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The Lafayette council member is a UC student and children’s mentor

LAFAYETTE, Colo. — One evening last December, a 20-year-old college student raised her right hand inside the Lafayette City Council chambers and repeated the words spoken by a judge.

“I solemnly swear that I will uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and the State of Colorado and the charter and ordinances of the city of Lafayette and that I will faithfully perform the duties of a member of the city council to the best of my my abilities,” said Enihs Medrano.

“Congratulations, you are now sworn in,” the judge said, smiling behind her mask. The crowd gathered inside the chambers cheered for the newest and youngest member of the Lafayette City Council.

“I think I feel really blessed for this opportunity, especially at such a young age, and I think I’m almost a bit in shock,” Medrano said.

Age and experience do not go hand in hand for Medrano. Finding her place in the city council chambers is just the final leg of a journey for a first-generation Mexican-American.

“I would hate to grow up and forget, you know, where I came from or the struggles my family went through to get here,” Medrano said.

Medrano’s family immigrated from Torreón, a town in the Mexican state of Coahuila. His parents made their home in Lafayette, where Medrano was born and given a unique name.

“My name is Enihs and it shines upside down,” Medrano explained. “I love my name, and I think even now it’s so similar to what I do, and who I am.”

Medrano lives with his parents and younger brother at Boulder Ridge Mobile Home Park in Lafayette. She said her family’s home is where her roots are strongest and where she can recharge.

“I come home, and I can be with my family, and I hear cars going by blasting Spanish music,” Medrano smiled. “I hear kids running around. On the weekends, I can smell the barbecue going on.

The family gave Medrano the energy to fit in even when she felt out of place at school.

“My college time was very difficult,” Medrano said. “Being a Latina, I didn’t feel comfortable speaking up and sharing the answer to a math problem because I didn’t think Latinos were smart, or people of color, because I didn’t I never got to see that with my own eyes.”

Medrano admitted that she struggled as a student. She said she dropped out of class, smoked weed behind the school and her grades suffered.

“The moment that changed for me was the first time I was able to return to Mexico,” Medrano said.

She met her loved ones in person and saw her own potential.

“She’s my grandma,” Medrano said, sliding to a photo on her phone of her 16th birthday. In the photo, Medrano dances with his grandmother while a band plays in the background.

“She grew up very poor and still managed to go to college,” Medrano said. “And then I had to think. Like, ‘what am I doing?’ Like, I literally go to school and like the ditch half the time, probably all the time.

The conversations with his grandmother sparked something inside Medrano. She wanted to do better and do more. She wanted to make her family proud.

“I think I really felt the weight of ‘this matters, and I need – I want to remember those stories, and I want to continue the legacy,'” she said. “I think it clicked. Like, oh, I can pull it off, and I’m pretty worthy of being smart.

Medrano got to work and it paid off. She is now a junior at CU Boulder.

“I just feel like another student who shows up and does what they have to do to graduate and be here and then move on with their life and continue to make an impact like anyone around me and my community,” Medrano said.

Medrano may think of herself as a typical student, but her friends see a leader.

“Everyone has always admired [Enihs]”, Rachel Koeller said. “She’s always looking to improve her community, and I think that’s always something that stood out, even in high school.”

Between classes at CU, Medrano also helps mentor children in their faith during her part-time work with Young Life, a Christian youth ministry.

“We just try to spend as much time as possible with middle and high school kids,” Medrano said. “We do everything with intentionality to go to them and go to their territory.”

Medrano also gives back to children in other ways. She teaches students at the Lafayette school she attended, Angevine Middle School.

“Not only does she sympathize with these students, but she can sympathize with them,” said JD Mangat, a teacher at the school. “She understands a lot of the difficulties they can go through.”

Mangat is one of Medrano’s mentors. He held the title of youngest member of the Lafayette City Council. Now he is the mayor.

“We’ve paved this path where it’s now becoming a norm to grow here, to invest, to run for office at the highest level, and to continue to give back to the community that raised you,” Mangat said.

The flawed path that Medrano followed in life led her to politics. The Lafayette city clerk checked the records on file and confirmed that Medrano is the youngest city council member in recent memory.

“You know, it’s always good to have all the perspectives at the table,” Medrano said.

The young council member wants to be a voice for her community and her families at Boulder Ridge Mobile Home Park.

“At the end of the day, city council members can make decisions for communities like this, but how much better is it to have someone in the community who can speak directly and have personal experience with this part and manage to represent it well?” said Medrano.

Enihs Medrano will serve a two-year term on the Lafayette City Council where she hopes her best self will shine.

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