The Coalition for Compassion and Action honored as the 2017 recipient of the Civil Rights in Action Award from the ACLU of Colorado
On Wednesday, May 24th 2017, at the ACLU of Colorado’s annual meeting at the History Colorado Center in Denver, The Coalition for Compassion and Action was honored to be the recipient of the 2017 Civil Rights in Action Award:
The Coalition for Compassion and Action, a grassroots activist organization focused on protecting the rights of people who are poor and vulnerable and opposing criminalization of homelessness in Colorado Springs, was awarded the 2017 Civil Rights in Action Award.
Since its founding in 2016, the Coalition for Compassion and Action has mobilized hundreds of volunteers, connected individuals and families with services, and had a significant impact on policy debates at the Colorado Springs City Council.
The Coalition for Compassion and Action (CCA) was founded in Feburary of 2016 by Alan Pitts and Trig Bundgaard in response to the passing of the Pedestrian Access Act, a overt attack on the rights of people with no means or homes to exist peacefully in public spaces in downtown Colorado Springs.
Since that time, the CCA has become a driving force in the movement to end homelessness in Colorado Springs and to restore the rights of the indigent, unhoused and impoverished in Colorado Springs.
- The CCA organized a mass sit-in protest that occurred the day the PAA sit/lie ban went into effect with over 300 people joining in civil disobedience in opposition to laws that criminalize being too poor to have a home. 4 protesters were purposefully cited for sitting in order to fight the ordinance in court.
- 4 members of the CCA fought the Pedestrian Access Act in a 6-month legal battle in an attempt to mount a successful legal defense for others being cited for peacefully sitting in the downtown area of Colorado Springs. Sadly, their efforts were defeated before a jury of their peers by the city’s attorneys gag orders against talking about the people being targeted by this ordinance or the state of the crisis in the city.
- The CCA stood in opposition against another law criminalizing impoverished people in the form of a ban targeting people panhandling on medians.
- We launched Blackbird Outreach, a 501(c)3 subsidiary of CCA’s, which is dedicated to street outreach to those hidden outside in our city. Under the leadership of Andi Van Gogh, Blackbird Outreach serves from camp to home by connecting people living outside with vital services and providing critical advocacy and support services at each stage towards having a home, again.
- The CCA helped organize and lobby for the 2017 Colorado Right to Rest Act, a bill designed to restore and protect the rights of those living outside. Along with 55 other supporters of the bill helped provide over 10 hours of testimony before the House Local Government Committee.
- The CCA has played a leadership role in the reformation of the local Coalition of Homelessness Advocates and Providers (CHAP 2.0) organization, which is the membership body of the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care (PPCoC) and comprised of public advocates, service providers, system administrators, business owners and other stakeholders in the Pikes Peak Region. Meetings are task-force oriented and always open to the public.
- The CCA’s Co-Founder Trig Bundgaard was nominated to the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care’s Governing Board (PPCoC) in May 2017. The PPCoC is the is the regional organization responsible for federally mandated oversight and administration of federal funding to all the local organizations who provide housing and services to those experiencing homelessness. The CCA now has a direct voice for policy-making at the highest level of governance and oversight regarding the crisis of homelessness in Colorado Springs. Neither the CCA nor Blackbird Outreach receives any HUD funding, so our mission on the board is free of any conflicts of interests.