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?
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 https://action.aclu.org/give/support-aclu-colorado
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.
Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”
Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.
Advocacy from Home
The COVID-19 Pandemic has upended our lives. It will continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead. Spaces we typically engage in, such as the streets, courtrooms, jails, prisons, and detention centers—among others—are now increasingly inaccessible due to physical distancing. The fight to protect the civil liberties of all peoples, however, will persist. Each of us who are able must remain vigilant advocates for the issues affecting the United States and Colorado, even during these difficult times.
DIVEST FROM POLICE. INVEST IN COMMUNITIES.
A webinar series to envision a different system of community safety.
Over the summer, our country watched in horror as endless accounts of police violence against Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, and the mistreatment of protesters who rise to speak out against these atrocities move across our news feeds and TV screens. As we bear witness to the pervasive racism that continues to plague our criminal legal system, we must confront the stark realities of racialized policing in our society. We must reimagine our system of police violence and replace it with alternative, civilian-led services that ensure public safety.
Join us for a three-part webinar series as we discuss the origins of policing and why calls for reform are not enough to eliminate discriminatory enforcement practices. We will discuss the need to redirect resources from draconian police departments to services that are responsive to addressing our neighbors’ needs, and how advocates can demand revolutionary change from their local officials that promotes community safety without the dependence of law enforcement.
Thursday, October 8th Divest From Police. Invest In Communities: Policing 101 watch the webinar
Thursday, October 15, 12 – 1 p.m. Divest From Police. Invest In Communities: Defund 101 Watch the webinar
Thursday, October 22, 12 – 1 p.m. Divest From Police. Invest In Communities: Advocacy 101 Click here to watch the webinar
As a community, we must move beyond a system of policing, caging, and punishment to keep our neighbors safe and reimagine solutions and interventions that promote dignity, anti-racism, and freedom from the fear of state-sanctioned violence.
Fight for Racial Justice
In the midst of the pandemic, we are mourning the murder of George Floyd and are extremely concerned about the aggressive police tactics used on protesters. Mr. Floyd is not the first or the last Black person we will mourn. We have watched the result of hundreds of years of racism, racial terror, and police violence that communities of color across the country experience on a regular basis. Policing in the United States is rooted in white supremacy as it began as a way to surveil enslaved Black people.
As our own Jeffery Robinson, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Trone Center for Justice and Equality, said, “No one has to approve of the rioting in Minneapolis and St. Paul to understand why it is happening. The protests in Minnesota and elsewhere are a direct response to the systemic violence that police perpetrate in Black communities across this country. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. The police violence and murder in the Black community in America must stop immediately.”
It’s important that every person feels safe in their daily activities without endangering their fundamental constitutional rights.
Our country is devastated by the frequent deaths and injuries of hundreds of Black people at the hands of the police. Police officers are entrusted to protect and serve the community and should be held accountable to the people they serve. Demand humane, equitable, and constitutional policing in Colorado communities.
Join us for a LUNCH AND LEARN: POLICE ENCOUNTERS
Click here to watch the webinar
What can we do?
In the coming days and weeks, we will have a series of webinars and move our Know Your Rights trainings online. They’ll be led by our organizers, policy experts, and partner organizations.
March 31st: Take Action to Stop COVID-19 in Prisons and Jails (featuring Policy Team) Click here to watch the webinar
April 2nd: Webinar with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains– Click here to watch the video
April 9th: Census Webinar Click here to watch the video
April 14th: Know Your Rights (Immigrants) Click here to watch the video
April 16th: Know Your Rights (COVID-19) Click here to watch the video
April 23rd: Know Your Rights (Voting) Click here to watch the video
April 28th: Abortion Ban Ballot Initiative Webinar Click here to watch the webinar
April 30: Ensuring Racial Equity During COVID-19 (and Beyond) Click to watch the video
May 6th: Lunch and learn Voting Rights during COVID-19 Click here to watch the video
May 7th: Know your Rights: Data Privacy Click here to watch the webinar.
May 19th: Lunch and learn Abortion Ban Ballot Initiative Click here to watch the video
May 21st: Virtual Voting Rights Town Hall with Secretary of State Jena Griswold Click here to watch the recording
May 26th: Equality Act LGBTQ+ How Far We’ve Come, Where We Need to Go Click here to watch the webinar
June 4th: Know Your Rights: Police Encounters click here to watch the webinar
June 9th: Know Your Rights: Protestors’ Rights Click here to watch the recording
June 11th: Training on Immigrant Detention Click here to watch the webinar.
June 23rd: Virtual District Attorney Candidate Forum: Judicial District 18 at 4pm Click here to watch the recording
July 16th: Reproductive Rights Roadshow Click here to watch the webinar
July 21st: Repro Roadshow (Colorado Springs) Click here to watch the webinar
July 23rd: Repro Roadshow (Durango) Click here to watch the recording
July 28th: District Attorneys 101 Click here to watch the webinar
August 13th: ACLU of Colorado 2020 Annual Meeting Click here to watch the recording
August 25th: National Popular Vote Webinar Click here to watch the recording
September 9th: ACLU Colorado Activist Briefing Click here to watch
September 22nd: District Attorneys 101: Training for Advocates & Voters – Judicial District 1 Click here to watch the recording
September 23rd: LAUNCH: Campaign for Real Election Protection – No on Amendment 76 Click here to watch
September 24th: District Attorneys 101: Training for Advocates & Voters – Judicial District 18
October 6th: Unraveling Civil & Disability Rights at the Ballot
January 19th: The Redemption Campaign – Embracing Clemency Click here to watch
February 11th: 2021 Legislative Preview Click here to watch
February 18th: Bring our Neighbors Home: Jail Decarceration Click to watch
February 24th: Legislative Advocacy Training Click here to watch the recording.
March 2nd: Bring Our Neighbors Home – Immigration Policies Click here to watch the webinar
(Dates subject to change)
Protect People in Jails, Prisons, and ICE Detention Centers
Our prisons, jails, and ICE detention centers have been infamous in their medical negligence, with multiple reports, journalists, and inmates confirming inadequate medical services and sanitation.
We have released a series of demands for the Governor’s office. You can access both letters below.
Click here to watch the August 26 COVID-19 Decarceration Panel
Learn more about this work by going to #DoingMyPartCO
Take our Activist Survey
Will you lend a few moments of your time and complete the ACLU Activist Survey? Responses are used to improve the work we are doing across the state. Click here to participate
Join the fight for civil rights and civil liberties in your local community.
Become an ACLU of Colorado activist. Click here to learn more.
Participate in the 2020 Census
We need to make sure that everyone is counted. The outcome of the 2020 Census will be pivotal in allocating over $900 billion in federal funds for our communities. This includes funding for roads, schools, healthcare, and other key necessities.
We have a comprehensive plan to make sure everyone is counted. You can find more information on that plan here. For general information about the census, go here.
Take care of ourselves
This pandemic is an unprecedented public health crisis. COVID-19 will also result in profound economic effects. It is okay to feel overwhelmed, scared, anxious, or otherwise upset. We encourage people to reach out safely to loved ones. We also encourage people to exercise, sleep, and engage in other self-care activities. Though we are all apart, we are apart together.