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 Demands Town of South Fork Rescind New Policy Banning Solicitation of Donations for Black Lives Matter

DENVER – Today, the ACLU of Colorado sent a letter on behalf of Sol Mountain Farm to the Town of South Fork’s attorney demanding the Town immediately rescind a new policy banning solicitation of charitable donations on Town-owned property. The Town adopted the new policy in response to a complaint that the Farm was providing customers the opportunity to donate to the Black Lives Matter movement at its booth at the weekly South Fork Farmer’s Market.

“Solicitation of charitable donations is constitutionally protected speech, and the Town’s new policy, clearly violates the First Amendment,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “Solicitation for Black Lives Matter, whether controversial or unpopular in South Fork, is afforded protection under the First Amendment.”

On July 10, 2020, Sol Mountain Farm, which has organized a Farmer’s Market in the Town of South Fork for the past seven years, solicited donations at its booth on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Five days later the Farm received an email from South Fork Visitor Center Director, Mark Teders which simply attached a letter “concerning Town of South Fork changes.” The letter, signed by Town Administrator Dan Hicks, stated that the South Fork Board of Trustees had “received formal complaints” from patrons of the Friday Market about solicitation of donations to a “political organization.” The letter further stated that the policy of the Board of Trustees forbids “solicitation of donations for organizations or causes at any events held on Town-owned premises.”

In response, the Farm emailed Mr. Teders for further information and clarification on the new policy. In response, Teders threatened that should the Farm, “choose to argue this point” the Town board would simply remove them as the organizer of the Farmer’s Market and appoint the role to someone else. The ACLU’s letter warns that this threatened retaliation for challenging the policy, if carried out, would constitute an “alarmingly egregious” violation of the Farm’s constitutional rights for which the Town would be liable in damages.

“South Fork is my hometown and we have established a strong connection with our community,” said Sol Mountain Farm owner Wes O’Rourke. “When this happened, we felt targeted and that our livelihoods were at stake. We just want the town to recognize that what they did is wrong and that this should never happen again.”

ACLU has requested the Town of South Fork to immediately rescind the policy that prohibits Sol Mountain Farm, and other citizens of South Fork, from soliciting donations. It has also demanded written assurance that the threatened retaliation would not be carried out.


The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.


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