Diego is a political organizer, and nationally recognized migrant justice advocate currently living in unceded Coast Salish territories in Vancouver. Diego came to Canada as a refugee from Colombia in 2005 with his mom, and sister. In 2011, Diego was part of the cohort of youth, and adult allies that joined forces with Vancouver Foundation and BC’s representative for children and youth Mary-Ellen Turpel Lafond to make the Fresh Voices initiative a reality, and has been a member ever since. As a former youth in government care, Diego also works closely with the youth in care movement in BC as a member of the community organizers collective of the Fostering Change initiative, and former participation coordinator of the Federation of BC Youth in Care networks; BC’s organization representing all current and former youth in care ages 14-24. In 2017 Diego became the youngest person, first Latino, and first former refugee to be selected as a city council candidate with Vancouver’s largest and governing municipal party Vision Vancouver. Diego’s efforts to include the lived experiences of marginalized young people in public policy discussions have been widely recognized by different institutions including the CCPA-BC Power of Youth Award, The Globe and Mail BC’s top 10 under 20, The City of Vanouvers’ first ever youth award for diversity and inclusion in 2014, and the National Terry Fox Humanitarian Award.
10 years after arriving in Canada, immigrants still face poverty rates twice as high as Canadian-born people. It takes 20 years for the poverty rates of immigrants to equalize with the poverty rates of persons born in Canada.