Announcing CREEC’s 2020 Award Winner – Elisabeth Epps

The Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center is honored to announce Elisabeth Epps as the winner of this year’s Challenging Discrimination Award for her longtime commitment to racial justice, ending mass incarceration, and addressing racism in the criminal legal system. As a leader in the prison abolitionist movement, a bail activist, organizer, and former public defender, Elisabeth uses her skills and voice to effect change for individuals and across systems and communities. Elisabeth is committed to working with and for vulnerable people, particularly those with justice-involved backgrounds. In 2015, Elisabeth became a Co-Director of the Denver Justice Project which seeks to address systemic racism by transforming law enforcement and the structure of the criminal justice system through intersectional movement building, direct action, advocacy, and collaborative education. Elisabeth founded the Colorado Freedom Fund (CFF) in 2018–a revolving community bond fund that buys freedom for people who are caged only because they cannot afford to pay their bail. CFF works to end wealth-based detention through legislation, litigation, and direct action organizing. Through CFF, Elisabeth partnered with community organizations and legal activists in 2019 to pass into law a bill that prohibits cash bail in Colorado for many low-level offenses, and another bill to increase prompt pretrial liberty and fairness across the state; both laws are already having an impact in decarcerating Colorado cages. In 2018, Elisabeth joined the ACLU of Colorado as its Smart Justice Organizer and in 2019, Colorado Freedom Fund and ACLU in conjunction with community partners launched Bring our Neighbors Home. Early in this summer’s protests in support of the Movement for Black Lives, Elisabeth was part of the team that crafted Colorado’s SB20-217 bill, passed it through the legislature, and saw it signed...

Welcome Avi!

  CREEC is thrilled to announce the arrival of our first Director of Outreach for the Accessibility Project, Avi Haimowitz. Avi will be working to spread the word about the Accessibility Project and expand its reach. With more than nine years as an advocate for Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing (DDBDDHH) people in Colorado, including lived experience as a Deaf person, she has witnessed the barriers that DDBDDHH people often face when navigating legal, medical, and human services systems, reinforcing her drive to be part of positive change at a systemic as well as individual level. Avi says about her new position at CREEC, “I’m ecstatic to be joining an organization that I’ve long admired and respected! The civil rights work that CREEC does is crucial to dismantling barriers that society imposes on disabled people like myself. I look forward to working closely with various disability communities, including the DDBDDHH communities, to help ensure their experiences are heard and represented.” Prior to joining CREEC, Avi was involved with Deaf Overcoming Violence through Empowerment (DOVE), a nonprofit that provides advocacy services to DDBDDHH people who experience abuse across the state of Colorado. During her 8 years with DOVE, Avi’s various hats included Outreach Coordinator, Program Director, and Executive Director. A Licensed Social Worker, Avi graduated from Gallaudet University with a Master of Social Work in 2010. She is fluent in English and American Sign Language (ASL). Aside from her work, Avi enjoys navigating the new challenges of parenthood with her partner, exploring the outdoors, and snuggling her dogs – both of whom believe they are still puppies. Director...