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 Welcomes Deborah J. Richardson as New Executive Director

DENVER – ACLU of Colorado is pleased to announce Deborah J. Richardson as its new Executive Director. She will lead the organization in its mission to protect, defend and extend the civil rights and civil liberties of all people in Colorado. Most recently, Ms. Richardson was the Executive Director of the International Human Trafficking Institute of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta and was formerly its Executive Vice President. She will officially assume the position of ACLU of Colorado’s Executive Director on March 1, 2021.

“I am honored that the Board of Directors has selected me as the next Executive Director of the ACLU of Colorado,” said Richardson. “There is still work ahead in protecting and advancing civil liberties and rights for all. The deep fissures in our nation that surfaced in 2020 remain. It is our imperative to not only shine a light on these disparities but to correct them.”

Ms. Richardson has more than three decades of experience in transformative non-profit executive leadership in global, national, and local organizations working to advance civil and human rights for non-dominant identity groups. Richardson is a nationally recognized expert and advocate in advancing justice for women and their families, convening diverse, cross-cultural, community-based coalitions committed to equitable societies.

“We are confident that Deborah’s visionary leadership style, history of consensus building, commitment to social justice, and lived and professional experiences fighting for civil and human rights will be a powerful combination as our organization navigates this critical juncture in our nation’s history. She has displayed international leadership on issues of gender and racial equity, and we look forward to her serving as a catalyst for even more transformational change from the ACLU of Colorado,” said Maurice “Scotty” Scott, M.D, Chair of the ACLU of Colorado Board of Directors.

Deborah J. Richardson is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and her lived observations and direct experiences informed her deep commitment to social change. “Growing up in Atlanta, the think tank of the American Civil Rights Movement, I was heavily influenced by the active engagement of my parents, and every adult I knew,” shared Ms. Richardson. “My own participation began at the age of 14 when I was among a group of students who integrated Atlanta Public Schools. My activism continued throughout college and my career.” Ms. Richardson has also served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Atlanta Women’s Foundation and as Chief Program Officer of the Women’s Funding Network in San Francisco, California.

“Deborah has the unique skills of a visionary leader who builds consensus and also implements a plan and achieves its goals. She is a well-respected leader and mentor,” said the Honorable Shirley C. Franklin, National Center for Civil and Human Rights Board Chair and former Mayor of Atlanta. “Her commitment to social justice is demonstrated in her work and in her life.”


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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