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 Settles CO Lawsuit

First Public Settlement of Legal Challenge to Enforce Colorado’s 2008 Workplace Nursing Mothers Act

September 18, 2012

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado and the national ACLU reached a settlement on Friday with a Jefferson County public charter school on behalf of teacher Heather Burgbacher who lost her job for exercising her right to pump breast milk at work. This is the first public settlement of a legal challenge brought under the Colorado Nursing Mothers Act, a 2008 law safeguarding a woman’s right to continue breastfeeding when returning to work after having a baby.

In the settlement, Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen (RMAE) agreed to make significant policy changes to ensure that nursing employees have the time and space to express breast milk at work. RMAE has also agreed to provide ACLU client Burgbacher monetary compensation.

“To its credit, RMAE has agreed to make significant policy changes that I feel confident will ensure that the next nursing mom working at RMAE will have the workplace support she needs to nurse her baby for as long as she wants,” said Burgbacher. “I am deeply satisfied with this settlement.”

“RMAE is to be commended for its significant strides to protect the rights of nursing mothers in the workplace,” said ACLU of Colorado staff attorney Rebecca Wallace. “By bringing Ms. Burgbacher’s story to light and enforcing the Nursing Mothers Act, the ACLU hopes to change the old-fashioned view held by some employers that a model employee is one that does not get pregnant, does not give birth, does not breast feed, and does not have child-care responsibilities. RMAE’s steps in resolving this case serves as a model to other employers.”

Burgbacher had been a highly valued teacher at the RMAE for five years when she gave birth to her second child. In violation of 2008’s Colorado Nursing Mothers Act, RMAE failed to provide a private place for her to express breast milk and to take appropriate steps to assist Burgbacher in covering her classes for the very brief periods during which she needed to pump breast milk. Burgbacher needed to pump for 20 minutes, three times each week.

Shortly after she complained about the schools’ failure to accommodate her need for time and space to express breast milk, RMAE abruptly informed her that her employment contract would not be renewed last year, despite years of extremely positive performance evaluations.

“The law does not allow employers to force a working mother like Heather Burgbacher to choose between breastfeeding her baby and returning to work,” said ACLU of Colorado Cooperating Attorney Mari Newman of Killmer, Lane and Newman, LLP. “This settlement serves as a reminder to all Colorado employers that firing a female employee simply because she asserts her legal rights has very serious consequences. RMAE deserves recognition for working cooperatively to resolve this matter in a way that meaningfully protects the rights of nursing mothers in the workplace.”

Expressing breast milk on the job is a right guaranteed by the Colorado Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act, as well as other state and federal anti-discrimination laws. The Nursing Mothers Act mandates that employers provide time on the job in a private location for mothers to express breast milk.

“For many mothers, breastfeeding is an essential part of caring for their children that requires minor, but necessary, accommodations in the workplace – the kinds of minor workplace adjustments that employers routinely grant other workers who need them,” said ACLU Women’s Rights Project staff attorney Galen Sherwin. “A woman’s employer should have no say in the very personal decision about whether to breastfeed her baby.”

More information on this case can be found here, and the settlement agreement can be found here.

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