Why do I support the ACLU of Colorado?
I support and volunteer with the ACLU of Colorado because there is no better way to ensure social justice than by working within the ACLU to protect, defend, and extend the civil rights and civil liberties of all people. The ACLU does its work through litigation, education, and legislation, never forgetting the Constitution and Bill of Rights are not just words, but values to live by. I share in the vow to defend these values. How could you not be drawn to an organization that works with.... | Read More
HuffPo Blog: Colorado Communities Are Making It a Crime to Be Homeless
(This blog post was featured on HuffingtonPost.com November 27) Now is the time of year when poverty and homelessness are most prominent on the minds of many Americans. As families gather to eat together and give thanks for their lives, many of us also take time to think about the struggles of people who are less fortunate. Less often do we think or even know about the extreme measures that are used by local lawmakers and police to criminalize the existence of people who are homeless and to.... | Read More
Denver Post Letter to the Editor: Is there racial bias in U.S. prison sentencing?
(Written by ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley and published in the November 22 Denver Post) When Judge Morris B. Hoffman labels racial bias in the criminal justice system as “nonsense,” he does so despite a body of research and data clearly showing the opposite. According to the non-partisan Sentencing Project, black defendants in the U.S. are 20 percent more likely to be sentenced to prison for the same crimes as white defendants. A recent ACLU report found.... | Read More
Denver Post Letter to the Editor: Should smoking be banned on Denver’s 16th Street Mall?
(Written by ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes and published in the November 16 Denver Post) Protecting public health is certainly not the only, or even the main, motivation behind the proposed smoking ban on the 16th Street Mall. Rather, police would gain another tool of selective enforcement to target, harass and ultimately displace the homeless population from downtown. Across the state, new laws are being added every day to push people living in poverty out of sight and.... | Read More
ACLU in the News: Durango Stops Enforcement of Unconstitutional Loitering Law
More and more cities around Colorado are passing new laws or enforcing old ones to target, harass, and displace people living in poverty. At our encouragement, the City of Durango recently stopped enforcing a loitering ordinance that infringed on peaceful, non-threatening speech. As reported in the Durango Herald: Durango’s loitering law questioned by group Musician ticketed after business owner complains By Chuck Slothower Herald staff writer The city of Durango has stopped.... | Read More
The ACLU of Colorado staff has grown again! Jayme Kritzler recently came on board as our Economic Justice Fellow, a brand-new position that was made possible through a generous gift by one of our supporters. During her year-long fellowship, Jayme will dedicate her time to work around the intersection of poverty, inequality, and civil liberties in Colorado. Join us in welcoming Jayme to the ACLU of Colorado team! More about Jayme: Jayme graduated from the University of California, Davis in.... | Read More
On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?
Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.
Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.
Donate now at https://action.aclu.org/give/support-aclu-colorado
Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.
In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.
Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”
Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.