Mike Miles tried to be the change in last year's U.S. Senate race, but he was thwarted in his effort by Colorado attorney general Ken Salazar. Advocates of the Fountain-based educator and former military man are keeping his spirit -- and campaign slogan -- alive, however, with Be the Change USA, a new national political action group.
Though still in its infancy -- it was formed last September -- Be the Change has managed to remain more organized and active than John Kerry's vocal supporters. Earlier this year, it upset the Colorado Democratic Party by getting Pat Waak elected state chairman, much to the chagrin of the establishment. And last month the group hosted a day of workshops with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. But its mission is still a bit murky: "We're not 100 percent sure what our role is going to be yet," says local attorney and Be the Change president Bill Winter. "We want to keep Mike's name out there. We want to energize the grassroots and give regular people a way to get involved."
Particularly on Saturday, July 30, when author Luis Alberto Urrea comes to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds to discuss the hottest of current issues -- immigration -- as part of Be the Change's day-long Celebration of Democracyevent.
"I think Luis is gong to be the surprise for everyone," Winter says. "Knowing him personally, I think he's just a compelling, compelling speaker, almost a better speaker than a writer. And if you've read any of his books, you know that's a huge compliment. He's probably going to make people cry. He told me he's going to let loose. He said, 'Do you mind me being controversial?' and I said, 'Dude, I'm the most controversial guy you know.' He's going to take on Tom Tancredo a little bit."
Certainly, Urrea isn't known for holding back in his writing, particularly in Devil's Highway, the true story of 24 Mexican men illegally trying to cross the border into Arizona. The book was just nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and is being turned into a movie -- plus, Mayor John Hickenlooper put it on his "recommended reading" list in 2004. Now, that's high praise. -- Amy Haimerl