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.

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  • 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.