Colorado Rights Blog

ACLU of Colorado By: ACLU of Colorado 2.21.2014

Event recap: 2014 Annual Membership Meeting

Last night at our Annual Membership Meeting, we honored three Coloradans who advanced civil liberties in three different ways. Arlette Baer volunteered for the ACLU of Colorado every week for 40 years, including serving on our Board of Directors for many of those years. Mia Lopez stood up for students’ and women’s rights when she fought her school for the right to continue her academic progress while on maternity leave. And Public Defender Maralina Schoenfelder brought the solitary confinement of children at the El Pueblo Residential Treatment Center to light, helping to end the abusive practice and protect the rights of the children at the facility.

Operations Manager Caryn Osterman and Arlette Baer
ACLU Operations Manager Caryn Osterman and Arlette Baer

In addition to the awards, we hosted a panel on the impact of economic injustice on civil liberties. We were fortunate to have Colorado Center on Law and Policy’s Executive Director Claire Levy and the Colorado Latino Forum’s Amanda Gonzalez join our very own Legal Director, Mark Silverstein, for a discussion that was especially timely given recent efforts by Grand Junction, Boulder, and Pueblo to limit the rights of the homeless and vulnerable.

Thank you to all of our wonderful members who attended!

Be sure to check out our Flickr page for more pictures of the event.



  • 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.