As our 20th year comes to a close, Citizens Project is pleased to present what are – in our opinion – the top twenty cultural shifts and events that Citizens Project and its supporters and allies have directly affected:
20. Citizens Project served on a statewide coalition of immediate responders who challenged the 2012 deceptively-titled “Religious Liberty Amendment” measure at the title board, causing Focus on the Family to withdraw this liberty-threatening proposition;
19. We participated in the local Safe @ School Coalition and advocated for inclusive anti-discrimination language in School District 11 policy, which passed 6-1 in June of this year;
17. We spearheaded a local effort to diversify polling places in El Paso County and worked with the Clerk and Recorder to identify more secular, accessible venues;
16. Citizens Project reinvigorated the Pikes Peak Equality Coalition, a collaboration of organizations committed to equal rights and civic engagement. In 2011, we made over 3,000 Get-Out-The-Vote contacts and anticipate doing even more this year;
15. We maintained our commitment to working with with many diverse faith and secular organizations. In 2011 we presented a community screening of the film Rebirth commemorating 9/11 with more than 20 partners;
14. CP led an effort that re-established a Human Relations Commission in Colorado Springs. In 2011 we met with new Council members, who affirmed the HRC early this year;
13. We developed an annual Citizens’ Religious Freedom Institute. In 2012 we provided 50 teachers, administrators, and school board members with the necessary information and tools to protect religious freedom in their schools;
12. CP always advocates for positive legislation, such as the passage of SB 200 in 2008 and standing against detrimental legislation, such as Amendment 46, which failed in the same year;
11. We have supported elected officials in taking bold action to create a Colorado that embraces all its residents, such as Governor Ritter’s signing SB 07-025, expanding employment nondiscrimination to include sexual orientation.
10. CP hosted a 2005 Rally for All Students, which was a counter-demonstration against the Westboro Church at Palmer High School and brought 1,000 people together in solidarity with and support of our youth;
9. We’ve supported the Colorado Springs Diversity Forum, the subsequent City sponsorship of the Diversity Festival, and the reincarnation of Food for Thought, a program which builds upon Citizens Project’s pilot Dialogue Dinners;
8. We helped ensure the successful establishment of a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Palmer High School in 2004 and the development of GSAs in other districts following Palmer’s example;
7. Citizens Project hosts community-building events like the one-time Forum for Religion in Public Schools in 2001, which paved way for unique collaborations in our community today; and
6. We developed change-making programs like the Civic Leadership Task Force, which recruited and encouraged diverse candidates to run for public office and serve on boards and commissions.
5. CP convened a regional coalition of more than 25 organizations that worked to overwhelmingly defeat the 1996 Parental Rights Amendment, which would have undermined child abuse laws and public schools;
4. We organized the 1995 Get Involved Workshop, which provided civics education to traditionally under-represented voter groups and initiated an effort to reinstate a Human Relations Commission;
3. With many volunteers, we established and maintained a Schools Network to engage volunteers and advocate for civil rights in public schools. As a result, school boards worked with activists on policy, more diverse candidates won school board elections, and Citizens Project was recognized as the preeminent organization in support of student rights, a legacy that continues today;
2. CP has conducted election education forums and compiled candidate survey voter guides for all local elections – a legacy that continues today; and
1. Since inception, Citizens Project has brought people together who shared values, or who value dialogue, to inspire them and remind them to “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
In this 20th anniversary year, and in every year, we invite activists and supporters to be a part of that small but growing group that’s transforming the community one win at a time.
Read more about our history and accomplishments in our 20-year retrospective.