Colorado Rights Blog


  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • 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?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • 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

  • 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. 

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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