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 Marks Banned Books Week

September 27, 2013

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado today joined ACLU affiliates across the country in marking the annual observance of Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week is observed annually at the end of September to celebrate the First Amendment and draw attention to the censorship of literature in public schools. This year, the American Association of School Librarians has also designated Sept. 28 to highlight the dangers of software filters that block access to educational websites in schools.

To educate students and adults alike, the ACLU of Colorado posted a crossword puzzle on its website which chronicles attempts nationwide to ban literature and expression.

“We observe Banned Books Week not only as a celebration of artistic expression and the freedom to read, but also to remind all Coloradans that the threat of censorship is still very real,” said John Krieger, ACLU of Colorado Communications and Outreach Director.

The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom tracks books that have been challenged, often by parents of students, to be removed from a public or school library. Classic books such as Brave New World and The Catcher in the Rye, and newer titles, such as the Gossip Girl series and Twilight have been on "challenged" lists for reasons including explicit language, sexual content and violence.

A related issue is software filters, which schools have used to block LGBT content. That violates First Amendment rights to free speech and the Equal Access Act, which requires equal access to school resources for all extracurricular clubs. This year, the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project brought attention to software filtering through the Don’t Filter Me initiative. The campaign was started after the ACLU received complaints that schools were allowing access to anti-gay sites while simultaneously blocking access to LGBT websites and resources such as the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, and Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays.

“Just as schools can't remove books from the library that support LGBT people and their legal rights, schools also cannot use discriminatory web-filtering software that prevents students from accessing supportive websites,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT Project.

Several schools and software companies agreed to change their settings in response to the initiative, though a lawsuit was recently filed against a school district in Camdenton, Mo., that refused to change its settings.

More information on Banned Books Week can be found at:

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