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 into law on a historic date—Juneteenth 2020. This bill was one of the first to respond to the protests and takes such necessary measures as ending qualified immunity for peace officers in Colorado, mandating body cameras, outlawing chokeholds, and requiring bystander officers to intervene to stop excessive force.
In 2019, Elisabeth was featured on the cover of Colorado’s 5280 Magazine as one of the disrupters most shaping Denver, was awarded the Frankie Muse Freeman award from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in recognition of her commitment to social justice, and was featured in national Essence magazine alongside such women as Michelle Obama and Ava DuVernay as one of 100 Woke Women. Elisabeth is proud to serve on the Board of Trustees of Atlantis Community, Inc. and is an active member of the Denver Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Elisabeth is a passionate, skillful, and effective fighter for the rights of individuals and group and her work creates change well beyond her immediate sphere of influence.
We hope you’ll be able to join us at CREEC’s Virtual Event on September 17, 2020 from 5:30 pm – 6:15 pm mountain time to honor Elisabeth Epps and to hear more about what she’s done, the change she fuels, and what she plans to do next.
Sponsor CREEC’s Event!
Register for CREEC’s Event – our is event is free, but pre-registration is required. ASL interpreter and captioning provided. Contact Julie if you have any difficulty registering or if you have any other event questions: firstname.lastname@example.org | 303.945.3204
A special thank you to our early event sponsors!
Current Event Sponsors are: Anonymous, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), Kim & Mary Kay Love – in Memory of Peter Robertson, Relay Colorado, Thomas Kelley, Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho, Johnson & Klein Law, ACLU-Colorado, Colorado Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA), Michael Bien, RMIAN, Benham-Baker Legal, Alan Chen, Impact Fund