Colorado Rights Blog

ACLU of Colorado By: ACLU of Colorado 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.




  • 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.