Gia Irlando is the Community Relations Ombudsman for the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM). She is responsible for outreach to Denver residents, elected officials, community leaders, and organizations. Ms. Irlando also manages the nationally recognized OIM Community-Police Mediation Program. Hearing the community call for better relations between youth and law enforcement, she spearheaded the creation of the Youth Outreach Project, Bridging the Gap: Kids and Cops. She secured federal grant funding, oversaw the development of the curriculum and convened an expert advisory committee to guide the process. The project recently received federal funding for an outcome evaluation due in early 2018. This evaluation is expected to demonstrate project effectiveness to thwart the flow of youth into the juvenile justice system by training officers on disproportionate minority contact and adolescent development and training youth on their rights and responsibilities when in contact with law enforcement.
Gia is a 2014 fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute and a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. She recently served as the Co-Chair of the Colorado Latino Forum and has served on various community boards. She attended the University of California, Berkeley and California State University, Hayward, focusing on politics, communications and ethnic studies. From a young age, she marched on picket lines for the United Farmworker movement and participated in political campaigns as the child of union organizers. Gia has worked for numerous national non-profits, labor organizations and for many years increasing political representation for people of color and in elected office throughout the Southwest. In Colorado, she seated the youngest Latino on the Denver City Council and the youngest Latina and the first Latina Speaker of the House in the Colorado State House of Representatives. Gia has had the great opportunity to work for state legislators, the City and County of Denver and Denver Public Schools as a community engagement specialist and continues to consult on political and issue campaigns important to low-income communities of color.