Ashlee Lewis is the Executive Director of The Initiative, a 32-year organization formally known as Domestic Violence Initiative for Women with Disabilities (DVI) that now has become inclusive of serving all genders with disabilities and honoring all forms of abuse that is committed to this vulnerable community. The abusers measure their prey’s vulnerabilities and target them with all forms of abuse, and the link between crime victims and disability is staggering. A person is not vulnerable because of their disability as much as the systemic and cultural issues that create multiple layers of discrimination that makes this community an easy target and ultimately compromises the human rights issues of this community. The Initiative was created to spread awareness within our local community of abuse being committed to persons with disabilities, and to provide accessible services for those who have been abused.
Ashlee started out as a part-time Victim Advocate/Statistician at The Initiative and over the 6 years, she has taken over the responsibilities of grant management, volunteer coordination, financial management, community awareness presentations, and training. Ashlee focused her research and studies on Sociology with a special emphasis on ethnic studies; with always one question in mind: “Why do people suffer?” to learn that the suffering of different groups of people is the result of this oppressive culture and system that we all exist in. The only way to prevent the suffering of groups of people is to create a cultural shift through awareness educations everywhere.
Ashlee is a longtime activist of international issue of gender-based violence and other human rights issues, and she has found her home with the Initiative and sees a vision of doing international work to protect and prevent abuse done onto persons with disabilities, and to ultimately reach a goal to help our culture to evolve to a place where everyone is safe.
Ashlee was born in South Korea and was adopted to a wonderful American couple in Boulder, Colorado at age 11 with her two biological younger brothers. Ashlee lost her birth mom at 8 and her birth father not long after. Ashlee lived in orphanages and with different families for 3 years before her adoption to America, and it wasn’t long before love and stability helped her to heal the traumatic past and understood that being adopted to America afforded her many opportunities that she would not have had as an orphan or woman, or to be poor in Korea.
As the Executive Director, she provides strategic leadership and vision to The Initiative and ensures achievement of its goals for program development, financial stability, and community engagement. Ashlee has over 25 years of extensive experience in community service, including mentoring, counseling, teaching, coordinating, group support meetings and creating programs. She has fourteen years of professional experience in presenting and training large communities within the hospitality, customer service, and sales industries.