Colorado 50-50 is proud to be partnering with The BIPOC Alliance to present, “Changing the Narrative in Local Politics.”
We aim to demystify the process for running for office and show how lived experience can open doors in politics. By harnessing the power of difference, we can change the narrative of local politics to one that is reflective of our democracy and more inclusive than ever.
The event will be a panel discussion followed by an intentional networking session.
Recognizing that Colorado ranks 21st on the 2020 Gender Parity Index due to its successes in some areas such as the second highest share of women elected officials in the state legislature and challenges in other areas such as local and federal representation, this event is designed to encourage more women in Colorado to run for elected office, to demystify the process of running and to provide resources for them as they consider running for elected office.
The first session from 4-5 PM features a youth panel to get girls and young women interested in running, including:
State Senator Faith Winter
Former DU Student Body Vice President Jess Davidson
Parker Town Council Candidate Jeeva Senthilnathan
The second session from 5-6 PM is a panel discussion aimed at the general population. Our panelists are:
Congresswoman Diana DeGette
State Representative Iman Jodeh
State Representative Stephanie Luck
Alamosa City Councilor Liz Hensley
The third session from 6-6:30 PM is a networking session where participants will have opportunities to speak in small breakout groups with elected women officials. We hope you will encourage women to attend who should take their next steps in leadership!
Thanks to the generosity of El Pomar, the event is free! Registration is required by Friday, April 23, at noon, so sign up now.
As an avid reader of the Denver Post and the Perspective section, I am regularly disappointed with the lack of women’s voices – and those of people of color – on your pages. Recently, I was shocked to count six guest columns that were not only all from men, but appeared to be all from white men.
Why does Jon Caldara get to take up so much space? Or Doug Friednash? Or Ian Silverii?
There’s nothing wrong with hearing from these – or any other – white males. I’m sure they’re fine people, and they can write. For the record, white males are some of my closest friends.
The problem is that the opinion pages should more accurately reflect the population of Colorado. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that almost half of Coloradans are female. Of all Coloradans, about 68 percent are white, 22 percent are Hispanic or Latino, just under 5 percent are black or African-American, 3.5 percent are Asian, and about 1.5 percent are Native American.
Knowing these figures, it is interesting to know some other facts. A Byline Survey by The OpEd Project in 2012 found that women were penning just 20 percent of opinions in traditional U.S. publications. That’s not anywhere close to 50-50.
Also concerning to people like me who are working to get more women elected is research from Who Leads Us showing that even though white men make up 30 percent of the population, they hold 64 percent of elected offices. While people of color (both men and women) make up 39 percent of the U.S. population, they hold only 10 percent of elected positions. For women of color specifically, the numbers are the worst – 20 percent of people and only 4 percent of seats.
Not only are women absent in seats of power, sometimes they are invisible in men’s commentary about politics. More than once I have read pieces that did not even mention that there were women candidates running in a given race. Women candidates have enough challenges without being casually erased from the opinion page.
These discrepancies have consequences – both in the world of ideas and in the world of policy. We are missing different life experiences, other ways of thinking about things, and valuable viewpoints. As a society, we make better policy decisions when there are diverse voices at the table. Many studies of government and business have shown this to be true.
The good news is women have opinions!
I was so concerned about the lack of women opinion writers that I decided to try to help. I spent some time rounding up a list of women with opinions. The women on this list are diverse in their race, their political party, their age, and their geography.
These women are ready to write columns for you:
Suzi Q. Smith
This is a brief list. I’m sure that there are many more women who would be willing to lend their voices to the conversations happening in your paper.
Expanding the number of diverse women thought leaders is especially urgent as we approach not only the next legislative session, but also a very consequential presidential election and U.S. Senate election. I urge you to add more women writers to your rotation of columnists.
Colorado 50-50 presents a Friday, Oct. 4 event that will help demystify the process of running for office. Event organizers hope the panel discussion followed by networking will encourage more women to become candidates. The event – called Winning With Women – is being put on by Colorado 50-50, a nonpartisan group of concerned citizens that wants to promote gender parity in public life.
“When women run for office, they win just as often as men win,” said Colorado 50-50 Founder Erin Hottenstein. “So why aren’t more women in office? Because they don’t run.”
“Once women are in office, they’re good for the system,” she continued. “They seek more citizen input. They tend to facilitate and encourage cooperation.”
Joining the panel discussion will be Democratic Congresswoman Diana DeGette, former Republican State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, and Democratic State Representative Leslie Herod. DeGette was elected to Congress in 1996, continues to serve, and is running again in 2020. She is one of only four women in Colorado history to have served in Congress. Coffman was elected in 2014 and served four years, during which time she ran for governor. She is only one of two women in Colorado history to have served as Attorney General. Herod was elected to the state house in 2016, where she continues to serve. She was the first LGBTQ African-American to be elected to the state legislature.
After speaking at a Winning With Women training, former Fort Collins Mayor Susan Kirkpatrick shared, “When women are elected to public office, they get things done. Research suggests that women perceive and use power differently than men do. There are benefits to communities when women participate in public policy making.”
The panel discussion will be followed by a networking session, which organizers hope will foster new connections among women who are curious about running and people who want to support women running for office.
Winning With Women takes place on Friday, Oct. 4, 6-9 p.m., at Lindsay Auditorium in Sturm Hall, University of Denver, 2000 E. Asbury, Denver, CO, 80208. Tickets are free for students with student ID, $15 regular admission, or higher amounts to cover students and support Colorado 50-50. Tickets can be purchased through EventBrite. Light refreshments will be served.
Childcare will be available for a small fee, provided that an RSVP is received by Oct.1. Scholarships are available. Please contact Erin Hottenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paid parking is widely available at the DU campus. Lots 317 and 321 are closest to Sturm Hall; please see the campus parking map for more information. Guests can pay for parking in the visitor lots from their smart phones with the Park Mobile App. DU also has its own Light Rail stop located on the E-F-H lines.
We are showing Councilwoman at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center! It is an inspiring new documentary about a Dominican-American hotel housekeeper who runs for city council in Providence, Rhode Island. The film will be followed with a panel and audience discussion about civic engagement and getting more women in leadership.
Do you know a woman who should take her next steps in leadership? Bring her with you!
Sunday, September 22, 3 pm $5 general admission, $3 students/seniors, free for museum members. Tickets here.
(Seguido en Español – Sinopsis de la película)
Film synopsis: Politicians aren’t often full-time hotel housekeepers, grandmothers, union members and immigrants working service jobs. But Carmen Castillo changes that when she wins a seat on the City Council in Providence, Rhode Island. Carmen Castillo is a Dominican City Councilwoman who maintains her job cleaning hotel rooms, as she takes on her new role in politics. She faces skeptics who say she doesn’t have the education to govern, the power of corporate interests who take a stand against her fight for a $15/hourly wage in the City, and a tough re-election against two contenders—all of this while balancing the challenges of managing a full-time job cleaning hotel rooms, and a personal relationship. It’s a journey behind the scenes of politics after the victory.
Total Running Time: 56:53 – Spanish/English with English subtitles
Sinopsis de la película: los políticos no suelen ser camareras de hotel, abuelas, miembros del sindicato e inmigrantes que trabajan a tiempo completo en el sector del trabajo. Pero Carmen Castillo cambia eso cuando gana un asiento en el Concejo Municipal en Providence, Rhode Island. Carmen Castillo es una concejala Dominicana que mantiene su trabajo de limpieza de habitaciones de hotel, mientras asume su nuevo papel en la política. Se enfrenta a escépticos que dicen que no tiene la educación para gobernar, el poder de los intereses corporativos que se oponen a su lucha por un salario de $15 por hora en la ciudad y una reelección difícil contra dos contendientes: todo esto a la vez que se equilibran los desafíos de administrar un trabajo a tiempo completo limpiando habitaciones de hotel y una relación personal. Es un viaje tras bambalinas de la política después de la victoria.
Tiempo total del documental: 56:53 – en español / inglés con subtítulos en inglés
Colorado 50-50 was thrilled that 50 women attended the #RunAsYouAre2019 training in Denver on May 18, 2019. We partnered again with Vote Run Lead – and this year we were one of 20 locations offering the training on the same day.
It was a powerful full-day campaign training. The women learned that they are qualified to run for office and explored how their life experiences will make them effective elected officials. They learned how to kickstart their campaigns with concrete actions that will make them successful on the campaign trail. They also had time to connect and network with other Colorado women who were on the same path.
“I appreciated that the event brought together women from both sides of the political world with a common goal to inspire and empower more women to run,” said participant Tara Eveland. “It isn’t often in today’s political climate that we come together to support and uplift one another.”
Another participant, Princess Mack, said she welcomed “the space to run for a political position being authentically yourself.”
We want to express our appreciation to those who generously donated to make #RunAsYouAre2019 possible. The donors who supported the training, including scholarships and stipends, are the Soeurs de Coeur Fund and the Geri Brown Memorial Fund, both of which are donor-advised funds held at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado.
Colorado 50-50 is partnering again with Vote Run Lead to bring the Run As You Are training to Colorado. The full-day campaign training for women will be held on Saturday, May 18, at the WeWork location in downtown Denver.
This year’s training is especially exciting because it is part of Vote Run Lead’s National Day of Training being held in 18 cities around the country. As the United States’s largest and most diverse national women’s training organization, Vote Run Lead is uniquely positioned to train women to run as they are.
Joining the Denver team are State Senator Faith Winter, State Representative Dominique Jackson and Community Organizer Erin Hottenstein.
Are you wondering if you should attend? Yes – if you have ever been curious about running for office. Yes – if you know you are going to run in 2019, 2020, or the next five years. Yes – if you are volunteering for a woman candidate and you want to know more about campaigns. Yes – if you would like to learn campaign nuts and bolts and then find a woman candidate to help.
#RunAsYouAre2019 will not only be inspiring and uplifting, but chock-full of practical information and steps you can take to run a successful campaign. You will also spend the day with a room full of incredible and dynamic women.
About 75 people attended the April 30 Colorado premiere of Councilwoman, a new documentary about a Dominican-American hotel housekeeper who runs for office in Providence, Rhode Island. After watching the film, the audience participated in both small- and large-group discussions.
Learn more about our May 18 Run As You Are training! We’ll be holding a casual information session in Colorado Springs on Friday, April 26. We’ll be gathering at 12 PM at the Wild Goose Meeting House, 401 N Tejon St. Come a few minutes early if you want to grab yourself some lunch.
Colorado 50-50 and VoteRunLead are partnering to bring Run As You Are to Denver. It is a daylong workshop for women who want to run for office and support other women who want to run. VoteRunLead’s signature “How to Run for Office” trainings will be in 18+ cities across the country, led by VoteRunLead’s national certified trainers.
Join us to learn more about the training. Feel free to bring anyone you think may be interested in such a great opportunity! We hope to see you there!