I had an amazing opportunity to attend the annual ACLU of Colorado awards event to present the Ralph Carr Award to our own Kevin Williams. His accomplishments received a standing ovation in a room full ofColorado’s best civil rights lawyers. In the room were our own friends Amy Robertson, Tim Fox, Mike Breeskin, Robin Stephens, Carrie Lucas, Andrew Montoya, Jerry Frangas, Dale Gaar and Mark Simon. Senator Steadman who will receive an award from CCDC next month was there to present to outgoing Representative Claire Levi. Another lawyer Kevin Paul was also recognized.
Other notables there were congressional candidate Andrew Romanoff, Colorado Legal Services Executive Director Jon Asher, Elisabeth Arenales, and many more. CCDC wants to thank the people that nominated Kevin for this well deserved award. In accepting the award Kevin said that doing civil rights work does not always make one popular but that it is work that must be done. Since being notified of this award Kevin repeatedly said that the award is for the great team at the Legal Program-that currently includes Andrew Montoya and Jon Eric Stuebner.
This is what I said when presenting this well deserved award.
I am honored to present Kevin Williams the Ralph Carr Award recognizing an individual devotion to contemporary civil rights issues. Kevin has led the Legal Program of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition from an idea to a powerful legal force in Colorado and around the country. He started the day after he took his oath as an attorney and has not stopped. The landscape of Denver is forever altered due to his work. Because of Kevin and his team people with disabilities have access to public transportation, can attend concerts at Fiddlers or Red Rocks, can shop in malls, see baseball at Coors Field, basketball at the Pepsi center, and the Opera at Ellie Caulkins. Government agencies, housing authorities, law enforcement, medical and human services have been forced to follow civil rights laws that require reasonable modifications to policies, practices and procedures. A right without a remedy is useless. Kevin and his team have given people with disabilities in Colorado a remedy.
Several people that nominated Kevin mentioned that like Ralph Carr, Kevin focuses on what is right, not what is popular. As all of you in this room know, some wrongs cannot be ignored. Kevin will not ignore situations where Deaf inmates go days, weeks or months without the ability to communicate, nor will he ignore companies that believe it is OK to exclude any segment of our community. Kevin pushes the government to follow their own rules, especially due process.
While civil rights programs often focus on causes, and those causes are all justified, I would be remiss if I did not mention the clients we serve. The plaintiffs are the faces whose lives are impacted by our work—and whose basic civil rights do not exist without people like Kevin and all of you in this room.
On behalf of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, thousands of Coloradoans with disabilities, the ACLU and everyone who believes that justice must be for everyone and cannot be for sale I am honored to present the Ralph Carr Award to my colleague and friend Kevin Williams.
On behalf of CCDC we want to thank the ACLU for honoring Kevin’s great work but more importantly for including disability each time they talked about civil rights last night. Both their Executive Director and keynote speaker included disability rights when they discussed general civil rights issues that must be addressed. This is too rare and much appreciated. Kevin—congratulations—we are all very proud of you.
If you have feedback about the event that you’d like to share, please visit our event survey at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SJ6GFH7.
Thank you, once again, for being a part of our event. We are honored by your support for our mission and work. If you didn’t have a chance to give a gift at the event, you can still make a tax-deductible donationhere.
American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado
303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 350
Denver, CO 80203-1256