Wake-Up Call: Civil Rights on the road

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The Colorado Civil Rights Commission took its show on the road last night, hosting an evening forum at the Blair-Caldwell Library. And if the conversation didn't seem to go exactly where Colorado Civil Rights Division director Steve Chavez wanted it to go -- after an active initial discussion of racial profiling, playing off the current Gatesgate, no one in this largely African-American group wanted to talk about whether women, particularly pregnant woman, were suffering increased discrimination, for example, and a foray into LBGT issues got shut down, too -- there was no shortage of talk. Serious talk about serious discrimination affecting their community.

"Let them be serious about their work," one woman said of the division's 24 employees. "Not just another white lady taking down my info."

"We need a resource, we need an advocate," said longtime activist Larry Borom.

"You all wasted our time," said longtime -- and loudest -- activist Alvertis Simmons, who chastised the commission for coming to Five Points once in a decade.

"This was not a waste of your time," countered Rico Munn, head of the Division of Regulatory Agencies.

Talk about a waste of time: While I listened to the heart-wrenching descriptions of bank-loans denied because of race, teenagers stopped because of race, I thought about the endless complaints filed with the commission by Steve Horner, the anti-ladies' night crusader who has as many outstanding cases with the Civil Rights Division as that understaffed agency has employees. Cases all alleging that some ladies' night special discriminated against Horner because he could not take advantage of the same deal -- not that he's here in Colorado to even ask for it.

That's because Horner, who's so diligent about demanding that Colorado protect his rights, currently lives in Minnesota. Fair warning, though: He's on his way back to Colorado.

I can only hope that he attends a second Civil Rights forum set for the Berkeley Recreation Center. I'd love to see what the crowd has to say about his complaints.

That forum starts with a reception (with snacks) at 5 p.m., the discussion's at 5:30. For more information, call 303-894-2997.


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