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 Leadership Transition

Current executive director to leave post in the spring

DENVER The ACLU of Colorado is announcing the departure of its current executive director, Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, in March 2020.

The ACLU of Colorado’s Board of Directors will immediately launch a national search for a new executive director. The board will appoint an interim director following Woodliff-Stanley’s departure until his successor is selected. 

“We deeply appreciate Nathan’s dedicated and impactful service to the ACLU of Colorado and to the people of our state,” said Cathy Sparkman, board chair. “Under his leadership, the organization has grown in every measurable way, and the legacy he leaves is a strong institution ready to take the next step into a future in which its fight for the civil rights and dignity of each person will be more important than ever.” 

Woodliff-Stanley has headed the organization for more than seven years. During his tenure the staff has doubled to 25 employees, the organizational budget has tripled to roughly $3.9 million and the membership has quadrupled to more than 30,000. 

With federal issues like immigration, reproductive rights, and criminal justice reform looming large, the ACLU both nationally and in its state-level affiliates has expanded beyond its traditional work pursuing civil liberties through the courts and through public policy to grassroots activism and organizing. 

“With the new and uncertain environment at the federal level, the work of the ACLU has never been more needed or more critical. As the ACLU of Colorado has grown in response, it has become a different organization than the one I joined nearly eight years ago. While I continue an absolute commitment to the mission, I find myself ready for a different focus in my work, preferably closer to my roots in ministry and reconciliation, global issues and empowerment of nonprofit organizations,” Woodliff-Stanley said. “It is also my strong hope that the board of directors will use my departure to find outstanding new leadership more directly connected to the impacted communities we serve to lead this organization into its future.”

Woodliff-Stanley became executive director of the ACLU of Colorado in October 2012. He is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister who worked for eight years in social justice ministry at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden. Before moving to Colorado in 2002, he served for a decade as the founder of a statewide association in Mississippi providing management support for charitable organizations.

The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. A private institution funded exclusively by supporters’ donations, its mission is to protect, defend and extend the civil rights and civil liberties of all people in Colorado through litigation, education and advocacy.


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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