Our Team

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Stephen Dane, Board Chair

Stephen Dane, Board Chair

Steve is a civil rights leader in the fair housing, mortgage lending and insurance discrimination world. He has litigated a number of significant lending and insurance discrimination cases. Steve was lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the class-action litigation Toledo Fair Housing Center v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. ($5.35 million settlement) and was co-counsel for the plaintiffs in HOME of Richmond v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. ($100.5 million jury verdict). Steve has testified before both houses of Congress on mortgage lending discrimination issues, and is the author of many articles in the field, including Eliminating the Labyrinth: A Proposal to Simplify Federal Mortgage Lending Discrimination Laws, 26 U. Mich. J. L. Ref. 527 (1993); Disparate Impact Analysis in the Mortgage Lending Context, 115 Banking L.J. 900(1998); Application of the Federal Fair Housing Act to Homeowners Insurance, Chapter Two of Insurance Redlining (G. Squires, ed., 1997); and The Exposure of Securitization Trustees to Liability Under the Federal Fair Housing Act for Poorly Maintained Real Estate Owned Properties, Banking L. J. (Feb. 2014).

Steve has also litigated several accessible design and construction cases, such as National Fair Housing Alliance, Inc. v. A.G. Spanos Companies, 542 F. Supp. 2d 1054 (N.D.Cal. 2008), involving 82 multi-family projects constructed around the country since 1991, settlement valued at $15 million; and claims involving local and state governments’ failures to “affirmatively further fair housing” as a condition of their receipt of federal funding. See United States of America ex rel. Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York, Inc. v. Westchester County, New York, 495 F.Supp.2d 375 (S.D.N.Y. 2007); 668 F.Supp.2d 548 (S.D.N.Y. 2009).  Steve was also co-lead counsel in a successful fair housing challenge to Alabama’s immigration reform legislation, Central Alabama Fair Housing Center v. Magee, 835 F. Supp. 2d 1165 (M.D. Ala. 2011).

Steve is currently the owner of Dane Law, LLC, a firm dedicated to representing fair housing agencies, non-profits, legal aid organizations, and their clients. He is an honors graduate of The University of Notre Dame (B.S., Mathematics, 1978), and received his law degree from The University of Toledo College of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 1981). He is a former law clerk to the Honorable Pierce Lively of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1998 Mr. Dane was selected as one of eight Lawyers of the Year by Ohio Lawyers Weekly, and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the field of Civil Rights.

Steve is also editor of the Civil Rights Insider, the quarterly eNewsletter of the Federal Bar Association’s Civil Rights Law Section. In 2000, he received the Public Interest Award from a consortium of legal services organizations, including Advocates for Basic Equality and the Equal Justice Foundation. For 17 years Steve has served as Acting Judge of the Perrysburg, Ohio Municipal Court, and is a former Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the Diocese of Toledo. Steve also served as President of the Toledo Bar Association in 2010-2011.

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Garfield Grant, Treasurer

Garfield Grant, Treasurer

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Garfield Grant (he/him) serves as the Vice President of Finance and Administration for La Casa de Don Pedro’s in New Jersey. Garfield transitioned from the financial sector to non-profits because of their mission – to help others. He has a deep commitment to public service and working with community-based organizations. He has an extensive career as a non-profit executive leader with experience in finance, operations, information technology, facilities management, human resources, and administration, in addition to an extensive career in public accounting.

Most recently, Garfield served as Chief Financial Officer at non-profit organization in Morristown, NJ overseeing all financial, IT, payroll, and facilities management. Before relocating to New Jersey, Garfield served for 15 years in various progressive executive leadership roles at another non-profit organization. His roles included Interim CEO, COO, and Vice President of Finance and Administration. Garfield was an integral part of the executive leadership team responsible for forging numerous collaborations and management agreements with other non-profit organizations.

Garfield started his career in public accounting working for a large regional accounting firm as an auditor and tax accountant. He spent two and half years in that capacity before moving on to a smaller regional firm as a senior accountant involved in audits, reviews, tax preparation and financial and tax planning.

He is the recipient of the Six Sigma Green Belt (SSGB) certification program through Eastman Kodak Company (KODAK). He has served in the capacity as treasurer and board member of various organizations in Upstate New York.

Garfield holds a B.S. in Accounting & Finance from Rochester Institute of Technology. He holds an MBA in Finance from Medaille College.

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Keshia Allen Horner, Secretary

Keshia Allen Horner, Secretary

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Keshia Allen Horner (she/her) is the founder of Mariposa Analytics, a company dedicated to helping organizations maximize their impact through insight, action, and evolution. Her passion for improving organizational performance stems from her upbringing, where her parents — both teachers — instilled in her the belief that knowledge is a gift to be shared in service of others.

Keshia’s desire to serve and make a meaningful impact led her to launch Mariposa Analytics. She rejects the notion that organizations seeking consulting services are broken. Instead, like most living things, organizations undergo growth and change, and the natural process of this growth calls for transformation to adapt to a new way of being. Keshia and her team at Mariposa Analytics believe in this process of evolution and transformation, working closely with each client to identify areas where transformation is needed. They develop personalized strategies to help each organization reach its full potential.

Keshia’s journey started as a government auditor, where she spent almost 14 years at both the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the City and County of Denver Auditor’s Office. She then spent over three years as the deputy director of a nonprofit organization. She holds a Master of Public Administration, as well as Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Public and Urban Affairs from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

With her experience and expertise, Keshia brings the full breadth of her knowledge to help organizations develop actionable strategies, make structural improvements, and refine their operations to align service delivery with desired outcomes.

In her spare time, Keshia enjoys exploring the great outdoors, trying new foods, and traveling to new places with her family and friends. She loves nothing more than hitting the trails for a run, embarking on a camping trip, or simply taking in the beauty of nature. As a food enthusiast, Keshia also spends time cooking and sharing her culinary creations with loved ones during get-togethers, seeing food as an expression of culture, heritage, and love.

Mari Newman, Chair Emeritus

Mari Newman, Chair Emeritus

Mari Newman (she/her) is a civil rights and employment law attorney who has spent over twenty years advocating on behalf of the underdog and disenfranchised against corrupt government and corporations. She is a founding member of Newman | McNulty, LLC, a civil rights and employment law firm rooted in client-centered advocacy, movement lawyering, pro bono service, and representation of marginalized communities.

For over two decades, Mari Newman has litigated many of Colorado’s most challenging civil rights and employment cases, across a broad spectrum of issues. She achieved outstanding results for her clients, including many multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements, as well as meaningful changes in law and policy to prevent future wrongs.

Best Lawyers in America has named Mari Newman as Denver’s Lawyer of the Year for both Civil Rights Law and Employment Law – Individuals.

Mari Newman has received numerous awards for her work from organizations including the Southern Center for Human Rights, the ACLU of Colorado, the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association Foundation, the LGBT Bar Association Foundation, the Colorado Press Association, and Colorado Super Lawyers, to name just a few.

Mari’s civil rights work extends outside the courtroom, where she serves on the Board of Directors for organizations including Disability Law United, the LGBT Bar Association Foundation, and the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. Mari Newman advocates in the legislature, writes and lectures, and marches for social justice.

Alan Chen

Alan Chen

Alan is a lifetime advocate for civil rights. His research includes federal remedies for civil rights violations, free speech doctrine and theory, and lawyering for social change. He is a past chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Civil Rights. In recent years, he has litigated several high-profile, pro bono civil rights cases in the federal courts, including two suits challenging so-called Ag Gag laws that criminalize efforts of activists and journalists to expose misconduct on factory farms, an excessive force case against law enforcement officers who used pepper spray to subdue peaceful environmental protesters, and a successful facial challenge to a Colorado law mandating that all students and teachers recite the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. Since joining the University of Denver Sturm College of Law faculty in 1992, Alan has received awards for teaching, contributions to the law review and pro bono legal work. Before entering teaching, Alan was a civil liberties litigator with the ACLU’s Chicago office, focusing primarily on cases concerning the First Amendment, police misconduct, and privacy rights. Before that, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Marvin E. Aspen, U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of Illinois. Alan received his J.D. from Stanford University in 1985.

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Amanda Francis Owen

Amanda Francis Owen

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Amanda (she/her) is a trial attorney and founding partner of FRANCIS OWEN LLC. She dedicates her practice to helping individuals with disabilities, brain injuries, and victims of sexual assault. She has been nominated as a 5280 Top Lawyer for Personal Injury Law, received Colorado Trial Lawyer Association’s New Trial Lawyer of the Year Award in 2022, and is recognized as a Colorado Super Lawyer, the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40, and the National Brain Injury Association’s Top 25.
She is a frequent speaker and teacher at educational seminars for the American Association of Justice, the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, and the Women’s Trial Lawyer Network. She’s served on the Colorado Trial Lawyer Association’s Board of Directors for the past 10 years.Amanda has two children with her husband and law partner, Shawn Owen.
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Rufina A. Hernández

Rufina A. Hernández

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Rufina A. Hernández, Esq. (she/her/ella) was appointed as the Associate Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity at the University of Denver in 2016, having previously served as the director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division of the State of Colorado.  She was later appointed as the ADA Coordinator for DU in 2020.  In her roles at the university, she is responsible for the Affirmative Action Plan, diversity recruitment, anti-bias training in hiring practices and ADA compliance.   

Prior to returning to Colorado, she served as the executive director of the Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE), a coalition of the nation’s most prominent civil rights and education advocacy organizations focused on high school education reform. Hernández led the coalition’s federal policy and advocacy agenda, as well as its public outreach and education activities. 

A leading voice on solutions to the challenges facing African American, Asian, Latino, and Native students and teachers, Hernández has a long record of civil rights and education advocacy.   Prior to joining CHSE, she joined the National Education Association’s (NEA) as director of NEA’s Human and Civil Rights (HCR)  department  and later as the associate director of the External Partnerships and Advocacy department.  As director of the HCR department, she developed strategies to promote culturally competent teaching aimed at improving academic achievement among students from diverse backgrounds.  During this time, Hernández also led a series of summits on the status of education for students of color, as well as for LGBT and female students.  

Prior to her work at NEA and CHSE, Hernández was executive director of the Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA), a Colorado-based civil rights organization. During her tenure there, she advocated for policy reform in civil rights issues affecting the Latino community, including health, education, employment, and immigration. She also created a coalition with other civil rights organizations which equipped local and statewide ethnic minority community-based organizations to advocate for common political and legislative issues. 

A graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, Hernández honed her skills as a trial attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Denver. As a specialist in public utility regulation, consumer protection, and bankruptcy law, she litigated two class action lawsuits involving consumer protection. Hernández later developed policies and programs to address the needs of a diverse student community as assistant dean of students at the University of Denver College of Law. And as executive director of the State Bar of New Mexico, Hernández became the first Latina in the nation to lead a state bar organization. The American Bar Association (ABA) appointed her to its Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, Law School Accreditation Committee in 2008, and she has also served on other ABA, Colorado Bar Association and Denver Bar Association committees and commissions as well as other non-profit and local government commissions.    

A native of New Mexico, Hernández holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Mexico and a Juris Doctorate from the Georgetown University Law Center.   

*Addendum:  Ms. Hernández retired in Sept. 2021.    

Bill Lann Lee

Bill Lann Lee

Bill has been a civil rights attorney for more than 40 years with expertise in challenging employment discrimination and disability access. From December 1997 to January 2001, Bill served as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division in the United States Department of Justice in the Clinton Administration, as the nation’s top civil rights prosecutor. He has brought disability access cases against Netflix to obtain closed captioning on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf, and against Burger King and Walmart on behalf of individuals who use wheelchairs for mobility. His employment discrimination work includes prosecution cases against Wet Seal, Costco, Best Buy, Abercrombie & Fitch, and McCormick & Schmick’s.

Before joining Disability Law United, Bill was a shareholder at Lewis, Feinberg, Lee & Jackson, P.C. in Oakland, CA, and previously a partner at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP.  Earlier in his career, he spent 18 years as an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and headed the Legal Defense Fund’s western regional office in Los Angeles. Bill earned his Bachelor of Arts from Yale University and his law degree from Columbia University School of Law. Bill is admitted to practice in California and New York (inactive).

When not busy fighting injustice, Bill spends time reading history, biographies, and science fiction. He’s an avid traveler and especially loves visiting his grandson, Oliver.

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Moe Vela

Moe Vela

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Moe Vela is the CEO of MoeVela, LLC, a strategic business advisory firm, with business partnerships and ventures that span the globe across a diversity of sectors and industries. He is also the Founder of The Vela Group, LLC, a global business development consulting firm. In addition to running his firms, he is Of Counsel/Senior Advisor at the law firm of Stein Mitchell Beato and Missner.

Moe’s most recent entrepreneurial endeavour is as the co-creator, co-producer, and co-star of the hottest new business reality streaming series, Unicorn Hunters. Mr. Vela stars alongside the likes of Steve Wozniak, Lance Bass, Rosie Rios and several other business titans and luminaries.

Vela is a long-time Washington insider, and his leadership & counsel have been sought by some of the country’s top political and business leaders. Mr. Vela served as the Director of Administration and Senior Advisor for then-Vice President Joe Biden. The stint was his second White House appointment as he also served as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Advisor on Hispanic Affairs for Vice President Al Gore. Vela holds the distinction of being the first Hispanic-American and LGBTQA-American to serve twice in the White House in a senior executive role.

Vela is often heard as a keynote speaker and is a frequent contributor or quoted in articles in the Associated Press, Fortune, Forbes, The Guardian, The Hill, INC magazine, Yahoo Finance, Entreprenuer, and The Daily Mail, to name a few. Moe is often seen on Fox, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance TV, BBC, among other national and global news outlets.

He has been named one of the “Top 100 Hispanics in America” by “Hispanic Business” magazine and was twice named as one of the “101 Most Influential Latinos” by “Latino Leaders” magazine, as well as, one of Washington’s Top 300 Insiders by the “National Journal,” as well as, named to the Powermeter 100 –the Washington area’s most influential individuals for Hispanic communities by “El Tiempo Latino,” a Washington Post publication.

A proud fourth-generation Texan, Mr. Vela earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin and his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law. Vela hails from a pioneer south Texas family that has served the community as a former U.S. Congressman from Texas’ 34th District, a U.S. Federal District Judge and a former Cameron County Judge. Vela is the author of the best-selling book, Little Secret, Big Dreams.