Colorado Rights Blog

Nathan Woodliff-Stanley By: Nathan Woodliff-Stanley 6.9.2015

ACLU of Colorado Remembers Martha Sattler

It is with a very heavy heart that we at the ACLU of Colorado mark the passing on Sunday, June 7, of Martha Sattler, a lifelong champion of civil rights and civil liberties whose selfless dedication to justice, in large measure, made our work possible.

Martha Sattler croppedMartha’s contributions to the ACLU of Colorado were immense and indispensable. She served multiple terms on the Board of Directors, worked as both Intake Director and Associate Director, organized volunteer and fundraising events, and represented Cuban refugees before INS panels on behalf of the ACLU.  As chair of the Amicus fundraising campaign, Martha helped to raise more charitable contributions for the ACLU of Colorado than any other volunteer in the history of our organization.

In addition to her work for the ACLU, Martha volunteered for many other organizations.  Among them was Project Safeguard, where she advocated for battered women in restraining order hearings, and Community Shares, a grassroots organization that supports local investment in a variety of Colorado non-profits.  She also served on the Board of Directors for Summer Scholars, a literacy program for at-risk children, and she worked on special education issues at the Legal Center, which assists people with disabilities.

In 2000, Martha received the Martha Radetsky Award in recognition of decades of service to the ACLU of Colorado and the cause of civil liberties.  In receiving the award, she said, “The ACLU’s mission of defending and expanding the rights that the Constitution guarantees citizens is the driving force in devoting my time and energy to the ACLU.”  Not only did the ACLU benefit immensely from Martha’s time and energy, but all who met and worked with her were forever changed by her drive, her commitment, and her wry sense of humor.

We send our heartfelt condolences to Martha’s husband Bruce, himself an essential part of the ACLU of Colorado family as a long-time board member, contributor, leader, and volunteer. While we are all saddened by Martha’s passing, we know that her legacy will live on in the hearts of all who were touched by her extraordinary life.

At Martha’s insistence, there will be no memorial service. The Sattler family has generously requested that contributions in memory of Martha be made to the ACLU of Colorado.  Memorial contributions can be made at:



  • Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley spoke at the marriage equality rally on March 3rd

  • Leisel Kemp, whose brother Jason was killed by CSP after they entered his home without a warrant, spoke at the 2013 Bill of Rights Dinner about the ACLU’s legal advocacy on behalf of her family.

  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind is an original short film from the ACLU of Colorado about a man who has spent 17 years in solitary confinement and now suffers from debilitating mental illness.