Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Group of staff members of the Colorado State Public Defenders Office at the National Association of Public Defenders Conference 2023.

We are all Defenders

As a system of over 1,000 defenders and staff, we embrace that we all bring different perspectives and lived experiences to the work we do. When we can appreciate our similarities and find strength in our differences, we are able to achieve success in advocating for the dignity of our clients.

We recognize that achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion requires dedication from our leadership and the commitment of all of us to the continual process. We all play a vital role in the success of our mission and service to our clients. To this end, we will continue to engage and evolve by:

  • Honoring and embracing our differences,
  • Treating each other with respect and empathy regardless of status or position,
  • Remaining open to new ideas and finding creative solutions,
  • Increasing cultural/racial awareness and promoting a safe and sustainable work environment.

We are all Defenders.

Wooden blocks with words on them - Diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging

Diversity Training

OSPD engages in ongoing efforts in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion.  This includes:

  • DEI training for leadership staff
  • DEI training for all employees in regional offices
  • DEI training designed to enhance client-centered representation

Staff participate in the National Association of Public Defense (NAPD) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) meetups, whose mission is to support and seed meaningful and sustainable DEIJ organizational change within NAPD and the offices of its vast membership.

Affinity Groups

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color)

The goals and objectives of the BIPOC group are to promote positive growth in the organization related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

BIPOC affinity group defenders support one another by providing a safe and comfortable space to share emotions, resources, experiences and unique perspectives. Members use a platform to share opinions with non-BIPOC defenders and to influence members of management. Each works to create an inclusive culture that promotes trust and better client relationships. The group works as a coalition to lobby for change and learn from one another about diverse racial-ethnic identities. OSPD clients rely on their team’s ability to relate with, and therefore advocate for them. Clients will understand they are valued when they can see that the OSPD system values its own diversity.


Heart shaped art piece formed with paper cutouts of human arms and hands meant to represent diversity.


The LGBTQ+ Affinity Group provides a safe, confidential space for​ OSPD employees to meet and connect over shared identities, and to advocate with OSPD leadership to ensure a safe and inclusive workplace for all employees to show up authentically and provide the highest level of legal defense.

The group meets regularly and welcomes new members.


A person waving a rainbow flag above their head.

Working Caregivers

Being a defender is hard and all defenders have relationships in their personal lives that make them unique while also challenge them to figure out how to balance the important work of defending clients and being present for those in their lives outside of work. The relationship between caregivers and their children is a relationship that our agency cherishes. This burgeoning affinity group provides a space for defender caregivers to share challenges, advice, and solidarity in the effort to be successful in both important roles and celebrate the goal of raising socially minded and kind future adults.


Father daughter walking to daughter's school.