CCDC wants to thank the ACLU of Colorado for your groundbreaking (and heart breaking) expose. We are proud to partner with this great organization and with CREEC who is also doing this work and look forward to working with anyone interested to assure that immigrants and asylum seekers with disabilities are treated fairly and humanely.
———- Forwarded message ———
From: Rachel Pryor-Lease <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, Sep 18, 2019 at 10:52 AM
Subject: Investigative report on immigration detention released today
To: Julie Reiskin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Today marks the release of our investigative report about the GEO immigration detention facility in Aurora: Cashing in on Cruelty: Stories of Death, Abuse and Neglect at the GEO Immigration Detention Facility in Aurora.
The report is based on a nine-month ACLU of Colorado investigation, which included a lawsuit against ICE under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for records about Mr. Samimi’s death and interviews with dozens of victims of mistreatment. The investigation revealed numerous stories of medical incompetence, dental neglect, inadequate mental healthcare, lack of accommodations for detainees with disabilities, as well as substandard care that contributed to the suffering and death of Kamyar Samimi, a Lawful Permanent Resident for more than 40 years.
Cashing in on Cruelty provides a set of recommendations to improve state and local policy, including increased oversight and accountability of ACDF, divesting from investments in private detention operators like GEO, funding for legal counsel and bond money for detainees and limiting local cooperation with ICE. The policy brief enumerates ways that Colorado cities, counties and the state should respond to the expansion of private immigration detention centers to improve conditions of confinement and reduce the number of people who end up separated from their families and communities or worse — dead.
Read the report and learn more, including actions to take and know your rights information at: https://www.allarewelcomeco.org/.
As a reminder, we are having an informal breakfast this Friday, September 20th from 8:30-10am to hear from the staff that worked on the report, as well as learn more about our next steps. Please let me know if you would like to join us.
Thank you for your support, so that we can continue to do this critical work.
Director of Philanthropy
American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado
303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 350
Denver, CO 80203-1256
Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself
Sign up for e-alerts and support our work at www.aclu-co.org
P.S. Please join us at our annual Bill of Rights Dinner on Thursday, September 26th at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver. For tickets and more information, visit: https://aclu-co.org/events/bill-of-rights-dinner/.
September 20th 2019
10:30 AM– 12:00PM
Addiction Professionals Day
Tivoli Film Center
University of Colorado – Denver – College of Arts and Media
901 Larimer St. Denver, CO 80202
Special recognition of the legislative bill sponsors
Meet Colorado’s new Ombudsman for Behavioral Health Care Access
The Denver Reel Recovery Film Festival
Tivoli Film Center
Immediately following the
SAVE THE DATE!
AFR Colorado Hosts:
RALLY FOR RECOVERY
Denver Civic Center Park
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For Immediate Release
President Trump’s Statement Blaming Gun Violence on People with Mental Health Conditions Is Outrageous, Says National Organization of Mental Health Advocates with “Lived Experience”
WASHINGTON (August 7, 2019)—The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR), which advocates to improve policies affecting individuals with mental health conditions nationwide, offers its sincere condolences to all those affected by the tragedies in El Paso and Dayton.
At the same time, the NCMHR is disgusted by President Trump’s recent statement in which he conflated perpetrators of violence and people with psychiatric diagnoses.
“As a national organization representing persons with mental health issues—many of whom are trauma survivors—the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery condemns President Trump’s statement blaming people with mental health conditions for gun violence,” said NCMHR co-founder and board president Daniel B. Fisher, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist with lived experience of a mental health condition.
“As the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and numerous studies have reported, people with mental health conditions are the wrong scapegoat after mass shootings,” Dr. Fisher continued. “Instead, frequently the shooter in these tragedies is an isolated, angry white male with an automatic weapon.
“But the President refuses to take responsibility for his central role in ginning up racism and anti-immigrant hatred in countless statements and at numerous rallies over a period of years.
“Economic and social oppression have alienated and disempowered people, putting the American Dream out of reach for many. We need a more economically and socially equitable society to address the roots of society’s anger. It is crucial that we hear, and respect, the voices of people angered by these economic factors, because so many feel unheard and unrespected.
“And we must immediately pass and implement effective gun control laws. When economist Richard Florida examined gun deaths and other social indicators, he found that higher populations, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness didn’t correlate with more gun deaths. But he did find one telling correlation: States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths.
“After a mass shooting in 1996, Australia adopted tougher gun control laws—and this resulted in a huge decrease in gun violence.
“Unfortunately, many of our legislators feel obligated to the National Rifle Association. Republicans received nearly $6 million in the 2016 election cycle; Democrats received $106,000. President Trump received at least $21 million from the gun lobby. At the same time, 90% of Americans support background checks for all gun sales.
“We can do this. At long last, we just need to summon the political will.”
The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) works to ensure that people with psychiatric diagnoses have a major voice in the development and implementation of health care, mental health, and social policies at the state and national levels, empowering people to recover and lead full lives in the community.
CONTACT: Daniel Fisher, MD, PhD, NCMHR board president, email@example.com; 202-642-4480
1385 S. Colorado Blvd. Bldg. A, Ste. 610
Denver, Colorado 80222
CCDC was made aware that yesterday an ADAPT leader Bruce Darling made an inappropriate comment saying that Democrats cared more about immigrants than people with disabilities. Mr. Darling has apologized in writing for these comments and has acknowledged that this is inappropriate, divisive and that “oppression Olympics” serves no one. We agree.
CCDC is proud of our long affiliation with ADAPT. Many of us at CCDC are ADAPT members and participate in ADAPT actions. CCDC understands the frustration when politicians that use us to get elected ignore us. This frustration is something communities of color have dealt with for decades and continue to deal with throughout the country.
The situation for immigrants in this country has reached a crisis point. National “leaders” are bullying, threatening, belittling, and intimidating immigrants. People who even have family members who are immigrants are being intimidated into not using services that they need. This hostile climate is antithetical to what America is….after all, we are a nation of immigrants. Only those who are Native American/Indigenous People are not from another country. CCDC appreciates the lawmakers that are speaking out against the abhorrent conditions at the border, and fighting back against the mistreatment of immigrants around the country. CCDC believes there is bandwidth for our elected officials to deal with more than one issue and that ignoring disability issues is due to ableism, nothing more and nothing less.
As a social justice organization, CCDC must speak out –otherwise we are complicit. More than ever, we must be vigilant to not fall into the trap of frustration of blaming and othering. The current hostile and divisive political climate can and should be blamed, but it is because of this climate that we all must take extra care to be personally responsible and avoid these comparisons. We must stand with our brothers and sisters (with and without disabilities) who are new arrivals as a matter of social justice and mutual commitment to a more equitable society.
We will not comment or opine on the intent of Mr. Darling. It is never acceptable to pit oppressed groups against each other. We hope that the larger social justice community will not see these comments as reflective of the disability community. Our community is diverse and includes many people who have intersectional identities as immigrants, migrants, new arrivals and people with disabilities. We are not immune to the racism and xenophobia that permeate our organizations and all American communities, but we are responsible to address it inside and outside of our organizations.
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If you follow the news or talk to your neighbors, you know Colorado is in the midst of an affordable-housing crisis. The health and well-being of individual Colorado families is at risk as the cost of housing forces them to live in unhealthy homes, prevents them from having a stable place to live, and consumes so much of their income that they cannot afford other necessities or save money for an emergency. Hundreds of thousands of Coloradans are spending more than half their income on housing — a situation that puts them at risk of homelessness.
Colorado Center on Law and Policy began an effort to inject significant new funding into the budget for affordable housing in 2015. Yet, despite growing concerns, the legislature has only provided small amounts of funding for targeted high-cost populations such as people with mental illness and people leaving the criminal justice system. The legislature has not made a meaningful investment that would address the needs of the 275,000 ordinary Colorado households that are spending more than half of their income on rent.
For the fourth time in as many years, state legislators will have an opportunity to consider a bill that will help relieve the housing crisis without increasing taxes or redirecting funds from other priorities.
Developed by CCLP, House Bill 1322 would invest $30 million a year for three years in the Housing Development Grant Fund. That Fund provides grants and loans for a range of needs, including acquisition, renovation and construction of affordable housing, down-payment assistance, mobile home repair and rental assistance for a range of populations.
If HB 1322 is passed, Colorado Division of Housing would consult with stakeholders from urban and rural communities so that the funds address a variety of needs throughout the state. The legislation reflects input of stakeholders from urban and rural areas, convened by Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate.
HB 1322 doesn’t rely on taxpayer dollars or tap into the state budget. Funding will come from the unclaimed property trust fund. This fund holds dormant bank accounts, securities and life insurance proceeds and other abandoned property. While Colorado’s state treasurer makes a tremendous effort to find the owners of these abandoned accounts, hundreds of millions of dollars in the fund remain unclaimed. HB 1322 would put a fraction of that money to good use solving an urgent problem: the lack of affordable housing.
Sponsored by Rep. Dylan Roberts, Sen. Dominick Moreno and Sen. Don Coram, HB 1322 has been endorsed by the Urban Land Conservancy, Enterprise Community Partners, Colorado Municipal League, Colorado Counties, Inc., League of Women Voters, Tourism Industry Association of Colorado, Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, Housing Colorado, Colorado Apartment Association, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Commissioners and Counties Acting Together, Habitat for Humanity Colorado, Interfaith Alliance, Boulder Housing Partners, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, city of Boulder, The Denver Foundation, Center for Health Progress, Colorado Senior Lobby, Colorado Bankers Association, 9to5, Denver Metro Fair Housing Center, Together Colorado, The Arc of Colorado, Denver Metro Fair Housing Center, Together Colorado and Wells Fargo Bank.
Legislators should also pass House Bill 1245. Sponsored by Rep. Mike Weissman, and Sens. Julie Gonzales and Mike Foote, this legislation would increase funding for affordable housing by limiting the amount of sales tax revenue Colorado’s largest retailers can keep as their “fee” for collecting the tax. The additional revenue would be transferred to the same housing fund within the Department of Local Affairs, and also would be used to preserve or expand the supply of affordable housing in Colorado. HB 1245 would provide roughly $23 million for housing in the first year and $45 million to $50 million per year thereafter.
Both HB 1322 and HB 1245 will help us begin to address the lack of affordable housing in targeted and creative ways without affecting taxpayers or other funding priorities. Both measures deserve support. Together, these bills could help thousands of Coloradans better afford a home so they can devote more of their hard-earned money to other essential needs.
Claire Levy is executive director of Colorado Center on Law and Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that researches, develops and advocates for policies that improve family economic security and health care for all Coloradans.
Original Article: A couple of bills to boost affordable housing — without a tax hike
“Julie Reiskin, executive director of the advocacy group Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, is not involved with Stepping Stone. Reiskin has an adult child with a disability and understands the concerns parents like Barbara Ziegler and Arendt have for their children.
“Some kind of permanent affordable housing is what they need,” Reiskin said. “What you’re talking about is someone with very low income.””
1385 S. Colorado Blvd. Bldg. A, Ste. 610
Denver, Colorado 80222
After a great deal of deliberation, cautious debate, legal advice, research, and consultation, CCDC has decided to actively support SB 182, which would repeal Colorado’s death penalty. We deliberated carefully and at length as to whether or not the bill raised an issue crucial to disability rights and, if so if there was a legitimate reason to urge repeal while maintaining our ongoing opinion that people with disabilities should take full and equal responsibility. With the help of our legal team, we decided that the answer was firmly “YES” to both questions.
I wish now to focus on some salient issues brought forth from our discussions and analysis.
Support of a ban would show that CCDC stands in solidarity with groups against whom the death penalty has been historically weaponized.