“Colorado is a Welcoming State”
A Day in Northeastern Colorado

During our trip to the Northeastern corner of Colorado — beginning in Sterling, looping through Fort Morgan, and ending in Fort Collins — a singular topic consistently emerges: immigration. Fort Morgan is the second most diverse city in Colorado, and owes much of its vibrant culture — signs in Main Street windows are written in French, Spanish, and Somali — to a large population of immigrants from Mexico and Africa.

On the main street in Fort Morgan, we visit La Michoacana Ice Cream Parlor, which sports cheerful green walls and a lineup of homemade popsicles. Gloria, the owner who greets us with a big smile, immigrated to the U.S. at four and settled in Fort Morgan at twelve, where she’s been a small business owner and community pillar ever since. “To me, Fort Morgan is home,” Gloria explained to us over their homemade rice popsicles . “We welcome people, of all color and race. It doesn’t matter — if you come to Fort Morgan, you feel welcomed.” We’ve heard a lot of immigrant stories based on fear, and while those are poignant and important under current threats, listening to Gloria describe her positive experience living in Fort Morgan and running her ice cream parlor reminded us what American can accomplish at its best: create a welcoming community in which there is no room for discrimination or hate. “I sleep very well at night,” Gloria smiled.

Down the street from La Michoacana is One Fort Morgan, a community center for immigrants. Fort Morgan boasts speakers of over 27 different languages, and messages of support and welcoming are scrawled across a chalkboard wall in Somali, Spanish, French, and more. Susana, the executive director, shows us a project she helped spearhead called “Fort Morgan Speaks,” which tells the stories of locals and their hopes and dreams, along with reasons they love Fort Morgan. One says, “I could be the next Cher from Clueless, but more Muslim.” I can’t help but smile. Half a continent away, bigotry exists on a colossal scale, but here in Fort Morgan, people still come together to support and protect their neighbors, something the American dream was built on. Susana echoes these sentiments: “I consider Colorado to be a welcoming state and I want it to continue to be that.”

Jim, a former judge in Sterling, talks to us at a cheerful cafe across from the courthouse, where a large group of interested voters listens to Phil over steaming pots of coffee and fresh pastries. “A lot of the battles we thought had been fought and won in the 60s and 70s are still up for grabs. Attorneys are right on the front line for that,” Jim says. He’s right: our civil liberties and equal rights are at risk, and an Attorney General will lead the battle to protect, defend, and enforce our commitment to equality and fairness.

The night ends in the company of nearly 200 Phil supporters gathered both in Greeley and Fort Collins. During our trips, I always talk about the importance of Phil showing up for people, but bathed in the warmth of giddy volunteers and earnest supporters, I’m deeply grateful for the people that show up for him as well. Phil’s fond of saying that “democracy is not a spectator sport.” He’s right, and we have a great team of engaged people ready to show up and fight for the rights that matter.