Juston CooperDeputy Director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC) Denver, CO Award Year: 2020
As someone who was directly impacted by the criminal legal system, Juston Cooper, the Deputy Director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC), believes it is essential to understand the systemic issues and barriers that oppress communities in order to promote true public health and safety. Juston recently spearheaded CCJRC’s Voting with Conviction Campaign, the only civic engagement campaign in Colorado that focuses exclusively on people with criminal backgrounds. He has been a key advocate for the Confined Voting Program’s partnership between CCJRC, Denver Sheriff’s Department, Denver Elections Division and Denver League of Women Voters, which is working to ensure that all eligible voters confined to the Denver County Jail or the pre-trial facility have access to register and vote. Denver’s program is intended as a blueprint for other jurisdictions in the state. He also led the Building Power of Leadership of Color initiative, a partnership between the Colorado Civic Engagement Roundtable and the Colorado America Votes Roundtable) to advance Black leadership in civic engagement strategies that increase Black voter registration and turnout.
Juston used his award to launch a new initiative, Formerly Incarcerated and Directly Impacted Individuals, which advances BIPOC leadership to address youth violence in the Denver metro area as well as building workforce development opportunities for people reentering the community after incarceration.
Juston also used his award to support in-person voting in the 2020 presidential election for eligible CO voters confined in Denver jails. He registered voters, distributed ballots and worked for a safe and fair process.
- Juston recently spoke with Channel 9 News about the alarming arrest rate for Blacks in Colorado, which is nearly three times higher than that of other racial groups.