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 to Host Virtual Bill of Rights Event

DENVER – ACLU of Colorado will host its first-ever virtual Bill of Rights Event on Thursday, October 1, at 6 p.m. Although the annual event is shifting to a virtual platform, this year’s program will continue to honor the event’s legacy of celebrating community leaders, commemorating civil rights and civil liberties successes, and educating our community of donors, activists, and partners. Registration is free and Spanish and ASL interpretation will be available.


This year’s event promises to be impactful and inspirational with a special keynote conversation between CeCe McDonald, a transgender activist working to dismantle the prison industrial complex, and Elisabeth Epps, founder of the Colorado Freedom Fund, prison abolitionist, and ACLU of Colorado’s Smart Justice Organizer.


Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from Dr. Apryl Alexander, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Denver and a community organizer with Black Lives Matter 5280. Dr. Alexander is a plaintiff in ACLU of Colorado’s lawsuit against the City and County of Denver on behalf of people injured by police while protesting the police killings of Black men and women.


At the event, ACLU of Colorado will present Reverend Dr. Timothy Tyler and Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler with the Carle Whitehead Memorial Award. The award honors their steadfast fight against racism, misogyny, homophobia, and economic injustice. Together, Dr. Tyler and Dr. Mosby Tyler launched Race Talk University, a nine-week course educating attendees on how to lead conversations about racism and white supremacy in their communities. Casa de Paz will receive the Ralph L. Carr Award for its outstanding work supporting detained immigrants and their families. Since 2012, Casa de Paz has provided shelter, meals, transportation, and support to individuals and families experiencing immigration detention at no cost.


The event will close with a special performance from Denver-based singer-songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff. As an outspoken critic of Greenwood Village’s resolution to undermine Colorado’s recently-passed police accountability bill, Rateliff has promised he will not perform at the city’s Fiddler’s Green amphitheater until the resolution is reversed.


All funds raised by the event provide crucial support to sustain and expand ACLU of Colorado’s legal, communication and education work throughout Colorado.


“This event is our opportunity to join together as a community of activists, supporters, and change-makers to sustain the ACLU of Colorado today and in the future. Although I wish we could gather in person, I hope the virtual format will make the event more accessible for people across the state,” said Rachel Pryor-Lease, Director of Philanthropy.         


A special thank you to our event’s Change-Maker sponsors, Herbert Teitelbaum and Ruth J. Abram, and Susan Stark and Bob Connelly. Their support is crucial in our ongoing fight to protect civil rights and civil liberties for all people.




WHAT: A virtual platform honoring community leaders, commemorating civil rights and civil liberties successes and educating our community of donors, activists, and partners. 


WHERE:Live stream in English via YouTube and Spanish interpretation available via Zoom. Register for the event in English here and in Spanish here


WHEN: Thursday, October 1 at 6 p.m.


WHO: Speakers will include:

CeCe McDonald, a transgender activist

Elisabeth Epps, ACLU of Colorado’s Smart Justice Organizer

Dr. Apryl Alexander, Associate Professor of Psychology at DU and a community organizer with Black Lives Matter 5280


Honorees will include:

Reverend Dr. Timothy Tyler and Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler receiving the Carle Whitehead Memorial Award and Casa de Paz receiving the Ralph L. Carr Award


Special musical performance by Nathanial Rateliff




All are encouraged to join us for this free event by registering at:


Tax-deductible sponsorship donations range from $250 to $7,500 and can be completed at


To make a general donation to support this event and all the ACLU of Colorado’s work visit


Please contact Susie Simmons, Development Coordinator, at (303) 402- 3127 or with any questions.






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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