Colorado Rights Blog

Nathan Woodliff-Stanley By: Nathan Woodliff-Stanley 5.25.2017

Congratulations to our 2017 Annual Meeting Award Winners

At our 2017 Annual Meeting, we were proud to recognize the significant contributions to civil rights and civil liberties of The Coalition for Compassion and Action, Xavier Long, Kristin Fasy, Rosie Piller, and Nancy Sobel.

The Coalition for Compassion and Action, a grassroots activist organization focused on protecting the rights of people who are poor and vulnerable and opposing criminalization of homelessness in Colorado Springs,  was awarded the 2017 Civil Rights in Action Award.

Since its founding in 2016, the Coalition for Compassion and Action has mobilized hundreds of volunteers, connected individuals and families with services, and had a significant impact on policy debates at the Colorado Springs City Council.

Xavier Long, who bravely spoke out for reform of youth corrections, was honored with the 2017 Youth in Action Award.  Xavier endured violence and mistreatment while incarcerated. He told his story in a web video, testified before the legislature, and lobbied lawmakers for culture-changing legislation to protect other kids in youth facilities.

Kristin Fasy, Rosie Piller, and Nancy Sobel were recognized as 2017 Arlette Baer Volunteers of the Year.

Kristin Fasy devoted hundreds of hours to conducting legal research into health standards and procedures in the Colorado Department of Corrections.  She read through prisoner letters, visited inmates, listened to their stories, and organized the information for our legal department. She sees the humanity in every person she has spoken with and strives to make sure they’re treated with dignity and compassion.

Rosie Piller developed easy-to-understand visual presentations for our volunteer speakers’ bureau.  Her work has been viewed by thousands of people across Colorado – people who have benefited from the countless hours that she put into them.  She’s tackled complicated issues – Know Your Rights, Voting Rights, ACLU History, and made them simple to teach and understand. She’s meticulous, persistent and dedicated to the work of the ACLU, and her contribution has been immeasurable.

Nancy Sobel volunteered for three years in our intake department.  She read hundreds of letters – some of them heartbreaking – and made sure every person received consideration and a reply. Nancy re-organized our intake database to make it easier to spot patterns of abuse and follow up on them.  She was consistent, reliable and enthusiastic, and we’re extremely grateful for all of her hard work and support.




  • 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. 

  • 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.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.