#IHeartCOS

If you love Colorado Springs (and we know you do) join Citizens Project and the Pikes Peak Equality Coalition to spread the love today in our city:

  • iheartcoslogoFollow the action on Twitter and use #IHeartCOS to share your own reasons for loving this city
  • Change your own profile picture to the image at the right
  • Take a selfie and share with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers why you ♥ Colorado Springs
  • Finally check out this Buzzfeed article to see why others love Colorado Springs and maybe get some inspiration yourself!

We believe in the transformative power of language. By changing the conversation about our community, we can change our community. Help us as we shift the conversation from one of scarcity to one of abundance.

Community Conversation at the Educating Children of Color Summit

By Meghan Devall, MSW Intern

ECOC Conference Logo 200 pixelsI recently had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Educating Children of Color Seminar: YOUth Be the Change. The purpose of Educating Children of Color (ECOC) is to “dismantle the cradle to prison pipeline for children of color, and children in poverty, through education”. The ECOC annual summit brings noted speakers to Colorado Springs and awards laptops and scholarships to high school students. The all day summit is a great way for students, teachers, parents, and concerned citizens to collectively learn, become involved, and work towards common goals. The powerful conversations that take place in such places can be the starting point for change and inviting students to attend sends the message that they are a part of this conversation and their presence, input, and feedback is not only wanted, it is needed.

With a passion for social justice and political activism I often find myself contemplating the most effective way of getting a message to the masses. All too often it feels as though I’m “preaching to the choir”. However, as I sat in my first workshop: Academic Resilience and Cultural Competency, something shook me. The facilitator informed the participants that the workshop topic might be uncomfortable, yet having had many of these difficult conversations surrounding culture and the impact it can have on students, I knew I would not get uncomfortable. That is when it dawned on me: I, too, am a member of the proverbial choir. How can I work to expand my own audience when, as an audience member myself, I’m not branching out? Accepting the need for social action often times requires everyday citizens to step outside of their comfort zone and face the facts in sometimes unsettling ways. The ECOC summit was more than an eye opener; it brought over 1,000 local citizens from all walks together to face the facts and work towards eliminating the education gap and overrepresentation of our minority children and children of poverty in the judicial systems. However, for me personally, the ECOC summit reminded me that every citizen is a member of the audience and we all have a civic duty to participate in uncomfortable conversation – even if we consider ourselves activists.

 

If you’re interested in achievement gap data in Colorado Springs, the Summit provided summaries of important research, which you can find here.

A Note from Our Friends at Inside/Out

Dear friends of Inside/Out,

Immediately following the fire that engulfed our Inside/Out home earlier this year, so many of you stepped forward to help. We were inspired and humbled to see our community standing in solidarity with our incredible youth, and I can’t begin to thank you enough for your generosity of time, talent, and treasure.

Because of you, Inside/Out Youth Services:

  • Raised more than $90,000 at our recent Ally Up! Breakfast event, ensuring our fiscal health and ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances;
  • Has a temporary home at the Tim Gill Center for Public Media, allowing the 512 young people we serve annually to be themselves in a safe environment;
  • Continues to offer youth programs three times a week with the help of more than 27 dedicated volunteers;
  • Has secured a safe space for drop-ins once a week Friday between 11am – 5pm at 322 N. Tejon Street, Suite 225 to enable us to provide services to youth in crisis; and
  • Will continue to convene the Pikes Peak Safe @ School Coalition 3rd Tuesday of the month at 3480 Centennial Blvd. and present trainings to local educators on how to protect LGBTQ students in their classrooms and beyond.

But of course, Inside/Out still has many needs, and I write today to invite you to help us move forward into a brighter future for the young people we serve. Five specific needs we have are:

Thank you again for all you’ve made possible for our incredible and resilient Inside/Out youth. Your generosity gives me – and the young people we serve – confidence that tomorrow will be brighter than we can imagine.

Amy, Board Chair at Inside/Out

Who is Simply Divine? You Tell Us!

Citizens Project invites you to submit nominations for the prestigious Divine Award that recognizes a person in the Pikes Peak region who has worked tirelessly to create a vibrant democracy in which equal rights are protected, individual freedoms are secure, differences are respected and people fully participate in civic life.

Tell us in 300 words or fewer why your nominee should be recognized. Please provide specific information about your nominee’s roles in the community – both officially and informally – and how you believe your nominee has made a lasting impact on the community. Please include your name and daytime phone number with your nomination. Email nominations to [email protected] by November 1.

The event will take place in February 2014 at Stargazers Theater.

Previous recipients include: Mary Lou Makepeace, Dr. Jim White, Pam Jones and Juliet Draper (shared award), Lorne Kramer, Richard Skorman, John Weiss, Mary Ellen McNally, Rosemary Harris Lytle, Sharon Berthrong, and Sharon Friedman.