been motivated by the fact that today, decades after she was bused to Whiteman, access to opportunity is not equitably shared. Never has this been more apparent than during the past two-plus years, as we have borne witness to the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on low-income communities and communities of color. And Southeast Denver was certainly not immune to the struggles and challenges posed by remote learning, empty grocery shelves, and the pervasive fear and concern for our health and the health of our loved ones.As the CEO of Scholars Unlimited, a leading local educational nonprofit that supports young learners in several Metro Denver school districts, Diana saw first-hand the devastating impact the pandemic was having on students who could not play with their friends at recess or remain focused on learning while navigating technology challenges in an online environment. Kids were struggling academically and socially. Many of their families were struggling economically. And faced with such unprecedented struggle and turmoil across our community, resources were scarce and her team was anxious.
Like Diana had done so many times before, she got creative and collaborative and let her heart lead. She rallied her team around the continued importance of the mission, even if the work couldn’t look quite like anyone was used to. She pivoted with her team to restructure curriculum to meet kids’ needs virtually, complete with take-home packets that included art and recreational activities that kids and parents could do together at home. Diana and her team worked with Denver Public Schools to ensure that when materials were picked up, families could also pick up a meal. All while building supports for the mental health and wellbeing of her staff and, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, re-dedicating the organization to racial justice and cultural competency. In many ways, the pandemic was clarifying for Diana. It laid bare our many societal inequities and challenges, but it also brought out the best in so many and reminded us of what we can achieve when we come together. When everything gets turned upside down, we are reminded that all we have is each other.
The creativity and collaboration that Diana tapped into during the pandemic–and throughout her long career in nonprofit and public service–are the same skills she will bring to the Denver City Council as your District 4 Councilwoman. If there is an initiative in Denver that is focused on improving the lives of children and families, chances are Diana had something to do with it. She was a founding board member of the Denver Preschool Program, which serves every 4-year-old in Denver. She understands the long game of public policy, having built a statewide coalition to raise the profile of family, friend, and neighbor care, laying the groundwork for change years before the political appetite finally caught up.
Diana understands at her core that change happens when you listen to all voices, treat everyone with respect and dignity, lift up people who have been historically marginalized and excluded, and follow the data as well as your heart. She knows that a great idea can come from anyone, whether they have a postgraduate degree or ended their formal education at age 14 to support their family. And she knows that you are the expert about your own community. Diana is running to represent District 4, which means she wants to know your District 4 story. What are your hopes and dreams for your neighborhood, Diana wants to know about it.
As the African proverb says, "If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together." We have many important issues to tackle as a community and as a city, from addressing our safety, how we care for one another (or how we care for our youngest and most senior neighbors), how our community grows, what mobility looks like in the future, and the sustainability of our environment. These issues can’t be addressed alone; we need a leader with experience building coalitions, working alongside others, leading teams, and getting projects across the finish line. Diana Romero Campbell is that leader.
Diana’s parents raised her to acknowledge on whose shoulders she stands. It was a family mantra, and one she still thinks about every day. She stands on the shoulders of her parents, whose example of the value of education and community-mindedness laid the foundation for her life and career. She stands on the shoulders of her grandparents, whose hard work (coal miner, railroad worker, migrant farm workers, and homemakers) brought Diana’s family to Colorado and made her Colorado story possible.
She stands on the shoulders of countless mentors, peers, and collaborators who have helped her improve our community’s care for its children and families. And if she has the honor of serving as your City Councilwoman, she will stand on your shoulders, as she has stood on so many in District 4 throughout her life. Lend your shoulders (or your ideas, knocking knuckles, or financial support) to this campaign to send a lifelong Southeast Denver resident to 14th and Bannock to fight for you and your community.