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DPS Remembers Dr. Gregory Diggs

Mar. 2, 2018
Dr. Gregory Diggs
Photo credit: V.Lee Photographs and Rename Stapleton for All

On Feb. 24, DPS and the Denver community unexpectedly lost a team member, leader, activist and friend, Dr. Gregory Diggs.

With a background in mental health, education, and research and evaluation methods, Greg contributed his expertise to DPS for many years. Throughout his life, Greg maintained a strong commitment to diversity, equity and social justice. Improving the lives and treatment of historically marginalized populations served as his unwavering focus; whether he was working in a school district, local community or the criminal justice system. Although Greg was no stranger to resistance, his ability to always speak the hard truth and advocate for others made him a respected activist.

“I will remember Dr. Diggs for his ability to thoughtfully challenge and dismantle systems of injustice, despite the inequities he personally experienced. Once again, I award him the ‘Grace Under Fire’ award,” said colleague Leslie L. Juniel.

Greg’s impact spanned across the United States, from his hometown of Silver Spring, MD, to Tennessee State University and the government offices of Nashville, to the state of Colorado where he worked with communities throughout Denver and Boulder.

“I remember the first time I met Greg,” colleague Joel Reagan said. “I was teaching at JFK and he was coming out to facilitate the showing of ‘I am not a Racist, Am I?’ I was amazed by the documentary and sat back to listen to others’ thoughts. Since Greg now knew my name, he asked my thoughts. Greg was not buying my attempts to stay with my ‘nice’ answers. He pushed me to think deeper and be ok with sharing what I was truly feeling.”

“Never shall I forget the abundance of joy, brilliant thought and commentary that Greg brought to simply light a space with his infectious laugh and smile,” said colleague Sylvia Bookhardt. “Thank you for your torch of love and light!”

Although he is no longer with us, Greg’s message stays strong. We must create equitable systems for our students, families and communities ­­– there is no alternative. Now, it is up to us to carry this message and continue the work that Greg dedicated his life to.

As colleague Kim Price reflected, “Greg approached everything he did with kindness and curiosity. He always left me thinking that I have so much more to learn. May we all hear his utterances of affirmation and words advocating for racial justice ringing on forever in his memory.”

Read more about Greg and his advocacy work, including the Rename Stapleton For All movement, in this Denverite article.

Greg is survived by two children, two brothers and his ex-wife.