The Fight for Equal Justice for All

The Fight for Equal Justice for All

As the state’s top law enforcement officer, the Colorado Attorney General is sworn to uphold the United States and Colorado Constitutions. As your next Attorney General, it will be my job to advance the principles of justice, freedom, equality, and fairness for all. I take this commitment very seriously.

Our nation’s vision of equal opportunities for all is a core part of my life’s work. To translate that vision into reality, our country needs dedicated leadership committed to equality for all Americans. Across the nation, State Attorneys General have stood up for equal rights when our freedoms are under assault.  As your next Attorney General, I will defend the rights of Coloradans and stand up for civil rights against federal overreach.

When one of us is subject to illegal discrimination, we are all at risk. This commitment is why we must challenge the Trump Administration’s travel ban as well as its ban on transgender individuals serving in the military — both of which violate our nation’s commitment to equal justice under law.  In both cases, our current Colorado Attorney General failed to challenge the Trump Administration’s actions.

As our next Attorney General, I will prioritize the battle for equal rights for all—regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. In particular, I will:

  • STAND UP against failures at the national level to provide equal justice for all.
  • CONFRONT hate crimes.
  • FIGHT to ensure that all individuals are treated equally in the workplace.
  • LEAD by example in supporting people of all races, ethnicities, identities, and religions in the workplace; and
  • PARTNER with the legal and business community to drive best practices around diversity and inclusion.

Fighting for Equality in the Workplace

Under my leadership, the Colorado Attorney General’s office will work to ensure that everyone is treated equally in the workplace. We will enforce the laws requiring equal opportunity for all in the workplace, and we will lead the community by example.

To work with me on the core goal of advancing equality, I will create a new executive leadership position on Community Engagement, Workplace Culture, and Diversity:  the AG Office Leader on Inclusive Excellence.  This position, which will report directly to me, will oversee efforts to ensure diversity and inclusiveness in our office. The AG Office Leader on Inclusive Excellence will also use the power and visibility of the AG’s office to convene leaders in our legal and business communities, thus helping to lead our community in identifying and implementing best practices for equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusiveness in all workplaces.  Moreover, I will not only work hard to recruit, hire, and promote diverse individuals at the Attorney Generals’ office, I will work to address the pipeline problem (of too few diverse attorneys) by partnering with organizations like Si Se Puede (Yes We Can)—an organization I worked with while Dean at CU Law School—to mentor college students from diverse backgrounds to encourage and support them in attending law school.

In short, the Attorney General’s office will effectively enforce the laws protecting all individuals in the workplace. I will also make sure that it leads by example and through the use of its moral authority.

Standing Up Against Hate

We in Colorado value the ethos of our nation’s motto:  E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one). In Colorado, we pull for one another to thrive and believe we all deserve a fair chance to succeed in life.  In one of our proudest moments, Colorado Governor Ralph Carr opposed the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II.

But unfortunately, hate crimes remain all too prevalent in the United States in general, and in Colorado in particular. In the last year, reported hate crimes in Colorado targeted African-Americans, transgender individuals, and Muslims, among others.  These hate crimes took place at homes, on the job, and at places of worship.

We must all call out evil when it emerges. To prevent and address hate crimes, we need leaders who are willing to take an active role. When leaders step forward and act swiftly in the wake of a hate crime, victims feel supported, community members feel safer, and action and dialogue can follow.  By contrast, leaders’ silence on these issues leaves victims feeling ignored and vulnerable, and may further encourage perpetrators.

To win the battle for equality, we must fight white supremacy and other forces for hate in our society.  As our next Attorney General, I will do just that.

I will fight to prevent hate crimes by working with the Colorado legislature to strengthen our hate crimes laws, by working with law enforcement to ensure and improve training on effective hate crimes investigations, and by supporting a broader public education campaign about the importance of standing up to hate.

As Attorney General, I will work with the state legislature to ensure that we have hate crime legislation allowing the Attorney General to pursue a broad spectrum of civil remedies, as is available in other states. Such legislation helps victims receive faster relief, as well as relief in cases where they are unable to secure private counsel themselves. Enabling the Attorney General to seek civil remedies also helps bring increased public attention and understanding to hate crimes issues through the state’s involvement.

My office will also work closely with law enforcement to ensure they have proper training to enable them to investigate possible hate crimes effectively, thoroughly, and with sensitivity towards victims.  The Attorney General’s office houses the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) program that trains Colorado law enforcement officials. This program can play an important role in helping law enforcement officers to ask the right questions and to be sensitive to the issues facing hate crime victims.  Under my leadership, it will also play an important role in training law enforcement officials to be aware of their own biases (particularly unconscious ones) and not unnecessarily escalate situations.

Fighting for Equal Justice for All

As Colorado’s top lawyer, I will fight hard for equal justice under law (meaning everyone is treated equally and fairly) and against governmental abuses of power.  Our nation’s commitment to equal protection for all, while adopted in our Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, remains a work in progress. As Martin Luther King Jr. famously noted: “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”  As our next Attorney General, I will work hard to ensure equal treatment in the workplace, address hate crimes, and stand up for equality.  Please join my campaign to ensure that I can help lead this effort.

Words from a Few Team Phil Members on His Commitment to Equal Opportunity

Maxine Burkett, former University of Colorado Law Professor mentored by Phil

“When Phil helped recruit me to Colorado Law and served as a mentor, he made the law school and law teaching a more welcoming opportunity.  That spirit of engagement and support is something Phil has offered me–and many others–throughout my career.  At this challenging time for our nation, we need leaders like Phil, who truly cares about treating people fairly, supporting everyone, and finding innovative solutions to important issues.  Colorado will be well served by having Phil as its next Attorney General.”

Franz Hardy, former Chair of the Law Alumni Board and Partner at Gordon & Rees

“Colorado needs Phil Weiser as its next Attorney General. When Phil was the Dean at Colorado Law School, I worked with him to set up our first ever alumni diversity committee, focused on recruiting more diverse students, helping those students find employment opportunities, and recruiting more diverse faculty.  Phil took that work personally, going to bat for our diverse students and earning recognition from the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, among other groups.  What comes through in Phil’s work is that he truly cared about every student and worked tirelessly to ensure that they had a good experience.  I know that he will be similarly effective as our next Attorney General.”

Glen “G” Matthews, former law student and attorney at Martinez Law Group

Lisa Neal Graves, Denver attorney, former law student, business executive, and Team Phil’s original Field Director

Read Phil’s Op-Ed in the Denver Weekly News

January 11, 2018, 2017 #922 (Page 08)

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