Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

  • 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.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.

ACLU of Colorado Announces 2014 Civil Rights Award Recipients

June 12, 2014

DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado is excited to announce that Laura Rovner, Bob Connelly, and the late Dr. Vincent Harding have been selected to receive our 2014 Civil Rights Awards, which will be presented at the Annual Carle Whitehead Bill of Rights Dinner on Friday, October 17th.

The family of Dr. Harding, who sadly passed away on May 19, 2014, will accept the Carle Whitehead Memorial Award in recognition of his lifetime of achievement in advancing civil rights and civil liberties.

Dr. Harding worked throughout his life for what he called “the expansion of democracy,” beginning with work in the Southern Freedom Movement in the 1960s and continuing through his tenure as Chair of the Veterans of Hope Project, based at the Iliff School of Theology.  Dr. Harding was also a close associate and speech writer for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Laura Rovner will receive the Edward Sherman Award for her outstanding legal work as the Director of the University of Denver’s Civil Rights Law Clinic, and Bob Connelly will receive the Martha Radetsky Award for his many years of service and dedication as a board member of the ACLU of Colorado.

Ms. Rovner founded the active movement in Colorado to end solitary confinement of the mentally ill. As Director of the University of Denver’s Civil Rights Law Clinic, she takes on complex legal cases, while also simultaneously training law students to become civil rights lawyers.  She is also recognized as one of the nation’s foremost prisoners’ rights attorneys and as a solitary confinement legal expert.

Mr. Connelly’s years of dedicated board service have helped the ACLU of Colorado become a mature, successful organization. He was critical to our growth and development over his six years on the board.

This year’s Carle Whitehead Bill of Rights Dinner will be held on Friday, October 17th at The Four Seasons Hotel in Downtown Denver. For more information about the event, purchasing tickets, or becoming a sponsor, please contact Rachel Pryor-Lease at 720-402-3105 or


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