Racism is Alive and Well
Racism has been in the national news in recent weeks thanks to the inflammatory words of Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, and Cliven Bundy, wealthy renegade rancher in Nevada. Both have been widely condemned and Sterling faces serious consequences from the NBA, but in the wake of their pronouncements there can be no doubt that even the most crude forms of racism are alive and well in the United States. Just don’t try telling that to the Supreme Court. In a series of.... | Read More
Drug Secrecy and a Botched Execution
A few weeks ago we wrote about the problems states are having in getting the drugs needed to carry out lethal injections. Over the last 24 hours, headlines have emerged around the country and the world about Oklahoma’s drug secrecy and their most recent botched execution attempt. Background: In Oklahoma two executions were forthcoming and the state was scrambling for drugs. With plans to use a new three drug cocktail and no public information about the drug suppliers, the lawyers of.... | Read More
Watch: FOX31 Coverage of Debtors’ Prison Bill
Featuring ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein and Jared Thornburg (read his story here). | Read More
How to Disappear a Mentally Ill Grandmother: Throw Her in Solitary
(From the ACLU Blog of Rights) By Helen Vera, National Prison Project Fellow, ACLU Her cell was so dirty that a sock rotted into an open wound on her foot. For two and a half years, she didn't have a bed. She slept on a mat on the floor. She bled on herself, because the jail denied her sanitary napkins. Jan Green, a 51-year-old grandmother, never even stood trial. Because of the dramatic mood swings and psychosis associated with her bipolar disorder, Green was found unfit to stand trial.... | Read More
Stories of Debtors’ Prison
Today our debtors’ prison bill, which is aimed at ending the common practice in Colorado of jailing poor people for failure to pay fines, passed the state legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support. This victory is the result of two years of hard work and collaboration. In addition to bill sponsors Representative Joe Salazar and Senator Lucia Guzman, we commend and thank Jared Thornburg and Linda Roberts, the two Coloradans who chose to share their experiences with legislators and helped.... | Read More
WATCH: Service members support the freedom to marry in Colorado
I served in the U.S. Army in Desert Storm and Panama from 1985 until 1993. It was in the service that I learned the true value of freedom. After I retired, I married my wife Susan. Together, we’re now raising our two sons in Denver. But my friend Sgt. Metcalf, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, is not afforded the same freedom—despite putting his life on the line to defend this country. See, Sgt. Metcalf is gay and in Colorado, he’s denied the freedom to marry the person he loves. I.... | 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.