Colorado Progressive Coalition
Colorado Progressive Coalition began in 1996 in Greeley, when members of the community came together to fight against issues of inequality present in Colorado's political, economic and legal structures. Since that time the organization has grown to over 30,000 members and led a long history of victories that continue to bring greater equity to the state.
History by campaign area
Racial Justice & Civil Rights
CPC is recognized by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, among others, as a national leader in advancing racial justice and civil rights. In 2001, CPC led the campaign to win a strong state law to stop police racial profiling. In 2005, CPC was one of two groups highlighting problems with a proposed new jail, helping to win a new, annual commitment of $1.2 million from the city of Denver to fund alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders. Then in 2010, CPC worked and achieved the passage of an informed consent to search bill, unique in the U.S. The bill compells officers to inform people that they have the right to refuse the search.
In 2012-13, CPC has led a strong campaign in the local arena helping to secure new rules in Denver's city charter that will aid in removing violent and abuses police officers from the force. That work is continuing as we move forward to end racial profiling and police abuse in Denver by further investigation into profiling in low-income communities. In Pueblo, CPC is working to organize the community around the development of a citizens' oversight board after Puebloans grew concerned by increasingly tense police relations.
High Quality Health Care for All
Established in 2001 in response to our members struggling with health care access and affordability and the mounting health care crisis, CPC has led grassroots efforts to establish affordable prescription drugs for all and to stop health care disparities that exist for people of color, low-income people, immigrants, and non-English speakers in our state. An affordable prescription drugs Executive Order was issued in 2007 following six years of leadership from CPC and coalition partners on the issue. Nationally, our Health Justice Program is an anchor group for health care reform with our work on the Health Care for America Now campaign. In 2008, CPC completed a report which spotlights issues of language access in clinics and hospitals as well as captured best practices.
CPC has further been instrumental both the passage of federal health care reform, the expansion of Medicaid in Colorado and sat on an advisory board as the state health care exchange was formed. CPC has also been tapped to provide outreach to communities about the exchange in 2013-2014, and will lead civic engagement efforts in this promotion.
Civic Engagement, Community Organizing
Recognized nationally as one of the leaders in connecting community organizing issues to civic engagement participation, CPC has been a lead organization on several remarkable victories in Colorado through our get out the vote efforts in the communities that are often overlooked by mainstream political campaigns.
In 2006, CPC was one of the lead groups working to increase the state's minimum wage.
In 2008, CPC led a coalition of individuals and community based organizations in defeating a deceptively worded anti-equal opportunity measure. Our coalition made history and turned around a 50 point deficit in the polls to become the first state to ever defeat this deceitful measure!
In 2009, CPC provided key outreach that aided in the defeat of crippling anti-tax measures that would have crushed Colorado's families and economy.
In 2012, CPC drove thousands of individuals to the polls concerned over issues of fair taxation, homeowners's rights, immigration, Wall Street Power and other pressing issues.
Since 2005 CPC has established itself as a force in advancing responsible public investment for the common good. In 2005, CPC was recognized by the influential Center for American Progress for its key, grassroots role in scaling back the devastating TABOR (public investment limitation) law through a door-to-door campaign to 52,000 infrequent voters about how TABOR hurts real Coloradans.
In 2006, CPC was the lead community group pushing the successful minimum wage increase (benefiting 138,000 low-wage Coloradans.)
In 2008, CPC led the campaign against Ward Connerly's anti-affirmative action initiative, and in doing so became the first state in the nation to defeat such an effort. Our work helped to stop the planned nationwide expansion of Connerly's proposals.
In 2009, CPC passed legislation that curtailed the pay-day lending industry by restructing the law to end the cycle of poverty they have created in our communities. Then in 2010, when the industry tried to turn the page back, we successfully defeated them again in the legislature.
Most recently, we aided in passing an earned income tax credit for Colorado residents (a bill championed by former CPC economic justice director, , worked to bring. And we worked with other groups, such as Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, to see the state passage of in state tuition for undocumented immigrant students, a drivers license for all legislation. We also added our voices to the call and final passage of Civil Unions in Colorado.
Statewide Base Building
CPC believes that Colorado's progressive movement must be statewide, and that movement building doesn't only happen in Denver, Boulder, and other more progressive regions. Since the 2004 election, CPC has had a strong Southern Colorado presence and established a permanent office in 2005 in Pueblo. Since then, In 2006, Pueblo piloted a leadership academy which trained 15 new grassroots leaders who are now taking on various community improvement projects. In 2007, we celebrated a major victory in Pueblo when we and community members shut down local polluter L.B. Foster. In 2011, CPC member and staff in Pueblo wrote pushed forward a city ordinance in Pueblo that allowed same-sex partners of city workers to receive benefits. We
Our Northern Colorado office was established in 2007 following the massive immigration raid at the Swift plant in Greeley. Since then, CPC has continued working as an ally group against the anti-immigrant sentiment. In 2008, CPC gained national attention when we protested voter suppression happening on Election Day to Spanish speaking voters in Greeley. This year, we will continue our local organizing efforts around police accountability and ending racial profiling, and begin intentional leadership development reflective of the Northern Colorado community's needs.
Ending Big Money Power in Colorado Politics
CPC works to stop big money influence over Colorado politics through research spotlighting the power of developers, the health care industry, and other wealthy and powerful interests. Our work - with partner organizations like Common Cause - includes the first report on the campaign contributions given by big developers to our governor and state legislators; a six year study of contributions to the governor and state legislators by HMOs, tobacco companies, and the insurance industry; and an analysis of big money contributions in the 2003 Denver mayoral race. We are researching ways to take this to issues to our state's ballot in the future.
As of January 2015;
- Lisa M. Martinez
- Zach Werkowitch
- Zawdie Ekundayo
- Ken Stern
- Neha Mahajan - Treasurer
- Elena Nunez - Board Chair
- Rita Martínez - Board Secretary
- Yessenia Beascochea
- Jim Walsh
As of January 2015;
- Mike Roque - Executive Director
- Hillary Jorgensen - Political Director
- Stephanie Tierney - Operations Manager
- Caroline Casteel - Lead Organizer
As of January, 2015;
- 9to5, National Association of Working Women
- African-American Voter Registration and Information Project
- American Friends Service Committee of Colorado
- Boulder County AIDS Project
- Center for Progressive Leadership
- Citizens' Project
- Colorado Anti-Violence Program
- Colorado Common Cause
- Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition
- Colorado CURE
- Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR)
- Colorado Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Parenting, and Prevention
- Democracia, USA
- The Denver Drop-in Center
- El Centro Humanitario
- FRESC: For good jobs, strong communities
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Center of Colorado
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Services, Colorado State University
- Interfaith Alliance
- Jobs with Justice
- Latina Initiative
- Lambda Community Center
- League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Pueblo
- New Era Colorado
- Padres Y Jovenes Unidos
- Progress Now
- Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center
- Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence
- Sensible Colorado
- The Coalition for a Better Education
- United States Student Association
- Western Colorado Congress
- CPC, History
- Colorado Progressive Coalition board members, accessed Jan. 7, 2014
- http://progressivecoalition.org/staff-list, Colorado Progressive Coalition staff members, accessed Jan. 7, 2014]
- Colorado Progressive Coalition, Organizational members