To commemorate our 20th anniversary, Citizens Project invites former board and staff members to submit reflections on CP for inclusion in Freedom Watch Online and associated anniversary print collateral. If you’re interested in contributing, please contact us.
How naïve can two people be? Twenty years ago, Doug and I found out.
It might be comforting to believe that Citizens Project began with a vision to be the city-wide powerhouse that it has become. But no, the original hope was to be able to occasionally generate 30 or so calls in response to intolerance.
The seed of CP began one morning over bagels and the Gazette at our kitchen table. Amendment 2 was on the horizon; at that point without organized opposition. And we had just read that the Pagan speaker on a diversity panel had been uninvited after a local radio program had received 8 complaining calls.
“If we can generate some calls in response, maybe another view can be heard.”
The idea for Citizens Project was born.
Doug and I didn’t know 30 people to approach, but we knew who did.
First stop: Richard Skorman. Richard helped us create a small group of dedicated volunteers to get things started. A trickle was beginning.
We still didn’t understand that the trickle would become a river until D’Arcy Fallon wrote an article about the tiny Citizens Project for the Gazette. It came out on a Saturday morning as Doug and I were loading the car to leave for the weekend. The phone started ringing at 7:30, with a parade of grateful voices calling through the day. “I thought I was all alone here,” was the refrain. We stayed home; one answering the phone while the other entered names into the computer. Hundreds of names.
This was the real birth of Citizens Project.
CP came to life because support for pluralism and compassion was alive and well in Colorado Springs – it just needed a vehicle. Since then, many wonderful volunteers and staff have arrived to corral that energy, creating a vital, evolving and effective organization.
It has been so gratifying to see a small, naïve vision, empowered by community, grow into a force that continues to change the conversation in Colorado Springs.
Amy Divine, Co-Founder of Citizens Project