By Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media
There were smiles a plenty to go around at a local reception April 2, 2022 for an aspiring North Denver native, Sonrisa Lucero, on her way to Washington D.C. as she continues to pursue her passion in environmental justice.
Sonrisa Lucero is now “Special Advisor for Stakeholder Engagement in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity for the U.S. Department of Energy.”
Sonrisa, which translates into smile in Spanish, was all that when she met with family, former classmates, community leaders and well wishers who came out to Club 38 in North Denver to congratulate and celebrate a local girl, now woman whose life long dream has become a reality.
Sonrisa told Latin Life Denver Media that her passion for environmental justice starting when she was just a young kid at school, “An instructor brought in a glass container full of some hazy brown smoke and some water. It turned out it was literally part of Denver’s brown cloud. It was dirty and ugly. It sparked an awareness in me about the environment we live in and how we all had to care for it.”
“She’s the reason I have to drive a hybrid vehicle” chimed in her father, Gene Lucero, who is a successful entrepreneur in his own right. Asked if he was surprised by her prestigious appointment, the proud dad said, “No, I’m not, she has groomed herself through her studies and work experience for this moment.”
Sonrisa is a graduate of Stanford University with a self-designed degree
combining energy resources, policy and economics in the School of
Asked how she was able to land the position, Sonrisa stated, “I really need to thank my community of Latinx leaders who made it possible for me to even get interviewed for the position, “Without their support and influence that may never have happened.”
Sonrisa Lucero was most recently the Equitable Buildings Decarbonization Manager at RMI where she led the efforts to integrate equity into carbon free buildings policy and advocacy. Previously she worked to advance equitable sustainability and climate policy at the City and County of Denver in the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency. A lifelong activist for social justice,
As part of her new position Sonrisa Lucero said she will be holding round table discussions around the country to listen and learn about the environmental concerns and needs of communities across the U.S.
“The government has been doing research and development regarding climate change for more than 30 years. Now it is finally time to put that research to work and put justice into the equation of environmental justice.
“Sonrisa is skilled at building coalitions and guiding diverse stakeholders to equitably advance sustainability and combat climate change.” read a statement from the U.S. Department of Energy.