The Board of Directors of Violence Free Colorado is proud to announce the appointment of our new Executive Director, Roshan Kalantar, effective Jan. 17. Roshan has been serving as the Associate Director of the Coalition since 2020, and has been working in the field of advocacy and gender-based violence for over 15 years. Born in Iran, Roshan grew up in Colorado and Arizona. She has lived and worked in Washington D.C., Boston, and New Orleans leading advocacy and education programs. Since returning to Denver, Roshan served as Shelter Program Director at SPAN and as a counselor in community and medical settings. She has also taught in education and counseling programs at Metropolitan State University, University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology. All of this work has been grounded in her training in feminist, Womanist, Post-Colonial, Queer, and Critical Race theories.
In her time here, Roshan has provided invaluable leadership and support to Violence Free Colorado staff and coalition members as the organization faced numerous challenges, from navigating the pandemic to multiple staff and leadership transitions. Roshan’s colleagues have shared directly with the board their excitement about the potential of her becoming ED. We as the board are confident that under Roshan’s leadership, Violence Free Colorado will continue to evolve in meaningful ways that support our diverse coalition, the needs of survivors, and the growth of our movement as a whole.
Since I joined Violence Free Colorado in December of 2020, we have been in transition. This time of challenge has shown me your strength and our needs. I have seen our staff rise to meet the needs of survivors and advocates, advocate for their own needs, and push Violence Free Colorado to be better every day. I have witnessed the extraordinary dedication and powerful advocacy of our members. I have had the opportunity to learn every facet of our organization and to connect with our partners across Colorado and the U.S. This time has also shown me the places where our work wears thin – stretched budgets, high turnover, fewer community resources, more complex survivor needs, new organizational challenges, and an internal reckoning with the equity and accessibility of our programming. Moving into the Executive Director role is an opportunity to celebrate your strength and look for new ways to address our shared needs. I believe in the good work we do every day. I believe in our shared mission of justice and peace. I believe a Coalition’s purpose is to build community and foster collaboration. Our work is not to store information, but to build networks of connection in which we can share knowledge and learn from one another. Survivors deserve advocates who are well resourced, well respected, and empowered. Advocates deserve leadership that is supported and supportive, challenged and challenging. This is the work of the Coalition and what I am excited to do together. In the days and years to come, I am committed to building a stronger Coalition that finds and creates opportunities to expand our community of change.