Sol Sandoval Tafoya is a Chicana indigenous woman, a community organizer, and a candidate for U.S. Congress in the Third Congressional District of Colorado. A graduate of Colorado State University Pueblo, Sol spent a decade with the Pueblo County Department of Social Services where she worked on some of the most challenging circumstances of the human experience. The work inspired her to get out from behind her desk and go out and make a more personal difference in the world.
She has focused her work on critical issues like health equity and energy justice. As a volunteer with the Colorado Trust, she envisions a community where people who have not been given a seat at the table have allies and community members who will ensure that they are no longer left out of the decision making, that they have their voices heard and have leadership of the positive changes to come.
But for Sol, health equity is about more than health care – it’s about other game changer issues: about economic parity and whether the wages people earn are livable, about housing and the availability of affordability, it’s about energy justice and whether people in economically challenged communities pay more for utilities and utility service than people in wealthier communities.
It’s about whether her own community can not only survive, but whether it thrives. And it’s about our obligation to the next generation, not at some later time but now. Ultimately, for Sol Sandoval Tafoya, it’s about family.
“My children are everything to me. They are my driving force; my fuel – they’re the reasons I fight for justice. Everything we take on we should be doing with our children in mind.”
So, she fights for their very lives in a world plagued with official misconduct and official violence. “I want to leave a world where children of color are safe, Brown children safe; where the color of their skin won’t get them murdered.”
Born in South Central Los Angeles, Sol faced neighborhood dangers as a child. Her parents were both janitors at the University of Southern California; her mother still works there. Somehow, Sol found her way to Colorado State University Pueblo – and stayed in the city because the university was supportive and welcoming, and the people were kind. When she needed a laptop or the high-tech calculator for a math class, she could borrow. When she needed tutoring, it was available. She returned the kindness.
Sol graduated in December 2008 with a major in Spanish and Communications and an emphasis on Public Relations. By then, she had fallen in love with Pueblo. She has shown that love by conducting health listening sessions at “Dog Patch,” a community in East Pueblo and translating for non-English speakers on the mobile COVID vaccine bus. “Language justice isn’t often addressed but it’s important,” she says. “No one is coming to save us. We must demand what we need or find ways to provide it for ourselves.”
Frustrated with inequities in education, in criminal justice, in politics, she decided to run for Congress a few months ago.
“Representation matters. We need to bring diversity; decision-makers who come from different walks of life.” It’s her first run for elected office and she’s super motivated.
Again, it goes back to her two children – and all children. Action on climate change isn’t something that can afford to wait, she says. “We must act now.”