Iman (Iman) Jodeh (D-SH41)
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Capitol: 303.866.2919
FAX: 303.866.2218
District: 720.220.2157
Representative
Colorado House of Representatives
Room 307 Colorado State Capitol 200 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80203-1784

District Office:
200 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80203-1784
Elected: 2020    Next Election: 2022
Committee Assignments
MemberHouse Committee on Appropriations
MemberHouse Committee on Public and Behavioral Health and Human Services
Counties Representing
Arapahoe

Bio

My parents, Mohamad and Siham, came to Colorado from Palestine as immigrants and refugees in 1974, looking for the American Dream, for safety, opportunity, and freedom. And they found it. For over five decades, my parents worked hard, starting a small business, growing that business then starting another and then another while also starting a family, growing their businesses as they grew their family. And they did all of that while embodying love, community, and service. I'm constantly in awe of what my parents did and gave to us. They started from scratch and gave my two brothers, sister, and me the All-American life as an All-American family. Growing up in Aurora, I went through the Cherry Creek School system, going to Ponderosa Elementary then Prairie Middle School then Overland High School. We played sports, visited the mountains, and watched the Broncos on Sundays. It's not lost on me what my childhood could have looked like. Because my parents wanted us to maintain our ties to our heritage, history, culture, and language, we visited Palestine in the summers. Mom would take all four of us while dad stayed back to continue working hard at the deli. Those summers in Palestine are some of the happiest times in my life - at my grandmother's home - basking under the summer sun, playing uno under the lemon tree. At the same time, visiting my parents' homeland exposed me to war, to violence, and to oppression at a very early age, which was a jarring contrast to the safety, peacefulness, and freedom I knew here in Aurora. And yet, I'm grateful for those experiences because they made me realize that much of the same oppression I experienced in Palestine had been and was manifesting itself in different forms for other vulnerable and marginalized communities here in Aurora and the United States.

At eight years old, I started working in our deli on the weekends and school vacations, standing on a stool to reach the cash register. When I was 13, my grandfather died and my father went back to Palestine to attend to family matters. I ran the deli that fall as I continued my studies. That deli holds a huge place in my heart. Located at 17th and Logan in Denver, we had the deli from the late 80's until 2001. I grew up there and it shaped my perspective. From the deli, I learned about homelessness and I learned what a gay bar was (where I was sent to get change from time to time). I interacted with a kaleidoscope of people who came from all walks of life and I didn't realize it at the time, but those interactions normalized diverse lifestyles and identities. Looking back, it's that experience that has made discrimination such a boggling and unacceptable concept for me. For both of my parents a part of realizing the American Dream was making sure that ALL of their children were given the opportunities they were never afforded. They also raised us with the expectation that we would be of service to our community and help whenever needed. Doing my best to live that out, I partnered with Project Cure while in high school to organize surplus medical supplies and funds to get aid to Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. After 9/11, when our country needed healing and understanding, my father - a liaison between the Arab/Muslim communities and the non-Muslim communities - could not fulfill all of the speaking requests he was receiving, I stepped up to fill that need. Learning of plans to cut higher-ED funding, as CU Denver's Student Government President, I worked with my fellow CU student government presidents to fight for higher education funding with a lobbying campaign called "Where is S.H.E." (support for higher education). Those experiences set me on the path that would define my adult life. After getting my Bachelor's in Political Science, I earned a Master's in Public Policy to deepen my understanding of politics and how the government works. I started Meet the Middle East in 2008 because the need for healing and understanding between Americans and the Arab and Muslim communities still existed. In that role, I have been engaging with entities ranging from Children's Hospital to the US District Attorney's Office. I've also been serving in the classroom, educating students at the University of Denver and in Denver, Aurora, Cherry Creek, and Littleton Public Schools. I've also continued community organizing and lobbying. Formerly, the Deputy Political Director, I am now the Community Advocate & Liaison for the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado and work to engage and empower communities to advocate for themselves at the Capitol as well as testifying in support of or opposition to bills.

Identifying the need to come together in the face of bigoted policies in early 2017, the Colorado Muslim Society, the largest and oldest mosque in the Rocky Mountain Region, appointed me as their first female Spokesperson and as a member of the Executive Committee where I now play a leading role in representing Muslims on a variety of social justice areas statewide.

The more I have helped address people's needs, the more I've realized how mythical the American Dream is for so many of us due to the connections between discrimination, oppression, and policy. The more I've studied policy and worked with our legislators and other advocacy and community groups to pass policy that will help people in their daily lives, the more I've seen the need for dedicated public servants who will work ceaselessly to make sure our government is doing all it can to help make realizing the American Dream a possibility for everyone.