Zaira Najera Rodriguez

2021 - COLORADO

Zaira Najera Rodriguez is a senior at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum, Colorado. She co-founded and currently serves as co-chair of SPICE (Students Promoting Inclusion and Civic Engagement) at her school and is a member of Youth Celebrate Diversity’s Student Virtual Board. She has continued to create programs like Wellness Week through all four years of high school, which has allowed her whole school to benefit. SPICE has allowed students and community members to start conversations that weren't being discussed four years ago. It has been influential in creating resources for policies by the district to take on Equity initiatives as a top priority. She has also been a part of the Executive Committee for the Mountain West Diversity Conference for two years and in her junior year, she was elected co-chair. She also became a host of the A Time to Unite Virtual Festival and every year, she has been a student facilitator for the conferences. The MWDC reached students in the Western Slope of Colorado and the virtual festival reached students all over the nation. Both the conference and the virtual festival touched on almost all aspects of diversity and inclusion. They gave students the opportunity to learn about other people's differences and hard topics like racism and equity, and then take everything they learned back to their communities to try to improve them. She has continued her work with both activities by recently presenting to the school board on not going back to four days a week this year as she and SPICE have also been working towards two podcast episodes on immigration and DACA for Youth Celebrate Diversity's upcoming podcast. Her experiences advocating for social justice in her community, Western Slope, and at the state level have affirmed to her that public service is not only her passion, it is her purpose. She wants to be a voice for those who are too scared or unable to speak about the injustices they have faced.