Colorado Rights Blog

ACLU of Colorado By: ACLU of Colorado 6.17.2013

Announcing Our 2013 Civil Rights Award Recipients

June 17, 2013

DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado will present its 2013 Civil Rights Awards to State Representative Claire Levy, Kevin Paul of Heizer Paul Grueskin LLP, and Kevin Williams of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) for their exemplary contributions to protecting civil rights and furthering civil liberties in Colorado.

The honorees will receive their awards at the ACLU of Colorado’s Carle Whitehead Bill of Rights Dinner at the Curtis Hotel on Friday, October 11th.

Representative Levy, who has dedicated her career as an attorney and a legislator to advancing civil rights, will receive the Carle Whitehead Memorial Award. Levy has spearheaded efforts in the legislature to decrease prison populations and address a variety of juvenile justice issues, including removing juveniles from adult jails. She has worked to reform the sentencing process and reduce the use of solitary confinement, and she helped secure legislation in the last session to modernize elections and increase voter participation. Levy has argued passionately for preserving the civil rights of all Coloradoans and has been a tireless advocate for ending the death penalty.

The Edward Sherman Award, which recognizes outstanding legal work, will be awarded to Kevin Paul, whose career of legal advocacy for reproductive rights has positively impacted hundreds of thousands of men, women, and teens throughout the state. Paul, now a partner at Denver-based Heizer Paul Grueskin LLP, has long served as legal counsel for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Among his many legal and legislative achievements, Paul was instrumental in creating the “bubble law,” which is now used as a model throughout the state and country for balancing protesters’ rights with the right to privacy outside of healthcare facilities.

Kevin Williams, who directs the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) Legal Program, will receive the Ralph L. Carr Award, which recognizes an individual’s devotion to an important contemporary civil rights issue. Under Williams’ direction, the CCDC Legal Program and its cooperating attorneys have successfully litigated hundreds of disability rights cases, including a national class action settlement requiring all K-Mart stores to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Ticket and sponsorship information for the 2013 Carle Whitehead Bill of Rights Dinner can be found at https://aclu-co.org/event/carle-whitehead-bill-of-rights-dinner. Leadership for the event includes Jeff Knetsch, Event Chair, and Mari Newman, Nominations Chair.

For more information about the Carle Whitehead Bill of Rights Dinner and to purchase tickets, click here.

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  • 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: acluco.org/redemption. 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 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.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people.