It is always sad to lose allies and friends of civil rights and civil liberties, but Colorado experienced a particularly great loss recently with the death of the Rev. Tammy Garrett-Williams. A fierce champion for the rights of people caught in the criminal justice system, her Above Waters Project has been deeply rooted in the lives of people directly impacted by mass incarceration and the criminal legal system. Her activism was widely visible across the community, from the NAACP to the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, and just about every local rally for justice imaginable in recent years.
Rev. Garrett-Williams was an example of what one dedicated person can do, and her work and its impact will be felt for years to come. She was a strong leader and ally in criminal justice reform, and the legislation that has passed or is moving through the legislature now on bail reform, police accountability, transparency, jail data and more, is a fitting though far from complete tribute to her life.
While there is still a long journey ahead to dismantle our systems of mass incarceration and the harms to people that result, Rev. Tammy Garrett-Williams helped move us forward on that journey and closer toward a more just and fair system for all. The ACLU of Colorado mourns her loss deeply.