Welcome Allegra!

We are thrilled to announce that Allegra Upton has joined CREEC’s Summer Intern Program! A Colorado native, graduate of CU Boulder, and second-year student at the University of San Francisco School of Law, Allegra will be working closely with CREEC’s Immigration Detention Accountability Program (IDAP) during her internship. Allegra holds a lifelong passion for disability rights and her interest in immigration rights developed while at the University of Colorado, culminating in an English Honors Thesis titled, “The Othering of Muslim Women by Western & Eastern Societies.” It’s hardly surprising that Allegra found herself drawn to IDAP where she will be on the forefront of disability law, immigration law, and their intersection.  “I was inspired to pursue these areas of law by both my personal background and a consistent dedication to helping others. CREEC offers the extraordinary opportunity to work on large scale impact and systemic change, which is exactly the type of work I envision for my legal career,” states Allegra. “I am also incredibly grateful to USF Law School for underwriting my internship experience with a Public Interest Law Foundation grant, which makes it possible to pursue such a deeply meaningful experience.” Prior to her CREEC internship, Allegra contributed to several advocacy organizations related to her professional interests. Allegra’s previous work ranges from serving as a congressional intern for Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet where she was involved with immigration casework, to three years as writer and editor at The Borgen Project, a nonprofit advocating bipartisan legislation to combat global poverty. IDAP Director Liz Jordan remarks, “We’re so excited to welcome Allegra to the IDAP team for the...

CREEC and Others Call on Governor Polis to Stop COVID-19 From Becoming a Death Sentence for People in Prisons

As COVID-19 outbreaks continue to climb in Colorado prisons, CREEC joined others calling on Governor Polis to assert his executive authority and clemency powers to protect the most vulnerable people in prisons before it’s too late. The letter cited new data proving that his actions to date are insufficient to protect the lives of elderly and medically compromised people in prisons, correctional staff, and the community at large. While Colorado’s COVID-19 curve may be flattening for those who are free, the public health crisis is reaching a fever pitch for people who are incarcerated. A recent article revealed that testing at the Sterling Correctional Facility, now the site of the state’s 2nd largest COVID-19 outbreak, has confirmed that at least 278 people there — 266 incarcerated people and 12 staff members — have tested positive for the virus, many of whom are asymptomatic. At four other U.S. state prisons, 96% of the nearly 3,300 people who tested positive also showed no symptoms for the virus, further illustrating that simply isolating those who seem sick from those who appear well is not enough to halt the spread. At least one man died from contracting COVID-19 at Sterling — he was 86-years-old. ACLU-Colorado and eight criminal justice and indigent defense organizations sent a letter to the Governor on March 17 urging him to take decisive action to depopulate prisons and jails. The Governor later issued an Executive Order, which granted Colorado Department of Corrections Director Dean Williams the broad authority to consider releasing more than 7,000 people. But that order has been ineffective. More than a month after the Governor’s executive...

Letter to Gov. Polis Urging Protection of Rights and Access to Care of People with Disabilities During COVID-19 Pandemic

CREEC and 19 other organizations sent this letter to Colorado Governor Jared Polis. You’ll find the complete list of participating organizations in the signature section of this letter. All footnotes and links to signatory organizations are at the end of the letter. March 25, 2020 Re: Survival of People with Disabilities during COVID-19 Pandemic Dear Governor Polis, We want to start this letter by thanking you for your extraordinary leadership during this crisis. Unlike our peers in other states, we are being included in policy decisions and working closely with members of your team (like Elisabeth Arenales) and your cabinet (Kim Bimestefer, Michelle Barnes, Jill Hunsaker-Ryan, and others). We appreciate being involved and allowed to help your administration make the best possible decisions in a horrible situation. People with disabilities and chronic health conditions are doubly vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis: they are vulnerable to acquiring the virus and to suffering more severe effects, and they are vulnerable to healthcare discrimination that may deny them necessary care. As a result, Coloradans with disabilities and chronic health conditions are experiencing escalating fear and anxiety, on top of any physical effects of viral illness. We need your continued leadership to communicate and ensure that Colorado will protect the rights and access to care of disabled people of all ages. Colorado has a strong and united disability community that includes ADAPT, Centers for Independent Living, Arc Chapters, Disability Law Colorado, numerous organizations representing specific disability groups such as the Colorado Metal Wellness Network, the National Federation of the Blind Colorado chapter, and the Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and...

Celebrating the little victories

Of course you hear from us when we achieve a major milestone, like settling a 12-year-long class action.  Woo hoo!  ::snoopydance::  But I want to take a second to celebrate two recent small victories of a type I wish happened more often. In two recent cases — here meaning “examples,” not “federal court complaints” — we heard from an individual facing a situation where a reasonable accommodation was being refused.  A simple, logical, easy accommodation.  In both cases, we wrote letters, had rational, grown-up follow-up calls with rational, grown-up attorneys.  And in both cases the problem was solved. This is so refreshing!  Too often, our letters are met with silence or — my personal favorite — accusations that we are threatening the addressee by explaining the problem on (I guess this is the threat) letterhead that indicates the presence of lawyers.   Most of the discrimination we end up litigating could be solved easily by a company or opposing counsel willing to roll up his/her/its sleeves and brainstorm. So my hat is off to the two lawyers I just dealt with on these two very small matters.  You give me faith in your side of the profession....

Welcome, Casey!

CREEC is excited to announce that Casey Shea will be working with us through December as part of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Externship Program! Prior to joining CREEC in mid-August, Casey interned through a DU Public Interest Law Group Fellowship at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) in San Francisco. Her work there focused on education and health care issues for people with disabilities. Before putting on her law student hat, Casey worked in education funding policy and majored in Social Policy at Northwestern University. As a native Coloradan, Casey’s well primed to join Tim in making fun of CREEC’s East Coast delegation. Welcome, Casey! We’re excited to be working with you this...

ADAAG-nerding out!

Spent the past two days in Baltimore at the annual conference of the National Disability Rights Network.   I got to attend a couple of amazing workshops, hear speeches by two rockstars of our field, Eve Hill, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and Jim Weinstein, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of United Spinal, and geek out on the ADAAG by teaching a three-hour session on ADA surveys.   Since I just bought a new lens, I also made a pest of myself with my camera.   Herewith a couple of photos. Eve: Jim: My co-presenter Tom Crishon, of the Indiana P&A, and organizer and NDRN Senior Staff Attorney Ken Shiotani, during the hands-on portion of the class: Showing how to measure slope:   context photo and close-up photo. Restroom survey practice. A couple of my slides:       Update: more photos from Baltimore on my personal...