PRESS STATEMENT: Colorado Advocates Demand a More Transparent Legislative Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 23, 2020

Contacts:
Karla Gonzales Garcia       Patricia Ferrero                                Andrea Chiriboga-Flor

COLOR                 Protégete                                           9 to 5 Colorado

karla@colorlatina.org         patricia@conservationco.org       andrea@9to5.org
(970) 708-9620                      (323) 413-0245                                  (303) 628-0925

Raquel Lane-Arellano                     Alejandro Ortega

CIRC                                                   Padres & Jóvenes Unidos

720-345-9516                                    303-458-6545

raquel@coloradoimmigrant.org   alejandro@padresunidos.org

Colorado Advocates Demand a More Transparent Legislative Process

A diverse cohort of organizations is coming together to urge the General Assembly to update systems and procedures to ensure people can make their voices heard – even in the face of the ongoing pandemic. 

(Denver, CO) – Statement from Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), Protégete, 9 to 5 Colorado, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), and Padres & Jóvenes Unidos are joining forces to call on state lawmakers to take proactive steps to make sure that policies are updated for the 2021 session to ensure accessible opportunities that adhere to public health guidelines:

“Too often our policy making process perpetuates systems and practices that exclude people of color, those living with a disability, families living in low-income households, our immigrant family and friends and many others. The global pandemic and struggling economy have only made things worse.

While we appreciate the efforts made by the General Assembly to ensure our state responded timely to the COVID-19 crisis and completed critical legislative business, the move towards virtually lawmaking resulted in the silencing of our state’s most marginalized communities – the same people most impacted by COVID-19. As lawmakers come together in January, we must do better and take real and concreate steps so that all Coloradans have a voice.

We have the opportunity – and the obligation – to reimagine how participatory democracy works in our state. We are calling on our lawmakers to develop and fully implement an updated set of procedures that ensure that we can protect the health of our elected officials and advocates without denying the input of the people whose lives and livelihoods are on the line.

_________________

“Too many families in our state are really hurting right now. We are facing an unprecedented budget crisis that falls hardest on the backs of people who were already having struggling to obtain healthcare and make ends meet. This moment demands innovative solutions to the challenges that plague our communities. It is more important than ever that we ensure we all have a voice in the policy making process. We urge lawmakers to do all they can to ensure accountability and allow for an open and engaged process.”

Karla Gonzales Garcia, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR)

“BIPOC communities have always faced barriers to civic participation, and the global health crisis has only exacerbated these obstacles. We must prioritize taking meaningful action to increase access to the policy making process. We have an opportunity to implement bold and creative measures that will ensure everyone’s voices are heard.”

Andrea Chiriboga-Flor, 9to5 Colorado State Director

“Our immigrant communities have been disproportionally impacted by the dual COVID and financial crisis. Despite being critical members of our community and essential workers in our economy, many immigrants have been excluded from life-saving relief by federal, state, and local efforts. Additional transparency and accessibility in our legislative process is imperative to ensuring that directly impacted immigrant voices are heard.” 

Raquel Lane-Arellano, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC)

“Across our country and state black, indigenous, and Latinx folks shifted the outcomes of the November 2020 General Election. Our communities of color elected and delivered victories that give us a sense of hope. We the people took action by voting our values for the sake of our livelihood. We said loud and clear, we need access to affordable housing, funding for education, healthcare, police accountability, and protect undocumented families. We demand transparency and inclusion in our democratic process at the Colorado Legislature, especially when our lives depend on it. What will you do for us and our families now that the election is over?”

Elsa Bañuelos, Padres & Jovenes Unidos

“We believe in the power of the people to come together to change not only policies, but the very systems that have allowed people of color to be harmed and our communities to be polluted. We believe our future is worth fighting for, but more than that our families and our health are worth fighting for. We have seen what can happen when we lift our voices for change, but that demands a process where the people have the ability to speak out and influence the decisions that are being made. It is critical that state lawmakers take steps now to make sure that the systems and procedures of our General Assembly are open and transparent and allow for people to have their say.”

Patricia Ferrero, Protégete

 Full letter may be read here.

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Each of the co-sponsoring groups are available for interview upon request.

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