CREEC mourns the passing of pathbreaking disability rights lawyer and advocate Carrie Ann Lucas.

As we vow to do our best to kick as many asses as thoroughly as Carrie did. The world has lost a fierce advocate, brilliant lawyer, and talented photographer.  Carrie Ann Lucas, a disability rights attorney who pioneered representation for parents with disabilities, died from complications from septic shock.  She was 47 years old. CREEC recognized Carrie in 2016 for her work in intersectional civil rights, celebrating her outstanding leadership in disability rights, parents’ rights, LGBTQI rights, human dignity, and faith. CREEC’s Co-Executive Directors first worked with Carrie not long after they started their small civil rights law firm in 1996, when she asked us to challenge her graduate program at the Iliff School of Theology for their failure to provide access and effective communication. While she was working on her Masters of Divinity there, she worked with others to protest institutional racism on the faculty and in the library.  This was not her first protest:  early on, she protested her high school’s refusal to permit a disabled student to march with the band. After getting her M. Div., she worked at the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, got her law degree at the University of Denver (on the full-ride Chancellor’s Scholarship), got a prestigious Equal Justice Works fellowship, and founded Disabled Parent Rights, a non-profit devoted to ensuring that people with disabilities have equal rights in parenting.  She also became a national expert and trainer on the rights of parents with disabilities and, through her legal advocacy, secured decisions upholding and promoting those rights here in Colorado. Most recently she was recruited by the Colorado Office of Respondent Parents Counsel...

CREEC, Disability Rights Organizations File Cake Amicus!

CREEC joined nine other disability rights organizations in filing an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in support of the gay couple turned away from a Colorado bakery based on the owner’s prejudice.  The Colorado Court of Appeals held in favor of the couple, recognizing that the baker violated their rights under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (“CADA”), and the Colorado Supreme Court declined to review.  The case is currently before the United States Supreme Court on the baker’s argument that it violates his first amendment rights of free exercise and free expression to force him to make a cake that would be used in a gay wedding.  The statute at issue — CADA  — prohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on disability as well as sexual orientation and a number of other protected classes; Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act also prohibits disability discrimination in public accommodations. CREEC and other organizations filed their amicus brief to caution the Court that recognizing personal scruples exceptions — including free exercise or free expression — to the general requirement that public accommodations serve everyone without discrimination could significantly jeopardize enforcement of Title III and the protections it affords people with disabilities to fully participate in our nation’s economic and commercial life. CREEC strongly urges the Supreme Court to affirm the Colorado Court of Appeals and reaffirm our commitment that American businesses are #OPENTOALL. We would also like to thank the rockstars at Rosen, Bien, Galvan and Grunfeld who wrote the brief, and our fellow amici for the terrific discussions the brief engendered. 16-111, AC...

Good Press Regarding the Decoteau Case

Our Decoteau case challenging the lack of outdoor exercise for inmates in solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary was the focus of an article on clinical legal education in The National Jurist.  We love working with Civil Rights Clinic students and appreciate the shout-out to CREEC. (Note: The link leads to an inaccessible copy of the article.  A word version is available here). Here’s a sneak peek from the article: The recent victory over the Colorado prison system was no overnight success. It was the culmination of years of work by the clinic and the advocacy organization Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center. The students coming in know this can be a long slog, [Clinic Director Laura] Rovner said. They fight the good fight and then hand it off to the next group of students. However, the work resonates long after they leave. When the recent settlement was announced, Rovner got emails from former students who worked on the case, telling her how rewarding it was to hear the news. The students also learn a lot about themselves. They may have preconceived notions about prison, about inmates, about whether they deserve sympathy or help. Best Schools for Practical...